Sunday, March 22, 2015: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of Jeremiah (31:31-34)


“The days are surely coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband,” says the Lord. “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” says the Lord; “for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.”


> This Sunday used to be called Passion Sunday (cover up statues, etc.)

> Now Passion Sunday is next week (Palm Sunday).

> The writing of these verses took place after the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem.

> The people were in exile.

> The new covenant outlined here is unique in the Old Testament.

> It uses the motif of divorce between God and his people.

> Israel is now a “house” and not a country any longer.

> The reference to heart is also found in Deuteronomy — Love the Lord with all your heart.



Psalm 51:1-13

(refrain sung by  soloist and repeated by all)


 “Create a clean heart,

a clean heart in me, O God”.


1  Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; *

   in your great compassion blot out my offenses.

2  Wash me through and through from my  wickedness *

    and cleanse me from my sin.


3  For I know my transgressions, *

    and my sin is ever before me.

4  Against you only have I sinned *

    and done what is evil in your sight.

5  And so you are justified when you speak *

    and upright in your judgment.

6  Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, *

    a sinner from my mother’s womb.

7  For behold, you look for truth deep within me, *

    and will make me understand wisdom secretly.


8  Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; *

    wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

9  Make me hear of joy and gladness, *

    that the body you have broken may rejoice.

10 Hide your face from my sins *

     and blot out all my iniquities.


11 Create in me a clean heart, O God, *

     and renew a right spirit within me.

12 Cast me not away from your presence *

     and take not your holy Spirit from me.

13 Give me the joy of your saving help again *

     and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.



> The verses have a clean heart theme — “Write it on their hearts.”

> The first ten verses are an extended confession.

> The last three verses take on a more positive side with six petitions.

> They also refer to a new beginning.

> Verses 18-19 were from a later edition.



A Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews (5:5-10)


Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.


> Verses 1-4 describe the role of the high priest.

> The verses shown above then compare Jesus to a “typical” high priest.

> Psalm (110:4) also has a reference to Melchizedek — the eternal high priest.

> Jesus is also compared to him and being in his likeness.

> Jesus was the source of salvation and not just the mediator of salvation.

> These verses are not like the “genuine” Paul writings.



The Holy Gospel of Our  Lord Jesus Christ according to John (12:20-33)


Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.


> The “hour” for Jesus was the key moment.

> The events take place from Good Friday through Easter evening.

> John’s Gospel is the only one where Jesus returns to Jerusalem three times, the other Gospels only mention that Jesus is in Jerusalem a single time.

> This implies that Jesus has a three year ministry and not one year according to John.

> The “Greeks” are most likely the Gentiles of multiple nationalities.

> The Greeks come to Andrew and Philip to see (be with) Jesus.

> The rest of John will be about Jesus’ “hour.”

> The thunder may be implied as an echo of God (cannot see him directly).

> Lifting up refers both lifting to the cross and lifting Jesus to glory.