Our readings this week begin with our “I AM” saying of Jesus in the Gospel of John, moves to an understanding of the new covenant in Jesus Christ, and end with the final teachings of Jesus before his last supper, betrayal, arrest, conviction, torture, and crucifixion on the cross.
Wednesday Lenten Worship on March 18 begins with a light soup and sandwich supper (5:15 PM at Peace and 6:45 PM at Grey Eagle). Thank you to all who have made these fellowship dinners a success. This week’s worship (6:00 PM at Peace and 7:30 PM at Grey Eagle) will focus on Jesus’ words, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life” at John 14:1-14.
The Lectionary Readings at first reading may seem different but it is all about God working in and through Jesus to change our hearts.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 – This is one of the most famous quotes from the prophet Jeremiah. God say that God will pour his law into the hearts of the people of Israel and Judah (can we expand this to include all followers of Jesus or perhaps all people?). Once everyone know (experiences) God’s law then we will no longer to need to teach anyone about God and the laws. (No more Sunday School and Confirmation Classes?)
Psalm 51:1-12 – The psalmist asks God to wash away everything that makes him impure. He calls on God to give him a new, right, and clean spirit that he may experience the joy of God’s salvation.
Hebrews 5:5-10 – This doesn’t seem to fit the idea that God is changing our hearts. However, in being obedient to God, even going to death on the cross, Jesus was (made) perfect in his love for God and humanity. This became the source of our salvation that changes our hearts and gives us the ability to obey him. BTW, the name in verse 10 is pronounced “Mel-keys-a-deck”
John 12:20-33 – This opens with a request of some Greeks to speak to Jesus but Jesus turns the conversation to his upcoming death. He alludes that his death is like a grain of wheat planted in the ground that produces much fruit. He also says that he will not turn away from what must happen because it will bring glory to God, his Father. When he is “lifted up” he brings judgment on all humanity, drives Satan out, and will draw all people to him. The only way to draw all people to him is for our hearts to be changed when we witness the horror of what is done (throughout history down to today).
Tweet: “The Beginning of the Good News” moves to the final days of Jesus’ pre-crucifixion life. We will be reading and hearing Mark 12:28-13-37.
“The Beginning of the Good News” moves to the final days of Jesus’ pre-crucifixion life. We will be reading and hearing Mark 12:28-13-37. We pick up our reading where we left off this past Sunday, with Jesus answering his critics and sharing his “little apocalypse” with the disciples. In Mark’s telling, it is still Tuesday of Jesus’ final week. Section by section:
12:28-34 – A scribe asks Jesus the question “What is the greatest commandment?”. I am hoping that you already know the answer. The scribe affirms what Jesus taught and Jesus tells him that he is near the Kingdom of God.
12:35-40 – Jesus teaches that the Messiah cannot be the son of King David, which seems opposed to Matthew and Luke who take great pains at the beginning of their gospels to show that Jesus is the son of David. Jesus also denounces the scribes as being vain con men who take widows’ houses.
12:41-44 – And, speaking of widows, Jesus lifts up the actions of a widow who gave everything to God, her last two coins.
13:1-37 – Marks “Little Apocalypse”. Jesus teaches about the impending destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus died (and was resurrected) about 40 years before the Romans razed Jerusalem and the Temple because of the Jewish insurrection. I don’t think it is a real challenge to think that Jesus had (a God given?!) intuition about what would happen in the near future. There were several people in Jesus’ day that advocated for an uprising against the Romans and the Roman army had a well-deserved reputation for complete ruthlessness against rebels. Jesus say that his followers need to watch out for the signs and be ready to leave on a moments notice.
May God Bless You as you engage his Word, Jesus Christ.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor