Old Testament: Jeremiah (1:4-10)
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
- Jeremiah spent 40 years as an isolated and derided prophet.
- He spoke at the time when Judah was about to be destroyed.
- Babylonians were the world power at that time.
- Jeremiah never wanted to be a prophet.
- He makes many excuses not to be a prophet.
- “Do not be afraid” and “I will be with you” are two of the most common expressions in the Bible.
The Response: Psalm (71:1-6)
1 In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; *
let me never be ashamed.
2 In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; *
incline your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; *
you are my crag and my stronghold.
4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, *
from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.
5 For you are my hope, O Lord God, *
my confidence since I was young.
6 I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;
from my mother’s womb you have been my strength; *
my praise shall be always of you.
- These verses are similar in context to those found in Psalms 22 and 31.
- They alternate with a petition of help and a response of confidence in God.
- Prophets were those who tried to make sense of what was going on in their own times.
- They were not trying to predict long term future events.
The Epistle: Hebrews (12:18-29)
You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. (For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”) But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for indeed our God is a consuming fire.
- These verses contrast the old covenant with the new covenant (i.e. new Jerusalem).
- The old is a fearful God the the new is a loving God.
- The author interprets Exodus (19:12-13) as fearful, but that is not necessarily so.
- Other look at it as being reassuring words from God.
- Heavenly Jerusalem was “enrolled” similar to the Greek method of enrolling for citizenship.
- Haggai (3:6-7) also notes the heaven and earth – seen as an image of the coming of the Lord.
The Gospel: Luke (13:10-17)
Now [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.
- This story is only found in Luke as part of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem.
- This is his last reference to Jesus teaching in the synagogue.
- The woman does not ask to be healed.
- The healing is similar to that found in John’s gospel.
- “God has set you free” is the meaning of the phrase since it was written in the past tense.
- Jesus did not violate Jewish law.
- Jesus uses the “greater than” argument.