01.11.21 – 01.17.21

Readings

1 Samuel 3:1-20

Psalm 139:1-18 

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 

John 1:43-51

Context

1 Samuel 3:1-20

Hannah prayed for a son, and as her prayers intensified, she promised God that, if he gave her a son, she would give him back to God.  She kept her promise and once the child was old enough she sent him to live with Eli the priests in the temple. The son, named Samuel, was very young when he was repeatedly awoken by a voice while attempting to sleep.  Eventually, with the help of the Eli the priest, Samuel recognizes that the voice is God and that God is actually calling Samuel to follow.  Right off the bat, Samuel is given the a monumental and frightening task, to fire Eli the priest.  Samuel’s response to God is ‘Here I am.’ What a way for this ‘up and coming’ prophet to begin his career, what a calling he received from God at such a young age, and, what a way to meet God.

Psalm 139:1-18 

To consider this Psalm, split it up into 4 distinct stanzas.  Verses 1-6 are the first stanza in which we see that God truly and fully ‘knows’ us, it is poetic and beautiful.  This we go to the 2nd stanza, verses 7-13, in which we begin to fathom the depths of what ‘being known’ by God fully means – he is always there, there is nothing about us that can remained hidden.  It can become a bit claustrophobic and intrusive. The 3rd stanza brings us back to a better understanding, we begin to see that being known by God is not a curse but it is a revelation of God and our relationship with him.  God knows us because he formed us, we weaved us together, we attempt to grasp the enormity of this reality and find that it is impossible and, at the same time, it is a full description of God’s Love.  Then, if we add in the verses 19-24 (which is not in our assigned reading) the whole thing takes an odd turn to the dark side – it takes a realistic turn as we recognizes and loves us even with the revelation of our own dark sides. This final stanza, the 4th stanza, is a unique challenge to each of us, what is God seeing, or more appropriately, what is God showing to us about us?

1 Corinthians 6:12-20 

Paul, as he speaks to the church at Colossi, is confronting some selfish threads of thought.  ‘”All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.’ Paul is pointing out to the believers that there is a greater good for our bodies to present Christ to the world.  Sure, we have been forgiven but is that forgiveness really all about us, does it mean I can do, and I can abuse, others in my own freedom – how does that reflect Jesus to the world. We live in  a world where people are discriminated against because of their color, where young ladies are treated as slaves because of their gender, where our agendas take priority over the preciousness of other human beings created by God.  Paul’s challenge to the church is to redirect from a selfish, it is all about me, mindset to a “Jesus’ mindset that does not place my rights above the freedom and respect of others.

John 1:35-51

Jesus grew up in a time when a young man would begin his religious education at an early age.  At five years old he would begin the training which would involve learning Torah, learning the Law.  Memorization of the holy texts as well as understanding of Rabbinical interpretations would all be added to the process as the young man was capable of comprehension. Along the way, it would be determined by the teachers and parents if continued religious education was appropriate for the male, or if he was better suited to begin learning a trade. If, by the age of 16 or seventeen, there was still a propensity to be a qualification to be a religious leader, such as a rabbi, the young man would begin investigating the rabbis that would be a good fit to teach and train him  – this training would usually last from the ages of 17 to young twenties.  This selection of a Rabbi was very essential because different Rabbis had different interpretations, reputations, and leanings that the student would need to be in agreement with.  Ultimately, upon finding the right Rabbi, the young man would petition the Rabbi to accept him as a disciple.  

Jesus broke the disciple choosing protocol however, he sought out his disciples, he pursued and invited these young men to be trained under his tutelage.  He was looking for young men who were not just looking for religious training that would advance their vocations as religious teachers, but, he was searching for those who were looking, not just for truth, but were also looking for the Messiah. Jesus’ hunt was very specific because the disciples he would invest him would be the given the task of changing the world.

This week, our gospel reading takes a temporary detour.  As I pointed out last week, this year we will spend the majority of our time through lent and Easter in the book of Mark, but this week we are looking at the book of John.  It is here that we see Jesus call to ‘follow me’ and the prompting of those following to call out to others with the challenge to ‘come and see.’  It may be helpful as you read this small passage to go back and read the preceding verses about John the Baptizer, and how he points to Jesus – then look at the basic experiences of the new disciples of Jesus’ after they make the decision to follow him.  Possibly take an overview look through chapter 6 and imagine the opening journey of these followers and the challenges revelations they encounter right away.

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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