Getting Ready for Sunday by Pedro Lara

3rd Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 5)

In our first reading (both track 1 and 2), we get in Kings the story of the prophet Elijah reviving the desperately ill son of the widow who has fed him in Zarephath. If upon reading the Gospel, you get the sense that it sounds strikingly like the story of Elijah in the first reading, it is because Luke seems to have explicitly used the same story to make a parallel. It all seems to fit: Jesus comes to a town (Nain), as did Elijah (Zarephath, 1 Kgs 17:10); a widow is met at the gate of the town (17:10); the son of the widow is restored (17:22). Yet, there is one significant difference between Luke’s narrative and the story of Elijah in Kings: whereas Elijah had to pray three times to the Lord and stretch himself over the child, Jesus, through his own authority raised the widow’s son by command. The immediate response of the dead boy was to “rise and begin to speak,” which shows the extent of Jesus’ power. We see not only a miracle, but also Jesus’ authority over death itself, as well as his authority to speak life into existence. This elicits from the bystanders a fundamental Christological affirmation; that the man who has power over life and death, Jesus, is recognized as the awaited “great prophet”. This is not just any prophet, but the eschatological prophet, the “stronger one” who is like Moses (Deut. 18:15, 18). As the eschatological prophet Jesus reveals his own character as well as both his and the fathers intention/will towards redeeming humanity. Revealed to us is a compassionate and merciful God whom is determined to deal with the problem of suffering caused by sin and death. Our Great prophet Jesus Christ, whom has power and authority over life and death, has come to reconcile us back to himself as well as redeeming and restoring the damage done both by sin and death. Thus, what transpires in this Sunday’s Gospel is the revelation of God’s reign over life and death, in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom is the destroyer of death and corruption.

As ministers and proclaimers of the Gospel we are to preach the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In proclaiming his life we are to be witnesses that Jesus brought sight to the blind, healed the lame and deaf, cleansed the lepers, raised up the dead, and brought the good news to the poor (Luke 7:22). What a perfect opportunity we have in this Sunday’s Gospel to proclaim the good news that our Lord Jesus Christ, our “great prophet,” whom has authority over life and death, whom raised the widow’s boy up, whom rose from the dead Himself, will also one day raise us up and restore all of the damage that has come with sin and death. This my brothers and sisters is the Good News of the Gospel. If the report of this event “spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country” (Lk 7:17), imagine the results of proclaiming the Gospel beginning in the community we find yourselves in. Thus, the nugget in this Gospel is the message that our Lord Jesus, who raises the dead, will upon his return, like the widow’s boy also fully restore us and all of his creation, finally brining an end to both sin and death, which is a message that the world and the church needs to hear again now more than ever.

Pedro Lara is a seminarian at Nashotah House Theological Seminary

Posted by Pedro Lara with

Getting Ready for Sunday by the Rev. Andrew Ray

2nd Sunday after Pentecost

1 Kings 8:22-23 ,41-43

Galatians 1:1-12

Luke 7:1-10

My wife, Julie, and I years back went to a rescue shelter to adopt a dog. I don’t know if you have been to a place like that. You walk in there and the dogs know why you are there and they also know that they want to leave. The chorus of a hundred dogs all pleading with us to take them home was overwhelming. It breaks your heart. It really does.

We did a loop around the room of hundreds of dogs and picked out three dogs. From the three dogs chosen, we had a little interview with our top choice in a side room. We took Angel home. Her life was changed at that point and ours, too. Angel was a greyhound mix and slowly with love, care, and food went from being a sad, frightened, shaking little dog into a confident, loving, and extremely fast dog.

We adopted Angel because we wanted to. God has adopted us because he wanted to. He didn’t chose us for Himself because we were so good looking, or because of our money, our good pedigree, or our wisdom. God destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will. He adopted us because he wanted to and he could through the sacrifice and obedience of Jesus Christ. He changed our name to his own and took us home.

Do adoption agencies interview and screen the person being adopted or the people adopting?  The person being adopted is not screened.  Their need is the reason they are to be adopted.  We, too, are adopted by God's grace and we had great need.  God adopted us because he wanted to. 

Do adopted children inherit less than natural born sons and daughters? Not in God’s plan. There is no difference in inheritance. We are coheirs with Christ. Adopted sons are treated as equals and inherit all that the Son inherits. There is always room for more in this house. We will inherit what Jesus inherits including a new body, a new earth, the presence and love of God, the fruits of the Spirit, and the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. Adoption grants us the knowledge that I am loved by God, the knowledge that God has forgiven me, and a hope for the present and future of a great inheritance in Christ.

Israel in scripture is given the title “sons of God.” God chose Israel to be his own. Israel was claimed as Yahweh’s people and summoned to live as those who share his holy nature.   Israel struggled with their calling and turned away from God. Israel then awaited in hope a messianic king who would enjoy a special relationship with God embodying obedience and loyalty to God. For the Christian, this hope was realized in the person of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection.[1] By our faith in Jesus and his work on our behalf we are given right standing to become sons and daughters of God. Through Christ, God adopts into his family and we all can become his sons and daughters.

If there is a theme to the readings for this week it is that God desires all people from every nation to worship and know Him. We begin in 1 Kings where King Solomon’s line has been adopted into God’s reign on the earth. King Solomon invites Gentiles (those who aren’t Jewish) to pray to the God of Israel and encourages Israel to be a light to the nations. In Israel’s founding, we see God’s desire for the nations of the world to know Him.

Later, in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, Paul warns the first church in Europe against teaching requiring them to keep all aspects of the Jewish law. [2] Paul argues for justification (right standing before God) is by faith not by following the Torah. He argues that Jew and Gentile are now one by faith in Christ.

Finally, in the Gospel from Luke, we see Jesus affirming the faith of a Gentile centurion setting a trajectory that salvation is for the Jews and Gentiles. The good news of Jesus is to spread to all nations, all people, and all tongues. Faith in Jesus becomes central for everyone and open to everyone.

Do you realize you have been adopted into God’s family?  Can you start living into this reality? Do you see the theme of God’s desire for all nations to know him in these scriptures? 

[1] Sinclair B Ferguson, David F Wright, eds., New Dictionary of Theology (IVP, 1988), 652.

[2] F.L. Cross,, ed., Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press, 1997), 649.

The Rev. Ray is an assisting priest at St. Paul's in Prosper

Posted by The Rev. Andrew Ray with

12...19202122232425262728 ... 3233

This is a blog of essays meant to prepare parishioners for an upcoming Sunday reading.