Twenty-Fifth Day of Easter   11 comments

Jesus (Mosaic at Ravenna, Italy)

Keeping the Words of Jesus

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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Acts 12:24-13:5a (Revised English Bible):

Meanwhile the word of God continued to grow and spread; and Barnabas and Saul, their task fulfilled, returned from Jerusalem, taking John Mark with them.

There were in the church at Antioch certain prophets and teachers:  Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, a close friend of prince Herod, and Saul.  While they were offering worship to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,

Set Barnabas and Saul apart for me, to do the work to which I have called them.

Then, after further fasting and prayer, they laid their hands of them and sent them on their way.

These two, set out on their mission by the Holy Spirit, came down to Seleucia, and from there sailed to Cyprus.  Arriving at Salamis, they declared the word of God in the Jewish synagogues.

Psalm 67 (Revised English Bible):

May God be gracious to us and bless us,

may he cause his face to shine on us,

that your purpose may be known on earth,

your saving health among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all peoples praise you.

Let nations rejoice and shout in triumph;

for you judge the peoples with equity

and guide the nations of the earth.

Let the peoples praise you, God;

let all peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its harvest.

May God, our God, bless us.

God grant us his blessing,

that all the ends of the earth may fear him.

John 12:44-50 (Anchor Bible):

Jesus proclaimed aloud:

Whoever believes in me is actually believing, not in me, but in Him who sent me.  And whoever sees me is seeing him who sent me.  As light have I come into the world so that no one who believes in me need remain in darkness.  And if anyone listens to my words without keeping them, it is not I who condemn him; for I did not come into the world but to save the world.  Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words already has his judge, namely, the word that I have spoken–that is what will condemn on the last day, because it is not on my own that I spoke.  No, the Father who sent me has Himself commanded me what to say and how to speak, and I know that His commandment means eternal life.  So when I speak, I speak just as the Father told me.

The Collect:

Almighty God, you show the light of your truth to those who are in error, to the intent that they may return to the way of righteousness:  Grant to those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to it; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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The most basic command of Jesus is to keep his commandments–to feed his sheep, take up one’s cross and follow him, and to love one another as he loved his disciples.  As one follows the Biblical story of Jesus to its end one encounters the crucifixion.  Jesus’ s love led him to that place.  Then, of course, came his resurrection.  And, in fifteen days, we will observe this ascension.  His work done, Jesus returned home.  But I get ahead of myself.

After a year among the Christian community at Antioch, Barnabas and Saul (Paul) had completed their work.  They might have wanted to remain there, but God had other work for them to engage in elsewhere.  So they went on their way.

Sometimes the work God assigns us requires us to move beyond our comfort zones.  The cross was certainly uncomfortable, to state the case very mildly.  Paul of Tarsus experienced imprisonments, beatings, and a host of other indignities prior to his martyrdom.  Many of us have a call which does not entail such unpleasantness, but our call does require us to leave our comfort zones behind.  As unpleasant as this can be, it opens doors to rich blessings, which are not for us alone.  They are meant for people we know, those we will encounter, and individuals we will never meet.  Through Jesus came new life.  Paul is directly and indirectly responsible for much of the New Testament, including many of its most meaningful and beautiful passages.  What will your legacy be?

KRT

Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on April 2, 2010

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Posted October 29, 2010 by neatnik2009 in 2018, April, Easter, Episcopal Church Lectionary

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