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Grace Dwells in the Word

Sunday, May 2, 2021                                      Fifth Sunday of Easter
 
Prayer for receiving the Word:  Lord and Savior, open now your saving word. Let it burn like fire within us. Speak until our hearts are stirred.  Lord, we thank you for the good news that you bring.  Amen.
 
Gospel:  (Scripture was written to be heard. Please, give it a voice. Read it aloud.)
John 15:1–8.
 
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.  2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.  3You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you.  4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.  5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.  6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
 
  • What does the passage have to say about God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)? 
  • What does the passage have to say about who I am?
  • What word does the passage speak about how we live in community together?
  • What does God want me to do?
 
Jakob’s Notes: (see The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. IX, page 552; John by Gail R. O’Day) The vine imagery in John 15:1-17 is used throughout the Old Testament.  See:  Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15:1-8; 17:7-8; 19:10-14; Hosea 10:1;Psalm 80:8-19.  Also, in the other Gospels:  Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 10:9-16.  Jesus redefines the symbol of the vine according to his relationship with God and with the community of his followers.  The vine reveals the interrelationship between God, Jesus and his followers. Gardener + vine + branches = fruit. God + Jesus + community = fruit.  “Bearing fruit” is common OT speak for the community’s faithfulness. When “bearing fruit” is read in light of the new commandment John13:34 and John 14:1-31 it refers to the act of love.  “Kathairo” is translated both as “to prune” and “to cleanse.” See 13:10. Verse 1 the real vine, true vine, is redefined as Jesus. Verse 3 recalls the foot washing in John13 and the relationship of the washed with Jesus (13:14-15)..  Verse 4-7, abide, menos, speaks of remaining, continuing to be present, presence, enduring. Verse 7 echoes the promises of 14:13-14 and Verse 8 reaffirms the claim of 14:12-14. (the passage continues next week. See notes below)
 
 
 
 
 
 

Grace Dwells in the Word

Sunday, May 9, 2021                                                  Sixth Sunday of Easter
 
Prayer for receiving the Word:  Lord and Savior, open now your saving word. Let it burn like fire within us. Speak until our hearts are stirred.  Lord, we thank you for the good news that you bring.  Amen.
 
Gospel:  (Scripture was written to be heard. Please, give it a voice. Read it aloud.) John 15:9–17
9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.  10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.  11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
             12This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.  14You are my friends if you do what I command you.  15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.  16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.  17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
 
  • What does the passage have to say about God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)? 
  • What does the passage say about who I am?
  • What word does the passage speak about how we live in community together?
  • What does God want me to do?
 
Jakob’s Notes: (see The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. IX, page 552; John by Gail R. O’Day)  This passage is a continuation of the unit begun last week, John 15:1-17.
(See notes above.)  Verses 9-10 make connections between John 14 and 15; the ground of the community’s abiding with Jesus is the love that God and Jesus share with each other and the community is called to enact. (see John 14:20-24, 31) The unity and mutuality that love makes possible symbolized by the unity of vine and branches leads to full joy.
Verse 12 is a restatement of the new commandment (John 13:34).  Verse 13 explicitly states what it means to love as Jesus loves.  The word translated here as “friend” (philos) is from the verb “to love” (phileo). Here Jesus is defines friends as “those who are loved.”  Our use of the noun “friend” does not fully convey the meaning that Jesus has for the word. Jesus defines his friends and his relationship with his disciples (including the readers) in verses 14-16.  Jesus reminds the disciples that their place with him is the result of his doing not theirs and is ultimately a result of God’s grace. The disciples are then commissioned to go and love (bear fruit), attesting to the abiding presence of and union with God + Jesus. Jesus promises the disciples that they can pray with the same confidence with which he prays. 
 
 
 
 

Grace Dwells in the Word

Sunday, May 16, 2021                                                            Seventh Sunday of Easter
 
Prayer for receiving the Word:  Lord and Savior, open now your saving word. Let it burn like fire within us. Speak until our hearts are stirred.  Lord, we thank you for the good news that you bring.  Amen.
 
Gospel:  (Scripture was written to be heard. Please, give it a voice. Read it aloud.)
John 17:6–19
6I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you;  8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.  9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours.  10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.  11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.  12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled.  13But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.  14I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.  15I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.  16They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.  17Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.  18As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.
 
