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, November 19, 2014

Upcoming Sunday Scripture Commentary - November 23

Sermon (November 23) - "The Thanksgiving Challenge"

Deuteronomy 8:7-18

This book begins: “These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond Jordan ... In the land of Moab, Moses undertook to expound this law [or instruction] as follows ...” The word translated law is torah, what Jews call the first five books of the Bible. Today’s reading is part of that instruction, given as the people of Israel prepared to cross the Jordan into Canaan.

vv. 7-10 - The fertility of the Promised Land is described in contrast to the barrenness of the wilderness.
vv. 11-20 - The plenty of the land poses the threat that Israel will forget the Lord and exalt itself.
vv. 17-19 - Israel should not think that it's because of them that they are blessed by the richness of the Promised Land.

This scripture wants us to remember that the Lord has given us our blessings. In what ways can we remember that our gifts are from God?

Luke 17:11-19

Jesus is on his final journey – from Galilee to Jerusalem. He encounters “ten lepers," people who were considered unclean and who had a disease believed to be infectious by touch.

Luke, the gospel writer loves to share how Jesus included "outsiders" to be part of God's kingdom. This story reminds us the Good Samaritan story that emphasizes it's sometimes the "outsider" who shows the greatest faith.

The leper who said thank you to Jesus reminds us that we are called to be grateful. The word, "Judah" which refers to the people of God literally means "praise."

v. 19 - The phrase "get up" refers to the word, "resurrection." In the prodigal son story, the son who was once dead was made alive. Likewise, this Samaritan was made alive and knew it which is why he took the time to thank Jesus.

This is a story about someone receiving healing, new life, and salvation through Jesus. In what ways have you experienced new life through Jesus? In what ways do you say, "thank you?"


[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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