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29 October, 2019

Righteousness and Wrath Revealed in the Gospel

Solitary man reflecting on sunset
In his epistle to the Romans, Paul introduces himself to Christians residing in that city: “Paul, bond-servant of Jesus Christ, called apostle, separated for the Gospel.” This Gospel was promised in Israel’s scriptures and concerned God’s Son, “who came to be of the seed of David according to flesh, was marked off as the Son of God by power, according to a Spirit of Holiness, by means of a resurrection out from among the dead” (Romans 1:1-4).
Christ’s resurrection from the dead is the irrefutable proof of his messiahship and the validity of his Gospel message for all nations.
The thematic statement of this letter is that the gospel is God’s power “for salvation to everyone who believes,” whether Jew or Gentiles. The message Paul preaches empowers individuals to receive salvation from faith, not on ethnicity or any deeds required by the Torah, the law of Moses (Romans 1:16-17).

The Suffering Son of Man - (Mark 8:31-9:1)

Jesus explained to his disciples what it meant to be the Messiah of Israel when he predicted his suffering and death. Three times in the gospel of Mark, he told them of his imminent arrest and execution (Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:33-34).
The idea of a suffering Messiah was contrary to Jewish expectations. There were different ideas about this figure current at the time of Christ’s ministry; however, no devout Jew expected that Israel’s Messiah and King would suffer death at the hands of the nation’s greatest enemy, Rome.

Jesus Interprets the Father – (John 1:18)

Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount
No man has seen God at any time; the only-born Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he interpreted.”
The Prologue to the gospel of John introduces its key themes: life, light, witness, truth, grace (John 1:1-18). Jesus is the light of the world, the source of grace and truth, the true Tabernacle, and the Son of God and the only one who has seen the Father. It ends by concluding that Jesus, therefore, is the only one who interprets the unseen God.
This conclusion includes a significant contrast:  Jesus interprets the Father, not Moses. The purpose is not to identify Jesus as God or to denigrate Moses, but to present the only-born Son as the one who makes God known (“he is in the bosom of the Father, he declared him”).

28 October, 2019

The Name of Jesus

Jesus Baptized by John
In the gospel of Matthew, an angel announced that the child of Mary would be called “Jesus,” for he would “save his people from their sins.” This declaration linked his name inextricably to the saving act God was about to achieve in him.
(Matthew 1:18-21) - “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins” (NAS).

Shadow or Substance?

Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

The Epistle to the Hebrews develops its exhortation to persevere on the theme of fulfillment; what God has accomplished in His Son, Jesus Christ. God's past incomplete word has been superseded by the complete one "spoken" in His Son.
This letter was likely sent to a congregation with a significant component of Jewish believers; most likely, in or near the City of Rome (Hebrews 13:24-25). The church had experienced persecution and was facing the possibility of renewed persecution (2:15, 10:32-34, 12:4).

Jesus Restores Two Women to Wholeness

Jesus Heals the Paratlytic
The Gospel of Mark presents two separate stories about women in need of healing and cleansing that are “sandwiched” together for emphasis (Mark 5:21-43). The common theme in both stories is that of a woman in need of physical healing and restoration to a state of ritual purity.
Both women were in states of ritual impurity due to their physical condition; one due to a flow of death, the other due to her death. One of the two females initiated her deliverance by touching Jesus; the other received it when Jesus touched her. In both cases, Jesus appears unconcerned about matters of ritual purity as stipulated by the Levitical codes and the later “traditions of the elders.”