Readings for Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019

The First Reading, Jeremiah 1:4-10 (17-19) is the Lord’s call of the prophet Jeremiah. At first Jeremiah protests his call, citing his youth and inability to speak, but the Lord assures him that the Lord will give him His words and His strength to speak. At the end of the reading Jeremiah is told to be strong even in the face of opposition to the Lord’s message. As the book unfolds we see that Jeremiah did meet a great deal of opposition to the Lord’s message, but that Jeremiah stood strong in the Lord. May we do the same in a world that is increasingly hostile to the Word of God.
Lord God, we thank You for calling Jeremiah to be Your prophet, and we praise You that You gave Him Your words and Your boldness and strength to speak, even in the face of opposition to You. Open us up to Your words that we would hear, and empower us with Your Spirit that we would speak Your words, especially Your words of new life in Jesus, to all the world. Keep us firm in faith and proclamation. In the Name of Jesus, the only Lord and Savior, we pray. Amen.

Today’s psalm is Psalm 71:1-6 (7-11). Notice how the psalmist is facing opposition and danger, especially in his old age. But also notice that the psalmist continually turns to the Lord for protection, trusting in God’s faithfulness. This psalm ties in well with Jeremiah’s trust in the Lord, and is a good reminder to us to trust in the Lord in the face of opposition.
Lord, like the psalmist, and like Jeremiah, there are those who oppose Your Word and turn against Your people. Keep us firm in Jesus, knowing that we are safe in Your hands through Him, and that nothing can separate us from Your love in Christ Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.

Today’s Second Reading, 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:13 is a familiar reading, it is the great chapter on love. It occurs in the middle of Paul’s teaching on spiritual gifts (see the end of chapter 12 and the beginning of chapter 14). This emphasis on loving is so important that Paul will suspend his teaching on spiritual gifts and insert the centrality of love. The kind of love Paul is proclaiming here is not emotional nor sentimentality, but it is the kind of love Jesus has for us, self-giving love which shows itself in words and actions. May we be centered in the love of Jesus, and may we love others with the love with which He first loved us.
Lord Jesus, in You we see the love of God in all its fullness. Fill us each day with Your love, and love others through us so that they are drawn to You in faith, hope, and love. Amen.

Today’s Gospel is recorded in Luke 4:31-44. In this passage we see the authority of Jesus to preach, teach, and set people free from evil and illness. Where are the areas in our lives that still need to hear His message and to be set free from those things which oppress us? May we look to Jesus to grow in Him, and may we die to the sinful self as He sets us free from all that oppresses us. Then, let us go out with His message of love, reconciliation, and freedom, proclaiming Him to others so that they too can be redeemed and set free by Jesus.
Lord Jesus, we praise You for Your authority to set us free from sin, death, and the devil. Let us always rest in what You have done for us, and move us out into the world to proclaim life and redemption in You. Draw others to You so that they too will follow You as Lord and Savior. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

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