Readings for the week of May 27, 2018

People often wonder what heaven will be like. In the first Reading for today, Isaiah 6:1-8, we have a description of what Isaiah saw one day as he was at the temple in Jerusalem. He saw the Lord sitting on His throne. We have a parallel passage to this vision in Revelation 4; I would encourage you to read it also. The appearance of the Lord is beyond human description, but Isaiah and John describe the seraphim, the six winged beings who continually sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord…” What an awesome vision they had! What will heaven be like? Certainly continual praise to the Lord.
In the Great Thanksgiving section of the Communion liturgy we join the seraphim surrounding the throne of God and sing with them, “holy, holy, holy…” And then we receive Holy Communion in which the Lord meets us and gives us Himself in the bread and wine. What will heaven be like? Praise to God and joining in the marriage feast of the Lamb with the Lord. What will heaven be like? We experience part of it as we receive the Lord’s Supper. God is gracious and merciful. Give Him praise! And go out and proclaim Him to others, calling them to life in Him.
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory! Lord, we are humbled that we can join in the on-going hymn of praise to You. Let our praise rise continually before You. Amen.

We are in the stormy time of the year. We have heard of powerful storms in various parts of the world, and in the past we have experienced powerful storms that remind us of how powerless we really are. In today’s psalm, Psalm 29, we have a description of a powerful thunderstorm. Notice how the power of the wind in the storm reminded the people of God of the power of God’s Word. Both the Hebrew word and the Greek word for wind, breath, spirit mean the same thing in each language. As the people see the power of the wind they are reminded of the power of God’s breath, of His Spirit. What is the response of the people as they are again reminded of the power of God’s Spirit? Praise. Let us join them in praise of God.
Notice in verses 10-11 the place of the Lord in relation to the chaos of the storm – God sits enthroned over the chaos, He is in control, and He gives peace. As we face the storms of life, let us be at peace in Him, knowing He brings peace to us in Jesus.
Holy and all-powerful God, as we contemplate Your power we join in proclaiming glory to You. As we face storms in life, continually remind us that You are enthroned above the storms and that You bring peace. Let the peace Jesus gives be our comfort and hope every day. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

The Second Reading for today, Acts 2:14a, 22-36, continues last weeks’ Second Reading. In this Reading the apostle Peter proclaims the resurrection of Jesus. Sinful humanity did what it could to destroy Jesus, but the heavenly Father raised Him up because death could not hold Him. The resurrected Jesus is Lord and Savior, and pours out on people the Holy Spirit, Who leads us to faith in Jesus. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is the Christ. Jesus is the Savior. Thanks be to God! Follow Him each day in worship, devotions, prayer, and service.
Lord God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all thanks and praise to You that even though sinful humanity and the devil tried to destroy You, You have won the victory over sin, death, and the devil in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Let Jesus’ victory be our hope, joy, and peace each day as we take comfort in the resurrection to eternal life through Jesus. Amen.

Today’s Gospel, John 3:1-17, is a reading that falls into two parts; in the first part we have the encounter of Nicodemus, a leader among his people, who came to check Jesus out, to see what Jesus was really all about. Jesus calls Nicodemus, and all people, to rebirth in Jesus, to be born from above. Of course Nicodemus does not fully comprehend what Jesus is saying, but later Nicodemus will help Joseph of Arimathea bury Jesus, a sign that Nicodemus is being changed by Jesus and becoming a follower of Jesus..
As they talk, the conversation transitions to an event in the Old Testament where the people of Israel had rebelled against God and He sent fiery serpents, seraphs, to bite the people (see Numbers 21:4-9). When the people ask Moses to ask God to remove the fiery snakes, Moses is told to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole so that anyone who is bitten can look at the snake and live. Jesus then says that He will be lifted up (on the cross) like the serpent and that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. Like the people wished that God would take away the fiery serpents, so we wish God would take away sin, and one day He will, but in the mean time we look to Jesus to free us from sin, death, and the devil, because “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Let us be people of faith in Christ and live in Him.
Lord God: all thanks and praise to You for loving us so much that You would send Your only Son to die and rise for our forgiveness, life, and salvation. Thank You that in Jesus the condemnation we deserve is turned away and we are saved through Him. In Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

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