A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lectionary Bible Commentary for January 20

Sermon (January 20) – “A Marriage Made in Heaven”

Isaiah 62:1-5

-       Persia has conquered Babylon and has permitted the people of Israel to return to a small parcel of land round Jerusalem. The land is ravished, and after initial elation, the people feel that God has ceased to care for them.
-       Isaiah was writing after the people of Judah had been living in exile (6th century BC.)
-       Isaiah offers a vision of Zion (another name for God’s people & Jerusalem) that they will once again be a crown of beauty.
-       Verse 4 – Your land shall be married (Hebrew – Beulah.) This is where we get the phrase, “Beulah-land.”
-       Zion is pictured as a bride. This image of Israel as a bride and God as the bridegroom is a metaphor that we find throughout the scriptures.

John 2:1-11

-       Jesus’ first of seven “signs” (miracles) in the Gospel of John. The others are healing a royal official’s son, healing a paralytic, feeding the 5,000, Jesus walking on water, healing the blind man, & raising Lazarus from the dead.
-       The “signs” of Jesus are times when heaven breaks through into our time and space. Where do you see those “breakthroughs” in your everyday living?  The Temple was seen as heaven and earth connecting.  And of course, John tells us that the Word became flesh (heaven and earth touching.)
-       This shows God’s overflowing and gracious love through Christ’s action of turning water into wine.  The scriptures often depict salvation as a feast like the wedding feast in this story. (See Rev. 21:2)
-       We only meet the mother of Jesus twice in the Gospel of John – here and at the foot of the cross in chapter 19.  When Jesus died on the cross, heaven and earth met as God’s glory overcame that terrible event.
-       Running out of wine was seen as a social disgrace.  Mary says “do whatever he tells you.” Jesus brings transformation to us like he transformed water into wine.  What areas of your life need God’s transformation?
      -     What do you think John means by this all took place on “the third day?”

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