Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Easter – 2014

Jesus Is the Subject of the Whole Bible

Everything points to
Jesus!

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.

Some people misinterpret this scripture to say ‘everything in scripture points to Jesus.’

This is one of those statements that teachers tell us to watch out for in tests. Almost never choose the answer that contains absolutes like all, everything, always, and never.

Of course all that is in Holy Scripture is not a direct reference to Jesus. The Old Testament is in fact the history of Israel as it journeyed in and out of its relationship with God. It contains the bravery and failings of men and women.

Scripture shows bravery when these men and women followed God’s commands, not just by doing those things God commanded but by truly living them out every day from their hearts. The prophet Jeremiah declared to Israel: Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart. Hosea declared: For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. God wanted more than circumcision and burnt offerings. He wanted and wants true faith and trust.

Scripture shows the failure of these men and women when they abandoned God’s way and did not trust in His protection. They followed other gods and sold themselves to other kings.

What points to Jesus is God’s call to faithfulness, to true love and belief, to the circumcision of hearts – hearts dedicated to God, and sacrifice that foreshadows the one true everlasting sacrifice of Jesus Christ that redeemed the world.

God’s entire action in the Old Testament, His entire action throughout history and into our lives, is a singular action that shows forth His saving power. God brought His saving action to completion in time with Jesus’ sacrificial suffering and death. That saving action is fully available to us.

Through Christ, God reestablished a right relationship with all things – the perfect harmony of relationship between God and man that existed at the foundation of the world. Jesus showed His followers that scripture is the path and pointer toward His redemption.

What is true is that the gift of faith quickens our hearts and minds to believe, to understand, to worship, and be thankful for the absolute truth of what Good Friday and Easter mean for us.

Reflection for Back to Church Sunday

I am listening.
What should I say?

“The LORD has heard my supplication; the LORD accepts my prayer.”

Did you ever wonder what the Word of God is all about? Scripture, the Bible, whatever term we use, what is its purpose, why should we read it, study it, reflect on it, or even act on it?

For many people, the bible might be something handed down from parents and grandparents, a cherished memento. For some it may have been a gift they received for their first communion, baptism, on their wedding day. Certainly, most people have access to a bible in their home, and even if they do not, it is easily accessed via the Internet, on your iPod or iPad.

It comes in handy. We tend to reach for that bible when an issue or problem confronts us, when we are not well or when someone we love is sick. We look for those words of comfort and guidance.

Some people really focus on scripture and use the bible as their guide for life. It becomes a procedure manual and a guide for everyday living. I need to go to the store – what does the bible have to say? I dropped my groceries, my car is making an odd noise, and my husband or wife isn’t talking to me — what does God have to say on the issue?

That is all well and good and has merit. Anytime someone picks up that bible God’s word goes to work in his or her life, but the Word is not really about us.

If God’s word, His revelation is not a revelation about our lives, what does it reveal?

Scripture is this – it is God’s revelation about Himself, His self-revelation. Everything in scripture points out something about God’s personality, His thoughts, His power, His mercy, His Fatherhood, and His love.

The single most important thread in God’s self-revelation is that He wants to live with us, in relationship with us. This is so important that He sent His only Son Jesus to break down the barrier of sin that separated us from God. He broke down that wall; He wiped away sin and the consequence of sin – death. He offered His life to accomplish this mission.

God wants to be in a relationship with us that much. We are that important to Him. Because of that He is with us every minute, listening to us. So when problems or issues confront us, and we reach for that bible, God opens Himself to us. He says, here I am, for you, for whatever you need, even if it is only comfort. This is who I AM. I am listening to you. Say or ask for anything because you are that important to me.