Thursday, March 22, 2012

John 5:17-30 Jesus is the Son of the Father

Jesus answered the Jews:
"My Father is at work until now, so I am at work."
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Jesus answered and said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own,
but only what he sees the Father doing;
for what he does, the Son will do also.
For the Father loves the Son
and shows him everything that he himself does,
and he will show him greater works than these,
so that you may be amazed.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life,
so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.
Nor does the Father judge anyone,
but he has given all judgment to the Son,
so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.
Whoever does not honor the Son
does not honor the Father who sent him.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word
and believes in the one who sent me
has eternal life and will not come to condemnation,
but has passed from death to life.
Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here
when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God,
and those who hear will live.
For just as the Father has life in himself,
so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself.
And he gave him power to exercise judgment,
because he is the Son of Man.
Do not be amazed at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs
will hear his voice and will come out,
those who have done good deeds
to the resurrection of life,
but those who have done wicked deeds
to the resurrection of condemnation.

"I cannot do anything on my own;
I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just,
because I do not seek my own will
but the will of the one who sent me."

In this passage we see that Christ is given his authority by God the Father. It is through the Father that the Son has any power. The Son is glorified and will exercise judgement among the living and the dead. It is the Son who will user in the Kingdom of God and bring about the resurrection of the dead. The Son is the Word of God incarnate. He is God's active agent of change, bringing about the Kingdom of God.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

John 3:14-21 Everyone who believes in him may have eternal life

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
"Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light
and does not come toward the light,
so that his works might not be exposed.
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light,
so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

In this passage, we see the celebration of Jesus' purpose. He liberates us from our sins and saves us by making God's love knowable though his incarnation. This is one of the main reasons why John 3:16 is often quoted by many Christians. It celebrates Jesus' resurrection because he is the first one lifted up from the dead. Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. His love knows no ends. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus says we must forgive seventy-seven times

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
"Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.'
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
'Pay back what you owe.'
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
But he refused.
Instead, he had him put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?'
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."

In this passage, Jesus reminds us that forgiveness is at the very heart of happiness. When asked by Peter how many times one should forgive another, Jesus responds 'seventy seven times'. This number is significant because the number seven represents perfection, since the world was created in seven days. To say seventy seven means forever since it is such a large number. So we are being called to always forgive rather than hold onto grudges. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

John 2:13-25 Jesus Drives Out the Money Changers

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
"Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father's house a marketplace."
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
"What sign can you show us for doing this?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."
The Jews said,
"This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?"
But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
many began to believe in his name
when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all,
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.

In this passage, we see Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple. The money changers offered an essential service in the temple because people could not purchase animals for sacrifice without exchanging their money for 'temple money'. The reason they had to convert their money is because inflation in Jesus' time was a problem. The currency was made out of silver. So if people wanted to make more money, instead of mining more silver, they would add some other type of metal to the coin. The result was a lower and lower quantity of silver in each coin. To address this problem the temple used coins that were made out of pure silver. This way the temple would not be affected by inflation. Jesus was likely crucified because of this actions at the temple. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mark 9:2-10 The Transfiguration of Jesus

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
"Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

In this passage, Mark gives specific details on the transfiguration of Jesus. Here he changes from being a mortal to becoming dazzling white. Here God appears as a cloud and proclaims "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him". This is very similar to the moment of Jesus' baptism in the Gospel of John where the voice from heave declares that "This is my son, of whom I am well pleased". There is a possibility both these stories are referring to the same primary text fragment and are constructing a narrative around it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Matthew 5:20-26 You have heard it said, but I say to you

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven."

"You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."

In this passage we see Jesus elaborating on the Commandments. He is explaining the limits of the law and reinterpreting them. The reason this section is found in the sermon on the mount is because Matthew is making the connection between Jesus and Moses. Just like Moses received the Law from God on the Mountain, so Jesus will expand on the laws and deliver them to the people from a mountain. The official title of this section is called Expounding the law.