Sunday, April 28, 2013: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (11:1-18)


Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”


> In Chapter 10 Peter and Cornelius have a vision together.   The Romans there experience the Spirit of God.  Non-Jewish believers are baptized and receive the Eucharist.  The Jews are angry at Peter for opening up Christianity to non-Jews.

> The disciples want an explanation.

> Peter tells the story and how it happened three times so he knows for sure.

> Six brothers who were Jewish were also witnesses.

> “Remembering” is a powerful insight in the Bible.

> If God gave repentance to the Gentiles, then it must be good.



Psalm 148

1  Hallelujah!

    Praise the Lord from the heavens; *

    praise him in the heights.

2  Praise him, all you angels of his; *

    praise him, all his host.

3  Praise him, sun and moon; *

     praise him, all you shining stars.

4   Praise him, heaven of heavens, *

     and you waters above the heavens.

5   Let them praise the Name of the Lord; *

     for he commanded, and they were created.

6   He made them stand fast for ever and ever; *

     he gave them a law which shall not pass away.

7   Praise the Lord from the earth, *

     you sea-monsters and all deeps;

8   Fire and hail, snow and fog, *

     tempestuous wind, doing his will;

9   Mountains and all hills, *

      fruit trees and all cedars;

10  Wild beasts and all cattle, *

      creeping things and winged birds;

11  Kings of the earth and all peoples, *

      princes and all rulers of the world;

12  Young men and maidens, *

      old and young together.

13  Let them praise the Name of the Lord, *

      for his Name only is exalted,

      his splendor is over earth and heaven.

14  He has raised up strength for his people

       and praise for all his loyal servants, *

      the children of Israel, a people who are near him. Hallelujah!


> 146-150 are the “Hallelujah” Psalms.

>  Verses 1-4 summon to praise.

> Praise God because he brought us into being.

> Praise for heaven and earth.

> Verses 5a and 13a are identical verses – parallel sections.



A Reading from the Book of Revelation (21:1-6)


I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.


> Taken from the new parts of Isaiah.

> The common image of a “new city” is used elsewhere in the Bible.

> Ezekiel 37:27 – “The home of God among mortals.”

> Renewal of our world.

> Alpha and Omega are noted in other parts of the Bible.

> Scene at the end of all things — the final of the final. 



The Holy Gospel of Our  Lord Jesus Christ according to John (13:31-35)


[At the last supper, when Judas had gone out,] Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


> Glorification of Jesus comes from death / resurrection / and return to the Father.

> “Little children” – term of affection for believers.

> The Jews also believed in loving one another.

> Central characteristic of the new Christian community.