Category Archives: Lectionary

Behold, The Lamb Of God

Isaiah 49:1-7
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
John 1:29-42
Psalm 40:1-12

David cries out, “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.”  He also says, “I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.”

Even as David sank deep into the sins of adultery and murder, failing God on a grand scale, he never doubted God’s faithfulness to him.

Paul reminds the church at Corinth that God remains faithful even as we fail him.  He gives us gifts to use for good.  We must strive to do as He commands us.

We sin when we lose sight of God, of Jesus.  Sometimes we know we choose to sin and we do it anyway, but mostly we sin without realizing it.  I might say something encouraging to a friend, but he hears it as a criticism.  We live in sin.

There is no way to describe the Lamb of God without is sounding mystical.  It is not science, it cannot be proven.  I have to accept it on faith.  It is not, however, without evidence.  Millions of lives changed by accepting that faith.

When John spoke of Jesus as the Lamb of God, everyone who heard him knew that he was referring to the sacrificial lamb offered every morning and evening in the Temple as well as the Passover Lamb once a year to make them clean so they could approach God.

By accepting my sin as his own, Jesus died taking that sin to the grave.  He came out of the grave, but my sin stayed buried.  I believe that.

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Here Is My Servant

Isaiah 42:1-9
Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 3:13-17
Psalm 29

Key verses:

I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness.

God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

The Lord blesses his people with peace.

In the first century the difference between a servant and a slave hardly recognizable to 21st Century eyes.  True, a servant could quit, but that was seldom done because no one else would hire someone who quit.  Day-to-day, both did what their master said and both ate the same food, wore the same clothing, and worked the same long hours.

Isaiah records the words of God in speaking of the Messiah by starting with, “Here is my servant.”  Jesus lived the life of a slave.  He did nothing that God did not give to him to do.  He fulfilled all the prophecies about the Messiah, especially the one about bringing justice and righteousness to the world.

John was reluctant to baptize the Son of God, but Jesus insisted it was necessary.  He symbolically took on our sins with that act and carried them into death so that we would not have to do it ourselves.  That is not just important, it is essential.  You and I cannot go to the grave with our sins and expect to live with God.  Only if we are sin-free can we expect to see God.

Peter summed it up by preaching the same Good News that Jesus preached.  God loves all of us and Jesus made it possible for us to die and die sin free.

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Better A Day In Your Courts

Pharaoh

Jeremiah 31:7-14
Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a
Matthew 2:13-15,19-23
Psalm 84

 Key verses from each of today’s readings:

For the LORD will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

When churches do the Christmas pageant, we seldom include the run to Egypt.  We like the cozy pictures of the baby in the manger visited by shepherds and astrologers from the East.  We forget that those Easterners told Herod about the birth of the new King.  Herod was so determined to keep his position of power that he murdered several members of his own family, so killing a baby was a no-brainer.  Because the astrologers failed to tell him where the child was, Herod ordered all males two and under executed, believing the future King would be among them.

We cheer that God was able to save Jesus, but are sickened at the loss of so many lives.  If we stop to ask why God didn’t intervene and save all the boys, we miss the point.  The Messiah, Jesus, was the only way for those boys to be saved, and all the rest of us for that matter.

Our lives and deaths in this world will occur with or without God.  Being an adopted child of God gives us no special protection in this world.  It does protect us from death.  Not from dying, from death.  When these bodies surrender to all the bacteria, viruses, insects, animals, fellow humans, and aging, we get new bodies that will never be under attack or wear out.  We will be gathered in as the remnant to spend all of time praising God and living the lives God made us for.

A few verses ahead of the Jeremiah text is:

I have loved you with an everlasting love.

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

The Word

Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Galatians 3:23-25;4:4-7
John 1:1-18
Psalm 147 

In the beginning was the Word.  God spoke the Word and the universe came to be.  God spoke the Word to save humans from their own mistakes.

The Word was given to Solomon and by it he gained great Wisdom.  Wisdom is also the Word.

Proverbs 3:18-20

She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.
By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place;
by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

Proverbs 4:6-8

Do not forsake Wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.

Proverbs 8:22-31

The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;
I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.
When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water;
before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills I was given birth,
before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world
I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when he gave the sea its boundry so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was the craftsman at his side.  I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence,
rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.

Jesus is the Word and the Wisdom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1Ou4H4Qig0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YA4vOz5dTw

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Unto Us A Child Is Born

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-16
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25
Psalm 80:1-7, 1618

God sat with his Son talking about creating the universe.

Humans must have freewill.  In that way, they will be like us.

Father, if we give them choices, they could chose unwisely.

They will and when they do, you must bring them back.  You will become one of them and lead them to me.

How can I become human?

I will hold on to that part of you separating us from them.  You will take on the same chemical form they live in.  You will be able to talk with me in the same way that they can but fail to do.  You will be human in every way.  You will have a new name, God Saves, for that is what you will do.

But if I am fully human, might I too fail you?

It is a great responsibility.  I would not ask you to do it if I did not believe in you.  Humans must be punished for their turning away from us.  You will serve as their scapegoat, taking on the sins of humanity and cleansing them so they can come in and eat with us.

Father, I will not fail you.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS3vpAWW2Zc

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence