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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Upcoming Sunday Scripture Commentary - October 19

October 19 Sermon - "Living Generously: Trust Issues"

Proverbs 18:1-12

In verse 10, the "righteous" refers to God's people.

Our reading from the Book of Proverbs offers an image of God as our strong tower. In the ancient world, a strong tower was a central place located in a particular territory or city where people could go if they felt threatened. It was a defensible place of protection and security.   

Verse 2 - This verse talks about being foolish and only focusing on one's personal opinions. In today's world, it seems like debates are only shouting matches to prove our point. How can we learn to be more concerned with "understanding" rather than in simply "winning an argument?"

Proverbs is considered one of the Wisdom Books in the Bible. What do you think the writer means by the first and second parts of verse 4? Do you think "deep waters" refer to danger and isolation whereas a "gushing stream" refers more positively to abundance and new perspectives?

Verse 7 - This verse shows the difference between trusting in our own wisdom vs. following the wisdom of God.

John 14:23-31a

This passage is part of the "Farewell Discourse" of Jesus in John's Gospel.  Jesus is preparing them for when he would be leaving them to not lose heart even though the "world" will not always receive their message in a positive way.

Verse 27 - When Jesus refers to the "world" in this passage, he is referring to it in a negative and threatening way. Sometimes, the world is used in a more positive way such as John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son..."

Even though the world is seen as negative in this passage, we need to remember that God also loves the world and wants to see it rescued from sin and death.

Verse 27 - By staying faithful to Christ, the disciples were be given the gift of peace as they face the world's adversities.

Verse 30 - Who is the "ruler of this world?" In one sense it refers to the emperor of Rome and in a more general sense, it refers to the world in general that does not embrace God's loving rule.

Verse 31 - Jesus' healings, miracles, and his eventual death and resurrection show the world that he is the true ruler of the world bringing hope and good news.   The implication is that even after Jesus leaves the disciples that they are to continue to be signs of God's kingdom so that the world will take notice and embrace God's healing love and salvation.

[Note: The resources used for these scripture reading commentaries are based on the Everyone series by NT Wright, Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary, The Wesley Study Bible, and the “Montreal-Anglican”lectionary commentaries.]

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