It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Reflection on readings for March 25

Sing to God,
sing praises to God's name.
(Psalm 68:4a)

Deuteronomy 4:1-49
Moses' parting speech ties together the free gift of land and the conditions of commandment for receiving the land (Breuggemann). Remember the statutes and ordinances that God has given that will enable you to be God's people. That's good for you and good for people who will see the effects of your obedience.

God is without physical form; don't make an idol.

No other God has done what God has done: spoken from fire, displayed power, spoken to you, rescued you.

Luke 6:39-7:10
Background (4:14-40): In Luke, after leaving the wilderness, then being rejected in his hometown Nazareth, Jesus went to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. There he taught in the synagogue where he also healed a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon. Jesus then went to Simon's house and healed his mother-in-law. By the end of that day, many persons with various kinds of diseases were brought to Jesus. He healed them. When the expelled demons shouted, "You are the Son of God!" Jesus rebuked them and told than to to say anything else. Yet, he continued to heal and preach publicly.

A Roman official, a centurion, in Capernaum has a highly valued slave who is dying. Having heard of the healings already done by Jesus, the centurion asks some of the synagogue authorities to ask Jesus to come to heal his slave.

The elders go to Jesus with an earnest appeal, "You should help the centurion because he has been a help to us."

Questions that arise for me: Why would a centurion want to build a synagogue? Why did the elders think that particular argument would win Jesus' acceptance? In our own time, who are the non-Christians that desire Christ's help and who would they think to ask for intercession?

When he heard that Jesus was coming, the centurion sent a message through friends (I don't know whether they were also Jews), "You don't have to come all the way to my house. I don't deserve that much effort. Besides, you have the power to heal my servant from a distance. You just have to say the word. I know about authority because I have it. If I tell a slave to go, he goes, if I say to come, he comes, and if I say to do this, he does."

Although I wonder if there something subtle in his reminder that he has a lot of power, Jesus offers the interpretation to his remarks as evidence of great faith.

When the Jewish elders returned to the centurion's house, they found the slave in good health.

Question: How is Christ working through the church to heal?

Psalm 68:1-18

Proverbs 11:28

Prayer for Today: O Lord, our God, in times of despair, remind us of what you can do and what you have already done for us. Remind us of your expectations for us, and help us to live them out. Amen.

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