Scriptures for the week of March 22nd – Numbers 21:4-9, Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:14-21
Ephesians First generation Christians lived with the belief that Jesus was going to return at any moment. When that did not happen, second generation Christians had to change their thinking a bit. Even though Ephesians was written in the name of Paul, it was most likely written by a student of Paul to address this new audience and these new expectations. They had to take the direction of their lives more seriously. The writer says that we are saved by God’s gift of grace, but the gift is not complete yet. There is still work for and for God. Experiencing life as suffering, can be interpreted as life away from God.
This Gospel is written at the same time that Ephesians was written. John felt the need to write about the messiah of faith, not the messiah of tradition. In John, Jesus encounters conflict with the Jewish authorities very early in his ministry. And they remain very hostile to him until the day of his death. Jesus not only predicts his death, he also predicts the importance of the cross – saying that the Son of Man must be lifted up. The cross forces all people to ask a question – how to I focus my life on the things of above? How to I realize God’s intention for me? Why is God so intent on saving us, when we are so intent on sinning?
Questions In Ephesians, The writer says we are saved from something for something – what are you saved from? What are you saved for? What dark parts of your life need the light and love for of God’s love and presence? What does God’s grace mean for you? How do we gain spiritual vision on order to see the things of God? What does it mean to be born from above?