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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Jeremiah 8:18-9:6; Psalm 5; Romans 5:1-11; John 8:12-20

As the sound of the horses’ hooves is heard pounding their way south to invade Judah, someone with a broken heart announces the end of joy and the beginning of grief. Whether it is Jeremiah, the Lord, or some third person is not clear. The speaker reports the cries of the people from far and wide across the land: “Is the Lord not in Zion? Is her King not in her? Parenthetically, God asks why it is the people have provoked him to such anger with their images and idols. The people cry, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” The speaker—whether Jeremiah or the Lord—shares in the heart-break of the people; mourning and dismay have taken hold of him. “Is there no balm in Gilead?” Gilead was known for its healing ointments, but it is clear that the answer is now, “No, there is no physician there to cure this or restore the health of the people.” Overwhelmed with the tragedy and stricken with deep grief, the speaker wishes that his head were a spring of water so that he might adequately weep forever over the slain. But quickly, the sin of the people return to the Lord’s mind. They are a band of adulterers and traitors who have grown strong in a land of falsehood, sharing in its fruits. They go from evil to evil and do not know him. Consequently, the Lord issues this warning: “Beware of your neighbor, put no trust in your relatives.” They are supplanters and slanderers who deceive, lie and produce not only oppression upon oppression but deceit upon deceit. That is what comes from their refusal to know the Lord.

Psalm 5, traditionally used in Morning Prayer, pleads for God’s protection and care against his enemies. Knowing that God abhors wickedness and the boastful, the psalmist expresses the certainty that, because of God’s steadfast love, he will again be able to enter God’s house to worship, even as he bows down toward the temple in awe. His enemies are full of lies and deceit and their rebellion is really rebellion against God. Let them bear the fruit of their guilt and fall by their own counsel. On the other hand, let all who take refuge in the Lord rejoice. Let them sing forever. Pleading for the Lord to spread his protection over all who take refuge in him, the psalmist ends as he begins, expressing joyful confidence in the Lord’s blessings and care for those who are righteous (in a right relationship with God and one another). Cover them with divine favor as a shield.

Whatever alienation existed between us and God because of the power of sin has been undone in what God has done in Jesus Christ. When embraced in faith, we are “justified”—put in a right relationship with God where we experience peace with God and God’s gift of true life. We boast then, not in our faith, but in what God has done in Christ and our hope of sharing the glory of God in Christ. And to the extent that we know suffering, we boast in that also, not because suffering is good; it is not! Rather, we can boast in it because of what it leads to: a chain reaction from suffering, to endurance, to character, then to hope. And unlike all other human hope, this hope does not disappoint. Why? Because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (this is the first Paul has spoken of either). By faith, we live in a state of grace—a condition as life-giving as the state of sin is deadly. And notice that it is completed action that continues into the future! Back to what God has done in Christ: while humanity was still captive to sin, Christ died. And notice, it was not for the righteous or the Godly. It was for the ungodly! Why would anyone, much less God, do that? So God could prove God’s love for the world. Jesus’ death on the cross was not an accident or the result of things getting out of control. It was God’s way of dealing with the condition of sin that kept us from God’s presence. It reveals God’s love for us and enables us to be reconciled to God. In Christ, God has filled the breech so that we can now live out of God’s love and power, sanctifying us—the word means “making us holy.” Notice that it, too, is an ongoing action. The life of faith is one in which the love and power of God are making us holy and fit to be God’s people at work for God’s purposes and able, at last, to live in God’s eternal presence.

The lectionary skips over John 8:1-11 because it is not found in the oldest manuscripts of John’s gospel, and seems to have more in common with the stories of the controversies between Jesus and the Temple authorities that we read in the other three gospels, whereas John is a series of extended conversations and debates in sermonic form. It does not make the story any less valid or true, but does interrupt the flow of Jesus’ conflict with the religious leaders in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles and seems to be a later insertion. And so, our lesson begins with verse 12 of chapter 8 and falls on the heels of Jesus’ announcing his gift of life-giving water. Now, his “I am” sayings take up another image—light—a common metaphor for the presence of God and itself an important element in the Feast of Tabernacles celebration. Whoever follows him will never walk in darkness but have the light of life. The Pharisees challenge him for testifying on his own behalf, a testimony that is therefore not valid. Jesus does not deny it, but says, “even so, it is valid, because I know where I have come from and where I am going, while you know neither!” Further, the Pharisees judge by human standards; Jesus judges no one, but simply does what his Father tells him. But if he did, it would be valid for it is not Jesus alone who judges but the Father who sent him. Quoting the law back to them, he reminds them of the Torah’s requirement of two witnesses to make something valid. He then says that he and his Father are those two witnesses. The Jewish leaders respond by asking where his father is. Jesus tells them that they know neither him nor his Father, for if they knew him they would know his father. To know Jesus is to know the Father and vice versa. It is open testimony to who he is, but they cannot hear it. The lesson closes by telling us that he continued to teach this openly in the temple, but no one arrested him, because “his hour had not yet come.” Whereas in the other three gospels, Jesus’ identity is a secret (Mark), or not fully disclosed until the trial before the Sanhedrin or Pilate (Matthew and Luke), in John, Jesus speaks very openly about his identity as God’s Son, and, as the gospel continues to unfold, that becomes even more apparent. It is one of the reasons that John has been a favorite among people involved in missionary and evangelistic ministries.

Posted March 11, 2015
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Jeremiah 7:21-34; Psalm 14; Romans 4:13-25; John 7:37-52

After telling Jeremiah not to intercede with him for the people, it is too late and God will not listen, the reason for the judgment is given: they are baking cakes for the Queen of Heaven, a cosmic deity. And so, God tells Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh—it is worthless. Remember, when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I said nothing about offerings and sacrifice. My one demand was that you obey my voice and keep me, alone, as your God, walking in the way that I command you. But you did not obey or listen, but in stubbornness walked in your own counsel.” Nevertheless, from the moment they left Egypt, God sent them prophets to call them back to his ways, but still, they did not listen. Rather, they stiffened their necks and did even worse things than their ancestors. Jeremiah is to speak this word to them knowing they will not listen—truth has been cut off from their lips. God tells Jeremiah to cut off his hair and throw it away, raise a lamentation in the high places of their false worship, for the Lord has rejected and forsaken the generation that has provoked his wrath. Not only have they set their abominations in the temple—a statue to the Phoenician goddess Asherah (2 Kings 23:6)—they have gone to the high place named Topheth, west of Jerusalem, and there offered their sons and daughters as burnt sacrifices—something the Lord neither commanded nor even came to his mind (see 2 Kings 16:3; 21:6; 23:10). The days are coming when it will no longer be called Topheth, but the valley of slaughter, for so many will die there that there will no longer be room for burial. The corpses will be strewn across the land as food for birds of prey and wild animals. The Lord will bring an end to joy and gladness as the land becomes a wasteland.

Psalm 14 is a condemnation of those who say, “There is no God,” who as a result are both corrupt and lack any moral compass whatsoever. Though thinking themselves wise in their own eyes, they are fools. There are fewer strong words of personal condemnation in the Old Testament than “fool!” It is, in wisdom literature, the term for the “empty headed” but it is less about thoughtless, imprudent behavior than about the orientation of one’s life. Though, in this psalm, the “fool” is defined as those who say there is no God, this is less a question about whether or not there is a god, than the question of whether a god even cares. After all, they are corrupt and do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good. It is one of the earliest affirmations of what will come to be known in reformed theology as “total depravity.” But the Lord looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise. The verdict is “No!” All have gone astray; all are perverse; no one does good. They have no knowledge (here, more about relationship with God than information about God), fail to call upon him, and eat up God’s people as though they were bread. The psalm now describes their fate: they shall be in great terror for God is with the company of the righteous. Those who would confuse and abuse the poor should know that the Lord is the refuge of the poor; in abusing them, they abuse God. The psalm ends with a plea that deliverance for Israel will come from the Lord with the acknowledgment that when that does occur, and the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice. Notice that nowhere in this psalm is the Lord addressed. Rather, this seems to be a psalm intended to drive home the conviction that God is looking, God does care, and God will act against those who, in their wickedness, abuse the poor and fail to recognize, much less, serve the Lord. The conviction is repeated, virtually verbatim in Psalm 53.

