Category: Christine Jones

John 3:1–17

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on March 16, 2014.

Have you noticed lately that when you try to use a $20 bill at the store, the cashier swipes it with a marker before accepting it?  What is the purpose of that action?  She or he wants to make sure your bill is legitimate, not counterfeit.  There are many cases in which we are concerned with legitimacy: news stories, internet “facts”, credit card charges.  Some things are too important to risk illegitimacy. Continue reading

Matthew 4:1–11

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on March 9, 2014.

 The temptation or testing of Jesus is a critical point in Jesus’ ministry in which he establishes his obedience to God.  This obedience is accomplished through Jesus’ exercise of humility, trust, and suffering.  This pattern of obedience sets the precedent for the rest of Jesus’ life even through the reality of the cross and death.  In Matthew 4:1–11 Jesus exemplifies what it means to “follow the will of God.”

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Matthew 7:21–29

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on March 2, 2014.

We live in a day of false representation where photographs, television shows, and movies are airbrushed and computer-generated.  Many of us expect such falsification and have become skeptical about the “reality” that those images claim to portray.  The same kind of false representation may be experienced in the words of people around us.  We all know people who make grand claims but whose actions fail to live up to such grandeur.  In Matthew 7:21–29, Jesus alerts us to the reality of false followers whose words of faithfulness are not matched by lives lived in God’s will.  Jesus then sums up the Sermon on the Mount by giving listeners two options: put the words of Jesus into practice and be wise or disregard Jesus’ words and be foolish.

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Matthew 5:38–48

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on February 23, 2014.

Rules.  We are surrounded by rules. There are rules for how to behave and rules for how to drive; rules for how to use technology and rules for how to act around the neighborhood pool.  If you have children or have ever worked with children, you know the importance of setting clear expectations (rules) and making sure they are followed.  Rules are good, helping us to function in an orderly way.  Most rules, though, represent the bare minimum of what is necessary.  If we merely follow the rules, we are limiting ourselves to a lifestyle of compliance to low standards.  In the Sermon on the Mount, of which Matthew 5:38–48 is a part, Jesus liberates his followers to live life to the fullest, a life oriented toward grace rather than rules. Continue reading