Sunday, Mar 18, 2018: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


Old Testament: 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.”

  • The fifth Sunday was called “Passiontide.”  (The cross was covered up.)

  • Written right before the destruction of Jerusalem in 548 BCE.

  • Theme of hope for God (one of eight).

  • New covenant with both Israel and Judah reunited.

  • May be the old covenant renewed. 




The Response: Psalm (51:1-13)


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.


  • One of the penitential Psalms.
  • Confession and anticipation that God will respond.
  • Written at the time of the exile – anticipation of  a new beginning.




The Epistle: 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.


  • Genesis (14:17-20) Melchizedek – means righteous and king.
  • Not Jewish.  He just appears in the scriptures and then disappears again.
  • Labeled an “eternal priest.”
  • The Order of Melchizedek did not exist.
  • “High” priest at first given to Aaron and his descendants;  later it changed.
  • Varied through the years.  In Herod’s time the position was appointed.
  • Portrays Jesus as the greatest of the the High Priests.
  • He is the source of salvation.




The Gospel: 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.

  • Third of three Passover celebrations.
  • This is how we think Jesus’ ministry may have lasted three years.
  • “Greeks” respected Jewish tradition and practiced the Torah.
  • Jesus’ hour had come — glorification.
  • This was followed by a series of sayings by Jesus.
  • Double meaning of “lifted up”  1) to the cross and 2) glorification.
  • Jesus’ sayings ties in with his coming death.