  • What does the passage have to say about God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)? 
  • What does the passage say about who I am?
  • What word does the passage speak about how we live in community together?
  • What does God want me to do?
 
Jakob’s Notes: (see The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. IX, page 552; John by Gail R. O’Day) This passage is part of what is traditionally titled “Jesus’ high priestly prayer,” John 17:1-26. The prayer is recorded between Jesus’ farewell words to his disciples and John’s Passion Story (John 18:1-19:42).  Verse 6 might better be translated “I have made you known,” as Jesus is speaking not of a name (YHWH, I AM, Father) but about the character and identity of God.  See, also, how verse 6 refers back to John’s prologue (1:18). Verses 6-8 speak about God’s giving, Jesus’ relationship to God and the community’s response.  The intercessions throughout the remainder of the passage depict the full life of the community of faith after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.  In verse (v.) 9 it is important to remember that John defines “world” as those who do not know God (see 15:21, 24; 16:3).  Jesus is not using the word here as a synonym for earth or creation.  V.10 - For Jesus to be glorified in the community mean that the identity of Jesus is made visible in them (see 13:34-35). Vv. 11-16 Jesus is returning to God and this defines the future of the community.  The focus of Jesus’ request is that God protect the community. Jesus has been protecting the community and the community does not belong to the hostile world. Much of the language in v.12 echoes the shepherd language in John 10. Note the betrayal does not void Jesus’ protection, but fulfills God’s plan (13:2, 29, 27 and 2Thessalonians 2:3). Vv.17-19 Jesus prays for God’s authorization of the community’s work.  “Sanctify” is “to make holy,” “to set apart for God’s work in the world.” Truth of God revealed in the life and ministry of Jesus, the Word (1:1-2, 14; 8:32; 14:6; 16:13.) To be sanctified is to be sent (14:12, 17:20-23; 20:21.) v.19 - Jesus self-sanctification is consistent with John’s depiction of Jesus in full control of his life and death (10:17-18).  In John, Jesus never speaks of his death as a separate act it is always his life, death, resurrection and ascension. This is the complete revelation of God. 

Grace Dwells in the Word

Sunday, May 23,2021                                                             Pentecost
 
Prayer for receiving the Word:  Lord and Savior, open now your saving word. Let it burn like fire within us. Speak until our hearts are stirred.  Lord, we thank you for the good news that you bring.  Amen.
Gospel:  (Scripture was written to be heard. Please, give it a voice. Read it aloud.)
John 15:26–27; 16:4b–15
26When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.  27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
4b
                "I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.  5But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'  6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts.  7Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.  8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:  9about sin, because they do not believe in me;  10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer;  11about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
                 12I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his  own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.  15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
 
  • What does the passage have to say about God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)? 
  • What is does the  passage say about who I am?
  • What word does the passage speak about how we live in community together?
  • What does God want me to do?

 

Jakob’s Notes: (see The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. IX, page 552; John by Gail R. O’Day) 15:26-27 is Jesus’ third promise to send the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.  God is the source of the Spirit’s presence with and mission to the believing community. The Spirit’s function is to testify (see 14:1-11, 17).  The community’s witness is the visible sign of the Spirit’s work as witness and continuity between the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of the church.  16:4b-7a is the fourth promise of the sending of the Spirit.  Jesus’ glorification (death, resurrection, and ascension) is the complete revelation of God (17:1-5).  This requires Jesus’ departure.  The Spirit’s ministry is to make Jesus and his work present and available for the community in Jesus’ absence (see 3:19, 8:26, 9:39, 12:47-48). Vs. 9 World’s sin is not to believe in Jesus, the incarnate Logos of God.  Vs. 10 “the rightness of God” is that in death Jesus goes to God and completes his work (17:25).  Vs. 11 In Jesus’ glorification the embodiment of all that is opposed to God is defeated and God is victorious.  16:12-15 is the fifth promise.  The Spirit will proclaim the teachings of Jesus to the community in the new and changing circumstances of their lives.  Jesus’ words and actions glorified God, made visible the identity of God (1:14, 18; 17:4-6).  The Paraclete’s proclamation will do the same for Jesus.


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