Paul continues to make the point about the superiority of faith in Christ over the observance of the law. He argues that God’s promise to Abraham, that he would inherit the world, did not come through the law but though Abraham’s faith based upon God’s grace, a grace guaranteed to all of Abraham’s descendants, not only the Jews (adherents of the law) but also those who share the faith of Abraham (Gentile believers). Even when all of the external signs pointed away from the fulfillment of the promise, Abraham hoped against hope, trusting that God was able to do what God had promised and that it would be fulfilled. Such unwavering hope is faith in action that put Abraham in a right relationship with God who, consequently, reckoned Abraham righteous. Such righteousness is also reckoned to those who believe God raised Jesus from the dead—the one who was handed over to death for our sins, and raised for our own justification. None of this was accomplished by keeping the law, but by faith that believes God keeps God’s word.

On the last day of the festival, as the priests are pouring fresh water on the altar as an offering to God, Jesus stands and cries out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let those who believe in me drink,” and with allusions to Isaiah 44:3; 55:1 and 58:11, he proclaims himself the source of new life. As his body is the manna of Passover, he is also the life-giving water celebrated in the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths). The author quickly reminds us that Jesus is talking about the gift of the Spirit, which believers will receive after Jesus’ glorification. When the crowd heard this, some said, “He really is the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But the skeptics in the crowd returned to the theme of his origin—Galilee. The scriptures are clear; the Messiah is from David and will come from Bethlehem. And so, a division occurs among them. The temple police return to the chief priests and Pharisees empty-handed, so overwhelmed were they by Jesus’ words and the peoples’ response. The Pharisees accuse them of having been deceived, like the rest of the ignorant crowd, and then ask a self-incriminating question: “Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him?” After all, the crowd is both accursed and ignorant of the law—what do they know? But Nicodemus, who in chapter 3 went to Jesus by night, is among them and, knowing the law, challenges them with it: the law does not allow them to judge people without first giving them a hearing. Angered and embarrassed, they try to shame Nicodemus by accusing him of being a Galilean as well and challenge him to search the scriptures. He will learn that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.

Posted March 10, 2015
Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015
Jeremiah 7:1-15; Psalm 145; Romans 4:1-12; John 7:14-36

God stations Jeremiah at the gates of the temple and commissions him to warn the people to amend their ways and allow God to dwell with them, rather than trust in the deceptive words, “The temple of the Lord.” This phrase, repeated three times, refers to the false trust the Jews placed in Jerusalem’s safety because the temple was there and was God’s dwelling place. As such, they reasoned, it could not be destroyed. These are, Jeremiah warns them, deceptive words—a lie. On the other hand, if they do amend their ways, acting justly with one another, no longer oppressing the alien, the orphan and the widow, or shedding innocent blood in the temple, if they give up going after other gods, then God will dwell with them in this place and in the land that God first gave to their ancestors. God’s presence among them is not automatic simply because the temple is there. It is conditional and depends upon their right behavior, temple or no temple. Yet, they insist on trusting the lie. Do they truly think that they can steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods and then come and stand in the temple and say, “We are safe!” As a consequence, they continue doing all these abominations. They have made this house into a den of robbers, a phrase that Jesus quotes against the religious authorities in Jerusalem, when he enters the temple and begins to drive out those who are buying and selling. The Lord is watching. The Lord tells them to go to Shiloh, a place where once God dwelled and was worshipped, but no longer exists. Because of the people’s wickedness, the Lord destroyed it. So too shall it be with the temple in Jerusalem—the place in which they place such false trust—if they do not amend their ways. God will cast them out just as God cast out their kinfolk in Ephraim, when destroying the sanctuary there at Shiloh.

