Tagged: Trinity

2 Corinthians 13:11-13

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on June 11, 2017.

The benediction in 2 Corinthians comes after Paul’s passionate defense of his ministry in chapters 10-13.  Though he had visited the church in Corinth numerous times, in his absence super-apostles moved in claiming Paul’s teachings were inferior to their own.  The work of this rival group had proven divisive in the church.  The congregation was fractioned and fractured. Thus, Paul was considering a return visit in light of a likely schism in the church.

Congregational conflict is not new to churches in the twenty-first century.  The first-century church knew all about it.  There was sexual immorality, idolatry, cliques, false teachers, and disunity in the Corinthian church. It was a mess. And God met the congregation in their mess.  Likewise, struggles in ministry aren’t new either.  Paul loved the church in Corinth so much that their unhealth caused him physical grief.  “For I wrote you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.” (2 Corinthians 2:4) Pastor, has your love for your congregation ever brought you to literal tears? Have you ever gone to great lengths to help your congregation grasp God’s dreams for them, only to be met with blank stares and indifference- or worse, criticism and rejection?  You are walking in Paul’s shoes. Ministry can be a real struggle. And God meets pastors in their struggle.

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Matthew 3:13-17

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on January 12, 2014.

There have been two consistent themes from the beginning of the gospel of Matthew.  The first is the theme of fulfillment.  The second is the theme of royalty. Both are present in this scene.  Jesus was recognized as the fulfillment of God’s plan on earth.  His birth was predicted (Matthew 1:21).  His survival was predicted (Matthew 2:13).  His herald was predicted (Matthew 3:3).  And finally, in the climactic baptismal scene, God himself spoke a word of affirmation, as he revealed Jesus to be his own beloved son.

Jesus was also introduced as the royal king.  Jewish kings had to be anointed by a prophet before they could assume the powers and responsibilities of the throne (1 Samuel 10:1; 15:1; 16:1; 2 Kings 9:6).  Matthew described an evil king who sought to usurp that process and kill the righteous king.  The righteous king prevailed only through divine intervention.  And in the baptism of Jesus, the righteous king was cleansed in water, and anointed by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  In the Old Testament the anointing was thought to be a symbol of the presence and empowering of the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 16:13).  Jesus voluntarily submitted to the rite of purification, was publicly anointed by the Holy Spirit, and was proclaimed to be God’s royal Son.

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