Saturday, January 11, 2014

January 19, 2014 - Second Sunday of Epiphany

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for January 19th: Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40:1-11; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42: Theme: The suffering servant makes a difference in our lives – Epiphany – Song: Great is thy faithfulness – UMH 140 Isaiah: The prophet Isaiah is telling us what makes him a prophet. What makes him want to encourage his people during one of the worst times in their lives. He realizes that his life is much bigger than he could ever be. He realizes that none of us are put on this earth just for ourselves. And whatever we do, and whatever attitude we do it in has ripple effects throughout our lives and throughout the world. He says that God called him before he was born to this task, and as he goes through life he can hear the voice of God very clearly. He must give a message of hope. He must help the people of Israel to understand that God chose them to show his glory to the whole world. There is no place for discouragement in this process. “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” John: Last week we had Matthew’s version of Jesus baptism and this week we have John’s. John the gospel writer is not so much into explaining details, but in giving meaning and pointing to the importance of Christ in our lives. When John the baptizer sees Jesus coming, he says here is the land of God, who takes away the sins of the world. There is no question of if Jesus was not a sinner, why was he baptized. This was all done for show – so that others could see God’s intention for Christ and for the world clearly. The disciples were in the audience, so when they say what Jesus did, it was clear that he was the son of God. They not only understood Jesus purpose for the world, they understood their own. He was the messiah, they were called to follow and to obey him. Questions: who in your lifetime has been an example of a suffering servant? How has God been speaking to you all of your life? How have you responded to that calling in your life? What does it mean to you that Jesus was baptized, even though he was not a sinner? How does your baptism help you to follow Christ? How does it help you to understand what it means to be a Christian?

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