Psalm 145 is the last of eight alphabetic, acrostic psalms and a masterful hymn of praise that extols the Lord as God and King, focusing on all that God has done. Its emphasis is individual in nature rather than corporate, remembering less God’s acts of salvation for the nation, than God’s interventions and providence in personal life. The psalmist promises to bless God every day and praise his name forever and ever, and is filled with some of the most memorable phrases of praise in all of scripture. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.” One generation after another shall praise God’s name and celebrate his awesome deeds and his abundant goodness. “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love;” good to all. “His compassion is over all that he has made.” All God’s works give thanks and praise him; all the faithful shall bless him. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and his dominion endures throughout all generations. As the psalm moves to its conclusion, it identifies what it is the Lord does that makes God faithful in all his works and gracious in all his deeds: God upholds those who are falling, raises up all who are bowed down, gives food in due season, satisfies the desire of every living thing, is just in all his doings, near to all who call on him, fulfills the desires of all who fear him, hears their cries and saves them, watches over all who love him, while “all the wicked he will destroy.” The psalm ends like it began, promising to speak the praise of the Lord and announcing that “all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.”

Paul illustrates his point about justification through faith rather than works of the law, by pointing out that Abraham was justified by his trust in God and God’s promise before he was circumcised. His circumcision was simply a sign of the righteousness that came to be in him through his faith. Now, if Abraham could be made righteous by faith before he was circumcised, so too can the Gentiles, and the Gentile Christians among them in the church are not second class because they are not circumcised. For God’s promise that Abraham would be the heir of the nations (the Gentiles) came not through Abraham keeping the Law—it did not yet exist—but through his trust in the One who made the promise. Thereafter, Abraham received circumcision as a sign of his righteousness, so that he might be the father of both those who believe without circumcision as well as those who believe with it. Both are brought into right relationship with God through faith.

Jesus remains back in Galilee until the middle of the festival and then goes up to Jerusalem and to the temple and begins to teach there in its treasury, where people gather to give their temple tax. The people, especially the Jewish leaders, are astonished at Jesus’ teaching since he has obviously had no formal training like that of the Pharisees or chief priests. Jesus responds that his teaching is not his own but that of the One who sent him, (repeating the theme of 5:19-30), and that anyone resolved to do the will of God will recognize and accept that. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory, but Jesus does not speak on his own, but for the Father and seeks the glory of the One who sent him, not his own. Consequently, there is nothing false in him or what he teaches. Jesus then cites Moses giving them the law—teaching from God—but observes that none of them keep it. If that is so, why are they now looking for an opportunity to kill him? They accuse him of being possessed by a demon and ask who is trying to kill him. Jesus ignores their question and turns the conversation to their central objection—his having healed the man at the pool on the sabbath (5:1-18), and points out that even on the sabbath they circumcise a child if the 8th day happens to fall on the sabbath. Why then are they angry that he has healed on the sabbath? Are they so preoccupied with their own religious and cultural concerns and their judgment so poor that they cannot see the presence of God at work in that act? Some in the crowd recognized that Jesus is the man their leaders are trying to kill; why have they done nothing, not even arrested him? Can it be that they know he is the Messiah? Yet, they know where he comes from; on the other hand, no one is to know where the Messiah comes from. Jesus uses that to play on the notion that, not only do they not know where he comes from, more, they do not know the One who sent him. Jesus knows him, because “I am from him,” another use of the sacred name for his own identity, “he sent me.” They understand that well enough and now try to arrest him, but they can’t—his hour has not yet come. Many in the crowd believe in Jesus, while others insist that when the Messiah comes he will do more signs than this. The Pharisees hear the crowd’s “mutterings” and so, with the chief priests, they send the temple police to arrest Jesus. Jesus tells them he will be among them only a short time more and then he will go to a place they cannot come. As is often the case in this gospel, such words are misunderstood by the hearers, which sets up more opportunity for Jesus to explain himself. They think he is talking about leaving Jerusalem to go among the Jews of the dispersion to continue his teaching among them. He, of course, is talking about his return to the Father.

Posted March 9, 2015
Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday, March 8, 2015
Jeremiah 6:9-15; Psalm 93; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Mark 5:1-20

Previous to this lesson, Jeremiah has warned that the invasion from the north is closer and tells the people to flee the city. Today God calls for one more gleaning to find the remnant in Judah. But Jeremiah laments, “To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? See, their ears are closed, they cannot hear.” The word of the Lord to them is an object of scorn in which they take no pleasure. Yet, Jeremiah is full of God’s wrath and weary of holding it in. At that, the Lord commands him to pour it out on the children in the streets, the gathering of young men at the well, both husbands and wives, old and even the aged. Turn their houses over to others, their fields and wives together, for God is stretching out his hand against them. From the least to the greatest among them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain, from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely and has treated the wound of God’s people carelessly. They cry, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. They have acted shamefully, committed abominations and done so shamelessly, with not so much as a blush. Therefore, they shall fall among the others who fall, at the time that God punishes them, and they are overthrown.

