Sunday, Dec 28, 2008: “Today’s Scripture Readings”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
Today’s Scripture Readings
A Study Led By Rev. Michael Kreutzer
Sunday, December 28, 2008


Isaiah (61:10-62:3)


I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

> The identity of the servant is purposely left vague.

> The suffering servant is being glorified.

> Hopeful passage focusing on the universality of God.

> This passage is often used at Christmas.


Galatians (3:23-25; 4:4-7)


Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

> Relationship of law and faith.

> No longer slaves to God, but children — “Abba” means “Daddy.”

> Church architecture over the ages has portrayed God differently:  vaulted ceilings during the Middle Ages is an example.

> God is moving farther away — must go through priest, then Mary, then Jesus to get to God.

> One must read and understand the entire scripture for the “big picture.”


John (1:1-18)


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

> Often read at the end of Eucharist service.

> There were multiple edits of John’s Gospel.

> Jesus is always central.  The image of Jesus in John is the one most associated with 20th century Christian churches.

> Author Raymond Brown associates the Gospel of John to be written in a fashion similar to Sherlock Holmes stories.  Jesus knows everything, the disciples seem to not have a clue, and the reader is made aware of more than the disciples know.

> “In the beginning…” parallels Genesis and the concept of creation.

> The theme of light and darkness is used extensively.  At Judas’ betrayal it was noted “And it was night!”  However, the ultimate darkness could not stop the light of Jesus.

> Emphasized many times John the Baptist was the precursor to Jesus.

> No one has ever seen God, but only through the Son — disciples “didn’t get it!”

> John is the only Gospel that refers to Jesus having a three-year ministry.

> John’s Gospel is referred to as “High Christology.”