Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bethany Bullet - January 28, 2014

Sunday’s Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-19

On the heels of the Baptism of Our Lord, and a week that witnessed no fewer than 7 baptisms on our Bethany campus, we hear St. Paul say, “I’m glad I didn’t baptize any of you except…” to the recipients of his first letter to the Corinthians.

How is it that this evangelist of evangelists, this apostle to the Gentiles, this author of Romans 6 and the great treatise on baptism could be led to say that he was glad he didn’t do much baptizing in Corinth?  Because you see, the actions of the Corinthian Christians were inconsistent with the affirmation of the life of the baptized child of God. 

Baptism is incorporation into the body of Christ.  Yet, the Corinthian’s were continually dividing that which God had united. Paul’s admonition declares to us that indeed, in the body, superiority gives way to unity and ownership is superseded by fellowship.  In other words, in the body we do not live as if “We are one as long as I’m number one”; nor do we act as if “There can only be harmony when all agree with me.”

Now that doesn’t mean truth is up for grabs or that there are no settled matters.  As members of the body we submit to the head (that is Christ) and His Word.  Where He has spoken, we stand.  Yet, where He has allowed freedom we dare not make laws. 

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, January 27, 2014

The One Year Bible- January 27th

This week I have been thinking about the over arching story of the Bible.  As we journey in the Bible this year we will see narrative sections as well as prescriptive sections.  The narrative portions get the big billing since they tell the “story,” but don’t just skip past the other sections.  There is some good stuff in there.  Just over 40% of the Old Testament is devoted to telling the narrative story.  The following Old Testament books are largely or entirely composed of narrative material: Genesis, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Jonah, and Haggai.  Also, Exodus, Numbers, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Job contain substantial narrative portions.  People like stories, and the stories in the Bible are important.  They are purposeful stories that tell the historical events of the past and are intended to give meaning and direction for a given people in the present.  There is a difference in the Bible’s stories for they tell God’s story.  As the book How to Read the Bible for all Its Worth says, “The Biblical narrative tells the ultimate story—a story that, even though often complex, is utterly true and crucially important.  Indeed it is a magnificent story, grander than the greatest epic, richer in plot and more significant in its characters and descriptions than any humanly composed story could ever be.” (How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth, p. 90)  Enjoy the stories and remember to try to see the overarching story of God’s love for his creation and his desire to save us from sin.

Seth’s Thoughts
The Old Testament
Exodus is a well written book that is foundational for the faith of both Christians and Jews; within its pages lie some of the key elements of our faith (the Passover, the 10 commandments a.k.a. the 10 words). A reading of this book is not complete without seeing the awesome wonder and power of God. One of the key words in the Old Testament is translated as “remembered”, as in God remembered his people, the people are to remember to celebrate the Passover etc. This is a theologically significant word in that it shows God’s grace and his love for his people. This theme will be carried out to completion as God “remembers” his people once again as they are slaves to sin and provides redemption through his son. Before we get to the Passover lets take a closer look at one of the most famous sections in the book, namely the plagues. Much has been made of these events in movies and other media but they show how God works in systematic ways. One thing to remember is that even when God showed his mighty wonders, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. He said the right things but went back on his word. I think at times we are all a bit like Pharaoh. We like to have things our own way and when things are going badly we will promise everything. Things ease up and we go back on our word. Eventually this will end up badly for us. But I am getting off track, so back to the plagues...

Before the first plague Moses and Aaron have a confrontation with Pharaoh and his magicians. We see here that Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them. By looking at the first nine plagues in groups of three we can see some interesting things.

The Plagues:

1. Blood (7:14-25)
2. Frogs (8:1-15)
3. Gnats (8:16-19)

4. Flies (8:20-32)
5. Animal Disease (9:1-7)
6. Boils (9:8-12)

7. Hail (9:13-35)
8. Locusts (10:1-20)
9. Darkness (10:21-27)

In each series the first and second plagues are announced to Pharaoh in advance. The third is given without previous warning. The series of 3 x 3 leads up to a climax in number 10—the number that is the symbol for completeness. Within the plagues themselves there is a progression, an increase in severity. The last three are especially severe and destructive. The Egyptian magicians vie with Moses in duplicating the first two plagues. At the third they try but no longer succeed in their magic arts. They must confess, “This is the finger of God.” Beginning with the second group of plagues (4,5 & 6) a distinction is made between the Israelites and the Egyptians. The land of Goshen where the Israelites live is spared. The first nine plagues deal with phenomena that have to do with nature. Since the Egyptians worshiped the powers of nature, what more effective way could God display his power over all things, which they looked upon as deities? The tenth plague was the plague of the firstborn. With this plague all the first-born were to be killed. But the angel was to “pass over” the homes of the Israelites.

The Passover presents to us one of the most important Old Testament types of the Savior Jesus Christ. As we look at the directions for preparing the Passover meal, we see step by step how the entire ritual points to Christ, our Passover lamb. The Passover lamb was to be a year-old male. John the Baptist tells of the Messiah who was to be the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." In Corinthians, Paul says, “For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.” God directed that this Passover lamb was to be “without defect.” Peter wrote that we were redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” The Passover lamb was to be slaughtered as a sacrifice. Paul reminded his people “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”. The writer of the book of Hebrews repeatedly refers to Christ as an “offering” and “sacrifice”. “Do not break any of the bones.” This was direct foreshadowing of Jesus. The Israelites were to “take some of the blood and but it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses.” God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” This points to the teaching that we are redeemed from the power of sin, death and Satan with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. God tells the people that they are to remember the Passover for “generations to come”.
I hope you can see how the Passover celebration is important to our understanding of who Jesus is and how he is the culmination of Gods redeeming work on earth. It is no coincidence that Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples the night before he was betrayed. Again it is no coincidence that Jesus instituted another celebration that is to be celebrated for “generations to come” as he gave his disciples the first communion feast. 

The New Testament
I want to spend a little bit of time talking about parables this week since we have seen so many of them in the book of Matthew and we will see more as we go through the Gospels. In my seminary classes on the New Testament we spent quite a bit of time on parables because of their wonderful content and use for us not only as preachers but also as Christians. Today I would like to share with you some material from an article written by Dr. Erich H. Kiehl who was a professor at Concordia Seminary St. Louis for many years. He wrote an article titled “Why Jesus Spoke in Parables” in which he said:

A parable may be defined as “a story with a puzzling quality which confronts the hearer with the need to make a decision for or against Christ through the Spirits work.” Perhaps the most helpful is the more usual definition: “A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly (spiritual) meaning” with the addition “in the sense that it confronts the hearer with the need to make a decision for or against Christ through the Spirits work.”

An analysis of the content of the Gospels indicates that about one-third of the Gospel accounts are parables. Aside from their theological importance, parables shed much light on life in the New Testament era. Except for the Egyptian papyri, which emphasize life in Egypt, the parables are the best source of information about life in the Near East in the New Testament era. They reflect the innate love of graphic, pictorial speech and the great delight in a story, which is still true of life there today. Jesus’ parables demonstrate everyday experiences and events in the world of nature. 

Since Jesus’ hearers would not listen to him on his terms, that is, the true meaning of the kingdom of God as revealed in Scripture, Jesus then began to speak to them in parables. His hearers had an innate love for graphic stories and pictorial speech. Jesus used this appealing parabolic approach to catch their attention and to seek to get them to ponder the true meaning of what he said. As people wondered and pondered what Jesus was telling them in his parables, the Holy Spirit could work in their hearts, seeking to lead them to the proper Biblical understanding of His message. In time, as the Spirit penetrated the hardness of the heart, hearers could grow in understanding of the true meaning and nature of God’s kingdom and of life in the kingdom. Crucial in this was the Spirit leading them to understand who Jesus truly is in His ministry and teaching as the fulfillment of the prophecies in his person and work, and its decisive implications for their life as members of God’s covenant people.
From The Concordia Journal July 1990 p.248-249.

Dr. Kiehl continues in his article to develop the skills of determining what Jesus actually meant when he told his parables. He warns us not to try to put our own meaning into the parables but to strive to find the true meaning, the one that Jesus meant for us to have. This is no easy task, especially when Jesus does not explain the meaning of the parable. Don’t worry too much if some of this flies over your head. The main point is not to force our own thoughts and insights on the text and miss the true point of the parable. When in doubt, pray, meditate, or ask your pastor if you don’t fully understand.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bethany Bullet - January 21, 2014

Almost a century ago a new subculture sprang to life in the United States.  For the first time in the modern era, youth culture took to the forefront of society. The years of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression had a major impact on society and left a mark on spoken vocabulary particularly slang in America.  Many great phrases sprang out of what is sometime termed The Jazz Age.  I’m sure you have heard phrases like “the bee’s knees” or “the cat’s meow.”  These phrases along with many others moved from the realm of slang to idioms with more common use and understanding among the majority in culture. 

Two phrases from this time have some relevance for us this morning in worship. First, the phrase “That doesn’t hold water.” And second, “You’re all wet!”   

Now both of these phrases have roots in life, not just slang from the 1920s.  Many years ago, when containers for liquid were all hand made the most basic test of reliability was to fill it with water, put the lid on and see if there were leaks.  Just looking at a dry container would not be sufficient proof for being airtight and small holes and imperfections might escape detection with a simple visual inspection.

If a container could pass the test it could then be used to transport more valuable liquids such as olive oil.  So a good container could “hold water” and the tester would not become “all wet.”

To say that someone is “all wet” is derogatory, meaning that they are incorrect, or have a faulty notion about something.  If someone’s argument “does not hold water”, it is faulty or not worth much. 

Later in worship we will remember our baptism as we pass through the waters as a reminder of our own baptism as we come to the table for communion.  The water is here, it is wet, and this container definitely “hold’s water.”  But today we will also remember the baptism of Jesus. 

Matthew records the baptism of Jesus by John and in so doing begins the public ministry of Jesus.  John writes,

 13 Then Jesus appeared. He came from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to stop him and said, “I need to be baptized by you. Why are you coming to me?”
15 Jesus answered him, “This is the way it has to be now. This is the proper way to do everything that God requires of us.”

Then John gave in to him. 16 After Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up from the water. Suddenly, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down as a dove to him. 17 Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love—my Son with whom I am pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)

First of all, before we move on we need to understand that Jesus did not need to be baptized by John.  We also need to understand that John’s baptism was different than the baptisms we do today.

You see, Jesus did not fit the requirements of baptism.  He is the sinless, holy, Son of God, perfect from before creation.  His words could “hold water” although many thought him to be “all wet” as he dined with sinners and tax collectors, as he protected those caught in adultery, as he healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, healed limbs, and raised the dead. 

In reality we are the ones who are “all wet” when it comes to our actions and our words do not “hold water.”

As you look at your life, as you take time for introspection and self examination, you can’t help but come to the conclusion that we are filled with imperfections and holes in our character and you could say that we are “all wet.”

We fail time and time again.  We give in to temptations, we judge our neighbors, we forget our responsibilities, and discharge our duties for our own sake, never looking out for others.

If you are like me, I know there are times you have tried to justify your own actions, tried to convince yourself that you are, for the most part, a good person.  You are certainly not like all those other hooligans and miscreants.  But in the light of Christ, your words “don’t hold water.”

Don’t believe me, look to the words of the Psalmist from Psalm 14:

Godless fools say in their hearts,
    “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt.
    They do disgusting things.
    There is no one who does good things.
The Lord looks down from heaven on Adam’s descendants
    to see if there is anyone who acts wisely,
        if there is anyone who seeks help from God.
Everyone has turned away.
    Together they have become rotten to the core.
        No one, not even one person, does good things.
(Psalm 14:1-3)

We are “all wet” and our words do not “hold water.”

So, the question remains, why was the sinless Son of God baptized?
I think our text alludes to three things:
1.       Proclamation - This is the official introduction of Jesus to the people of Israel.  John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way and fulfill the Scriptures.  A bit earlier in Matthew John says, “I baptize you with water for repentance.  But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry.” (Matthew 3:11)  In the waters of the Jordan a proclamation is given that the Messiah has come.

2.       Identification - As Jesus is baptized he identifies himself with sinful humanity. The sinless one does not separate himself from sinners but becomes one with humanity in his baptism.  Our New Testament Lesson reminds us of our identification with Jesus and unity with him as Paul writes in Romans 6, Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? When we were baptized into his death, we were placed into the tomb with him. As Christ was brought back from death to life by the glorious power of the Father, so we, too, should live a new kind of life. If we’ve become united with him in a death like his, certainly we will also be united with him when we come back to life as he did.” (Romans 6:3-5)

3.       Anticipation - This water baptism of Jesus looked forward to his baptism of suffering that he would endure on the cross in our place.  Luke records these words of Jesus, “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished.”  (Luke 12:50) As Jesus came out of the water of the Jordan, he knew that the cross lie ahead of him.  The sins of the world would be place upon his shoulders and like the scapegoat of Old Testament time, he would be abandoned to the wilderness, literally as Matthew records immediately after his baptism to be tempted, and later he would be abandoned by his disciples and eventually his Heavenly Father as he dies on the cross. 

Our baptism does the same things. 
1.       In the water and by the word God gives you a proclamation that you are His, He claims you as His child, He adopts you into the family and makes you an heir.

2.       Your identification as a child of God unifies you with Jesus and our sin’s die with Christ and we are raised to new life.

3.       We live with great anticipation for what God has provided for us, an eternal place in heaven, in His presence.

Last week if you heard Dr. Lamb preach you heard him say that baptism is like the water of the womb that protects us, but let me take it a step further; Baptism makes you “all wet” all the time and that is a good thing.  Your imperfections and holes in your character or in your life are opportunities to get others wet.  As much as you want to “hold water” those who are in Christ spill that water of life to others in spite of our imperfections and flaws.

Baptism fundamentally changes us, in impacts how we view life, it affects our relationships with one another and in empowers us to be “all wet.”

The world is thirsty for answers and you have been given what is needed, a life that is “all wet,” a message that quenches the spiritual thirst, the good news of Jesus Christ, that is “The Bee’s Knees” and “The Cat’s Meow” for in Christ we have the best news ever!

If you have not been baptized, or have children in your family who have not been brought to the waters and you want to some more information there is a QR code in the bulletin that you can scan with your smart phone to connect you to a short video about Baptism.  The video link is below; I will also post the video on our Facebook page and we will Tweet it out as well.   Feel free to share it with your friends or family and if you would like to schedule a baptism, do not hesitate to contact us.

Please click HERE to watch a video we have put together about Baptism.  
*If you are unable to open the link, please copy/paste this into your browser to watch: http://vimeo.com/58503129.

-Pastor Seth Moorman

Monday, January 20, 2014

The One Year Bible- January 20th

We are almost one month in to our year-long journey in the Bible and this week we will finish up the first book of the Old Testament. This is no small accomplishment. Genesis is a long book, filled with important stories that serve as important pieces to the overall story of the Bible. We will make reference to many of these stories and events as we go along. Each time we reach a milestone in our journey we should celebrate. As well as finishing the book of Genesis we will also finish one month in the word. Give yourself a pat on the back and you should feel good for your accomplishments. I also want to encourage you to keep going. If it is not already, your daily reading will become habit and spending time in God’s Word is one of the best habits you could ever have. On to the study...

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
We will finish up the story of Joseph this week. It has been a longer story than most and there is good reason for it. First of all, this is the back-story for the most important event in Jewish history, the Exodus. The Exodus tells of God’s love and mercy for his chosen people and how he redeemed them from slavery in Egypt. As a New Testament Christian this story foreshadows the story of how Jesus redeemed us from the slavery of sin. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. As we read the Old Testament we see many similarities between it and some stories in the New Testament. I believe that this is one purpose. Theologians call this Biblical Typology.

I found this description of typology in a resource I have entitled “Fellowship With God” written by Rev. Henry F. Fingerlin:“The Bible is an amazing book. But something not too commonly know is that the Bible contains a unique kind of prophecy that no other book contains or could contain, namely, Typology. In Romans 5:14b St. Paul says that “Adam...was a type of the one who was to come.” (That is Adam was a type of Christ). In I Peter 3:21 Peter tells us that Baptism “corresponds” to Noah’s ark in which 8 persons were saved through water. The word translated “corresponds” in the Revised Standard Version is antitype in Greek. There are many such “types” and “antitypes” in the Bible. For example the Passover Lamb and the scapegoat, who bore the sins of the people, are types of Jesus; and the work of the High Priest in making sacrifice for the sins of the people is a type of his saving work. Types, copies, shadows, miniatures, scale model, partial, earthly, temporal, limited, imperfect—these are the people, observances and events of the Old Testament. Fulfillment, spiritual, eternal, perfect, unlimited—these are the realities, the completion, the fulfillment brought into being through Jesus and the New Covenant. This is the way Jesus and the Apostles understood the Old Testament and its fulfillment in the New. Only God who knows the future and also brings it to pass, could so thoroughly detail through prophecy and types all that would transpire through John the Baptist, Jesus, and the beginning of the New Covenant.”

There is much to say about Biblical typology but one thing to remember is that Old Testament Biblical types are always less than the New Testament antitype. As Paul writes in Colossians 2:17, “These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”  How does this relate to the story of Joseph? Some theologians see Joseph as a “type” or Christ. Here are a few examples:
- Joseph is the “beloved” son of his Father(Gen. 37:3)—Jesus is the Father’s “beloved” son (Matt. 3:17
- Though innocent, Joseph is sold for silver (Gen. 37:28)—Jesus is betrayed and sold for silver (Matt. 26:15)
- Joseph finds himself in prison with two other criminals (Gen. 40)—Jesus suffered death (a kind of prison) between two criminals (Luke 23:32-33)
- Joseph foretells death to one prisoner and release and restoration of the other (Gen. 40:9-19—Jesus tells one of the thieves that he will be with him in paradise while the other dies in his sins (Luke 23:42)
- Joseph is freed from prison by a decree of Pharaoh (Gen. 41:37-41)—Jesus is freed from the prison of death by the Fathers decree of Life, Resurrection, for His Son (Acts 2:24)
- Joseph is exalted at Pharaoh’s right hand and given a name that is above all names (Gen. 41)—Jesus is exalted to his fathers right hand and given a name that is above every other name (Phil. 2:9-11, Acts 2:33-36)

There are others that we could talk about but these are the big ones. I will be highlighting some more typology as we go this year. Let me know what you think about typology. Remember you can't always say that something is a “type” of Christ, but if you see something that you may think is let me know and I will do some investigating for you.

The New Testament
We read a few more parables of Jesus as well as read about some miracles including the feeding of the 5,000 and just as amazing, the feeding of the 4,000. One of the most powerful passages we read came in Ch. 16. Peter’s confession of Christ is a powerful witness to the divinity of Jesus and his claim to be the Messiah. After hearing Jesus preach and witnessing his miracles he boldly professes, “You are the Christ (Messiah) the Son of the living God." Either Peter was crazy or he was convinced that this simple man from Nazareth was the promised Messiah.

Bits And Pieces

We will dive into the book of Exodus this week and here are the vital stats:

PURPOSE: The Lord reintroduces Himself to Israel, rescues them from Egypt, and gives them a covenant of laws and sacrifices.
KEY PEOPLE: Moses, Miriam, Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s daughter, Jethro, Aaron, Joshua
KEY PLACES: Egypt, Goshen, Nile River, Midian, Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Mount Sinai
LAW THEMES: Plagues against unrepentant Egypt; God gives the Ten Commandments and requires an oath to fulfill the Law.
GOSPEL THEMES: God remembers and fulfills His promises to the patriarchs; atonement through sacrifice.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Exodus relates more miracles than any other Old Testament book and is noted for containing the Ten Commandments

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bethany Bullet - January 14, 2014

Anyone who has been keeping count, attending, planning or serving at the numerous funerals held recently at Bethany realizes that we have been living with dying recently. 

If you missed Rev. Dr. James Lamb’s sermon: “Living with Dying” you can hear it through our podcasts.  For more information about Lutheran’s for Life check out www.lutheransforlife.org. If you have any questions are would like to further discuss Biblical declarations and practical implications of God as the Author of life, and our lives not being our own please join us for a  ‘Q & A’ session this Wednesday, January 15 in the Parish Lounge at 7:30PM led by Dr. Lamb.

This coming Sunday we recognize the Baptism of our Lord and just as significant our baptisms into Christ. 

Please click HERE to watch a video we have put together about Baptism.  
*If you are unable to open the link, please copy/paste this into your browser to watch: http://vimeo.com/58503129.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, January 13, 2014

The One Year Bible- January 13th

In seminary I took a class called Biblical Theology and Exegesis. Don’t get too impressed. I am convinced that theologians want to sound smart, so they use technical names for most of the classes. For example, other seminary classes I took include Hermeneutics, Homiletics, and Old Testament Isagogics. In regular English that means I took Bible study, preaching, and Old Testament history (I hope I didn’t give away any company secrets). Anyway, part of Biblical Theology and Exegesis is seeing the whole story of the Bible. My textbook gave this definition, “Biblical theology is principally concerned with the overall theological message of the whole Bible. It seeks to understand the various parts in relation to the whole.” This is exactly what I try to do each week with our studies. I guess I didn’t even know that I have been teaching a class in Biblical Theology every week on the internet for over six years. Well, I hope that through these studies you will start to see the whole picture and the overall theme of God’s Word. At the end of the first chapter of my textbook it says, “The Bible is about humankind falling into sin, and God’s determination to put things right. It is about salvation, God’s rescue plan for human beings under judgment. It is about the worship of the one true God and the rejection of the gods that fail.” Lets all try to keep this in mind as we journey in God’s Word together.
Seth’s Thoughts
Old Testament
The opening stories of the Old Testament revolve around what we call the Patriarchs. This includes Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. The first week of the year we sped through many generations as well as many years but this week we have been focusing on one family. This family has some issues. Jacob is encouraged by his mother to pretend to be his brother so that Isaac will give him the family blessing. If this sounds dysfunctional you are right. We will see plenty of dysfunctional behavior in the Old Testament. Remember the Old Testament is setting the stage for the coming of the Messiah, the one that was to save the people. Just wait until we get into the book of Judges and then we will see some real dysfunctional behavior. That PLR (people, land, relationship) promise that we talked about last week comes back (in whole or in part) quite often. We saw it multiple times this week. Each time I read it I put the letters PLR in the margin. I hope you begin to see that this is an important promise. This becomes the foundation for all the other promises that God will make in the Old Testament, including the coming of the Messiah. We read about Jacob and his rather strange relationship with his father-in-law, and then his odd relationship between him and his bickering wives. Once again we see some facets of dysfunctional behavior, but we also see that God will be faithful and keep his promise. The story of Joseph is one of the longest stories in the Old Testament. I will have more to say about this story later. For now be sure to catch all the details and see if they remind you of any other stories in the Bible. Perhaps some of you are familiar with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical called Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This musical is a pretty faithful rendition of the story and if you get confused you may want to rent the movie version. It stars Donny Osmond (don’t let that scare you) and has an appearance by Joan Collins (well…that might scare you).
New Testament
In our readings from this week we find that Jesus still continues to teach, and heal and now he is starting to generate some interest. John’s disciples start to question him about things and we get a deeper glimpse into the ministry of Jesus. Chapter 10 has some interesting things to say about going out and speaking about Jesus, but remember that Jesus was speaking to 12 Jewish men in Israel almost 2000 years ago. It can be dangerous to make a one for one comparison with these teachings and today. One very interesting section in our reading is found in chapter 12:13. Jesus uses some Old Testament stories to bring light to his earthly ministry. He gives us some clues about the end of his earthly ministry as he compares himself to Jonah. This is a fascinating passage for theologians as it sheds light not only on the work of Jesus but also the reason that the book of Jonah is in the Old Testament. For those of you at Bethany, we will be studying the book of Jonah this Lenten season. In that study we will explore this relationship ever further. Jesus also says that he is greater than Solomon. This was a big claim because no one was a wise as Solomon especially in the eyes of a Jewish person. It is also another place that shows the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.
Bits and Pieces
One thing I think I forgot to mention last week. Every time you read the word LORD (in all capitals) in the Old Testament, the translators are saying this is the proper name Yahweh. It is God’s personal name. Remember that Moses is the one writing the first five books and he was the one to whom God revealed that name. So it makes sense that he uses it in his writing.
Another thing I want to point out to you is the use of names. Names are important in the Bible. Like I just said above LORD is translated from Yahweh which means “I Am who I Am”. It sounds rather nebulous to us but how could you try to contain God in a few letters no matter what language it is in. On to my point, we have seen quite a few names, the names of people and places. If you are reading through the NIV or the ESV you will notice that every time we encounter a new name there is a footnote. If you follow those footnotes you will find some more information about the name. For example, when Isaac was born we read in the footnote that Isaac means, “he laughs”. Some of these names have some theological significance. The name Jacob means, “he grasps the heel” which is an idiom for someone who deceives which is just what he does to his brother twice. Later in the story we will get to Joshua. His name means “the LORD saves”. This is the same name that is translated as Jesus in the New Testament. Makes sense doesn’t it. The phrase Jesus Saves is almost redundant. I will try to point out some of these names when they come up but feel free to follow the footnotes to get some more information.
That is about all for now, but one word of encouragement. If you get behind in your reading don’t try to catch up all at once. Just double up your readings each day and soon you will be back on track. The other option is to just let some of the readings go, like water under the bridge and just pick up on the current day. Either way you are still in the Word, and that is a good thing. Have a great week and look for a new post next week!!

Free Hit Counter