Psalm 93, probably used during the annual enthronement of Israel’s king, has been appropriated by the church for Easter, because, in his resurrection, Jesus has become King of kings and Lord of lords. The psalmist praises the majesty, strength and holiness of the Lord—Israel’s true king—and recalls how all creation has been fixed by God and shall not be moved. So, too, is God’s throne firmly fixed from of old and is “until everlasting.” Even the floods join their voices in praising God’s majesty. God’s reign is eternal, God’s decrees are sure, and only holiness is suitable for God’s house. In the enthronement, this psalm reminds Israel’s king of who it is who truly reigns in Israel, and to whom he is accountable—the Lord.

Paul reminds the Corinthians that, though all things are lawful, not all things are beneficial and that, as a basic principle of Christian life, he will not allow himself to be dominated by anything in this life. Food is meant for the stomach and vice versa, and God will destroy both. The body is meant, not for sexual exploitation and abuse, but for the Lord, as the Lord is for the body. And as God raised the Lord, so God will also raise us [bodily] by his power. For, after all, we are members of Christ’s body. Shall we then, in the abuse of our freedom, make our bodies also members of a prostitute? God forbid! Remember, whoever is united bodily with a prostitute becomes one body with her, as the two become one flesh. Anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Therefore, shun fornication! Every sin that we commit is outside the body, except fornication, which is against the body itself. Have you forgotten that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who resides in you, which you have from God, and that, as a result, you are not your own? You were bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body.

The storm at sea quelled by Jesus’ command, the disciples and Jesus reach their destination, the Gentile country of Gerasenes, and are immediately met by a demon-possessed man who is living among the tombs. The unclean spirits within him are such that he has super strength and, in spite of numerous attempts to constrain him with chains, he has always broken free. He has spent his days and nights howling and bruising himself among the tombs. Upon seeing Jesus, he runs to him, bows to the ground and shouts at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” This last phrase is the demon’s attempt to invoke spiritual help to keep Jesus from casting him out, for we are told that Jesus had already told the unclean spirit to leave the man. Jesus asks the spirit its name, and it replies “Legion, for we are many.” He begs Jesus not to send them out of the country—the territory where they have some authority and power. In Jesus’ day, spiritual beings were believed to be connected to particular places and lost their power when displaced. A herd of swine are feeding on the hillside near them, and so he begs, “Send us into the swine.” Jesus gives them permission to do so. Notice the absolute authority he is exercising over this legion of demons. They do and, thereupon, about two thousand swine rush down the steep bank, fall into the sea and drown. They have returned to what was believed to be one of the sources and homes of evil and chaos—the sea. As the wind and the sea had obeyed him, so too, now, the legion of demons have obeyed. Those who had been tending the swine rush into the city and wider countryside to tell people what has happened. When they come out to see Jesus, they find the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they are filled with fear and begin to beg Jesus to leave them. As Jesus and the disciples get back into their boats, the man who had been possessed begs to come with them. Jesus refuses—one of the few instances in the gospel where he turns someone away who wants to follow. Why? For one thing, the man was probably a Gentile. What would a Gentile be doing in Jesus’ entourage? But, there is more to this than, at first, meets the eye. Jesus tells the man to go home to his friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for him, and what mercy has been shown to him. The man goes away and begins to proclaim throughout the ten Greek cities of the Transjordan known as the Decapolis, not what God has done for him, but how much Jesus has done for him! What appears at first to be Jesus’ rejection of the man and his request turns out to be a means of spreading Jesus’ fame and message among the Gentiles.

