Sunday, Feb 3, 2019: Scripture Readings – Epiphany-4

Old Testament: Jeremiah (1:4-10)

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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.”

 

The Final Years of the Monarchy in Judah

 

663   Assyria invades Egypt; sack of Thebes

 

640 – 609 Josiah, king in Judah

(629  beginning of reform)

(622  peak of reform: finding of the Book of the Law)

 

626   Neo-Babylonian Empire; Nabopolassar (626-605)

 

612  Fall of Nineveh

 

609   Assyria destroyed; Josiah killed in battle at Megiddo by Neco II (610-594)
(Jehoahaz, Josiah’s son, deposed by Neco II)

(Eliakim, Jehoahaz’ brother, made king and renamed “Jehoiakim” by Neco II;
Jehoiakim as king from 609-598)

 

605 battle of Carchemish (Nebuchadnezzar, Nabopolassar’s son, defeats Neco II of Egypt;
when Nabopolassar dies, Nebuchadnezzar becomes king of Babylon)

 

601  Nebuchadnezzar moves against Egypt, but is unable to gain a decisive victory;

Jehoiakim rebels

 

598  Babylon moves against Judah (December); Jehoiakim assassinated; his son, Jehoiachin,

becomes king

 

597  Jerusalem surrenders to Babylon; Jehoiachin deposed and led into exile (March); his uncle,
Mattaniah, is made king by the Babylonians who change his name to Zedekiah

 

589 Judah rebels again

 

January, 588  Jerusalem under siege

Summer, 588  Babylon withdraws temporarily to meet an attacking Egyptian force;

siege resumed

 

July, 587 Jerusalem destroyed; Temple burned; Exile

 

  • Jeremiah is a great reformer.
  • Jeremiah lived from 622-587 BCE during the most traumatic times in Jerusalem.
  • He had a two-fold ministry:  prophet to the nation and also to the broader context.
  • Baruch was Jeremiah’s secretary.

 

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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.

 

  • Used on Tuesday of Holy Week.
  • Calls for God’s help and also for refuge.
  • God’s help is also affirmed in these passages.
  • Coincides with the “mother’s womb” in Jeremiah’s passage.

 

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The Epistle: Corinthians (13:1-13)

 

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

 

  • Most commonly used at wedding ceremonies.
  • Refers to a very practical love which is better represented by the translation “faithfulness.”
  • Employs the “if – then” pattern.
  • The comparisons are mentioned with increasing intensity.
  • Compares what love should be with what is actually happening in Corinth.
  • Love is the only thing that will endure.

 

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The Gospel: Luke (4:14-21)

 

Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.  When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

 
  • Continuation from last week’s readings about the public ministry of Jesus.
  • It discusses Jesus’ work in Capernaum.
  • There were many non-Jews in Capernaum, especially among fishermen.
  • The people in Nazareth thought they should come first in Jesus’ thinking.
  • Jesus quotes Elijah and Elisha and how they did great things for non-Jews.
  • There were no cliffs in Nazareth!
  • Just like God’s salvation, Jesus’ ministry is universal.
  • This sets the stage for the rest of Jesus’ ministry.

 

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