Living the Lectionary – 3rd Week after Epiphany

Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship. 

ABOUT THIS SEASON AND SERIES: EPIPHANY – “CHRISTOLOGY”

The season of the Sundays after the Epiphany are sometimes called “Ordinary Time”. This is not because they are without special meaning, but rather, that they are numbered depending upon the date for Easter. It is in this season that we begin already to look forward to Easter by considering who Christ is and what He came to earth in order to accomplish in our series “Christology”. 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

ABOUT THE WEEK STARTING JANUARY 24TH: THE 3RD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s law, which means that the law is made beautiful to us again in Him because now the Law doesn’t stand between us and a connection with God, but in Jesus, the Fulfillment, we are connected. Law: Without Jesus, the Law to us is just a requirement that we cannot fill, something that stands between us and God. Gospel: Jesus fulfills the Law, and in so doing, rescues us from having the law being a requirement that impedes our connection with God. In fact, Jesus makes the Law a way for us to once again respond to God’s love.

REFLECTING ON THE READINGS

(readings are linked to text on ESVbible.com)

Nehemiah 8:1-10– Tears and Joy – After 70 years of exile in the foreign land of Babylon, the Hebrew people find a copy of the Torah, the Hebrew Bible. They ask Ezra, the priest to read this lost book and begin to weep as they hear and understand the content. What in the Scriptures cause you to weep? What causes you to celebrate?

Psalm 19– The Law and the Sun – Psalm 19 plays with a comparison of the creation of light and the revelation of the Law of God, causing the reader to see these things as similar in their glory and illuminating power. Consider what things are properties of the sun and what things are properties of God’s wisdom revealed in Scripture. How might you make similar metaphors and illustrations?

I Corinthians 12:12-30 – Mini-Series- The Body, Part II – We continue in the mini-series of the epistle readings for the Sundays after Epiphany. This year, these readings come from 1 Corinthians 12 and 13. Today’s reading calls on us to consider how we are a part of the whole Body of Christ, the Church. What does this reading cause you to think about when you think of your role at your local church or the universal Church?

Luke 4:16-30– When the Law comes to town – Jesus makes some stark statements in this passage, including that He is the fulfillment of prophecies and that Gentiles will be saved while some of God’s chosen people will reject God’s salvation. When the Law and its fulfillment come to town, surprises are waiting around every corner. What of Jesus and the Law might be surprising to some of the people around you? How might you deftly explain these surprises?

LIVING THE LECTIONARY IDEAS

Character: Obedience. It is not a word that we cherish, especially in Western culture. Nevertheless, obedience is a character trait that is worth our attention, especially if it is obedience to the Law of God. How might you form this character of obedience?

Discipline: Last week, we considered the discipline of stopping on the Sabbath to relish the relationships that God has given to us. This week, we consider another Sabbath discipline, that of paying attention to God’s Law, and Scripture in general. How might you use your Sabbath to go deeper into the Scriptures?

Knowledge: In Lutheran theology, Law is always set together with the Gospel. This dichotomy of Law and Gospel is especially outlined by C.F.W. Walther in a system of theses called “Law and Gospel”. You may read it here (click link).

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