Posted March 8, 2015
Saturday, March 7, 2015

Saturday, March 7, 2015
Jeremiah 5:20-31; Psalm 143; Romans 3:19-31; John 7:1-13

God speaks to the house of Jacob telling them that they are foolish and senseless people without the capacity to see or hear what the Lord is doing. Do they not fear him, he who established the sand as a boundary for the sea? No; the people are stubborn and rebellious in heart, have turned aside and gone away. Rather than fear and thank the Lord as the source of the spring and fall rains that produce the regular harvests, they participate in iniquities—sins that deprive them of good. Scoundrels are found among them, who take over the goods of others, catching people in their nets of conspiracy as a fowler catches a bird. Their houses are full of treachery by which they have become great and rich and have grown fat and sleek. They know no limit to wickedness, failing to judge properly for the orphan or defend the rights of the needy. Shall God not punish them for all of this? But more, an appalling and horrible thing has taken place: the prophets speak falsely, and the priests rule as the prophets direct in a conspiracy of corruption that allows the rich to prosper and the poor to languish, the rich loving to have it so. What will they do when the end comes?

Psalm 143 is the cry of one who has suffered defeat and now turns to the Lord for help, recognizing that no one is righteous before the Lord, yet the Lord is merciful. He remembers the old days of victory, the days when the Lord was at hand. And so, he stretches out his hand in search of God, lest he go down to the Pit. Pleading for God’s steadfast love, he has asked God to deliver him from his enemies, teach him his ways, and let God’s Spirit lead him on level paths. He is but God’s servant and pleads no right of his own. Rather, he asks God to do all this for him because of God’s righteousness and steadfast love—for God’s name’s sake.

The law speaks to those under the law, both in order to silence them, lest they falsely complain, “but we didn’t know that was God’s standard,” and put them on notice that they are being held accountable by God. Still, no human being will be justified in God’s sight by deeds of the law. What the law really does is make us aware of sin and its power over us. Because the Law is powerless to do anything about human sin and our bondage to it, God has acted in Jesus Christ to deal with it. Sin here is more than human transgressions; it is a condition in life that constantly causes everyone to fall short of the goal and object of life—living out of the gracious power and presence of God. Consequently, God has done what we cannot do for ourselves and has done it for everyone—Jew and Gentile alike. God in Christ entered into that breach, coming to us when the void kept us from coming to God, to redeem us from such captivity. Publically displayed on the cross, Christ established a life-giving, righteous connection between us and God, which we enter into and live out of when we place our trust in the grace and gift of him. Passing over previous sin, God has done this for everyone—he is not simply the God of the Jews (or Christians!). So, what reason then might there be for boasting in the law or in works of it? (Today, I suspect Paul would add the word “faith,” since for so many it means “what we believe” in order to acquire or earn God’s grace). Developing a play on words, Paul coins the phrase, “law of faith,” which excludes human work of any kind—even faith!—insisting that this righteousness in Christ is God’s gift that is received in trust, whether Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised. Does accepting God’s gift in faith nullify or overthrow God’s Law? On the contrary, it upholds it, for both the Law and the Prophets have borne witness to this and are fulfilled in Christ.

Jesus remains in the region of Galilee, teaching, healing and working his signs, staying away from Judea because the Jewish leaders there are on the lookout for him, hoping to find an opportunity to kill him. As the festival of Booths, (Feast of Tabernacles, Lev 23:39-43) approaches, a harvest festival commemorating God’s care for Israel in the wilderness, Jesus’ brothers, still not convinced about him, test him by urging Jesus to join the pilgrim festival in Jerusalem so that his disciples can see what he is up to and make himself more widely known. Hear the sarcasm in their saying to him, “…for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret.” Jesus refuses, saying his time has not yet come, but theirs is always here. They are not hated by the world as he is, for he continues to testify against it that its works are evil. And so, he sends them to the festival by themselves, while he remains in Galilee, because his hour for glorification has not yet come. After they leave, he also goes up to Jerusalem, but in secret, knowing that the Jewish leaders are expecting him to be at the festival and are asking, “Where is he?” There is considerable disagreement about Jesus within the crowd, some complaining that he is deceiving people while other are saying, “He is a good man,” but the latter are doing so quietly because of their fear of the Jewish authorities.

Posted March 7, 2015
The Rev. Dr.       Fred R. Anderson

Author: The Rev. Dr.       Fred R. Anderson
Created: June 21, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Fred R. Anderson, Pastor of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, offers thoughts on today’s lectionary readings.

© 2014