Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

Psalm 75Jeremiah 5:20-31Romans 3:19-31John 7:1-13

The lessons today challenge us to walk in harmony with the LORD. Jesus is just coming into his ministry, wary of showing himself in a hostile country. But in the following passage Jesus demonstrates an astute understanding of the “law and the Prophets” yet sets out to reveal a new relationship with GOD.

As repeated in Paul’s letter to the Romans, it is not obedience to the law but faith in Jesus by which we are saved. Jesus’ self-sacrifice is a redeeming act for his sinful people, not earned by ritualistic blood sacrifice, liturgical correctness or adherence to the law but “to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous because, in his divine forbearance, he had passed over the sins previously committed.”

Yet despite this unearned and undeserved gift we continue to face the choice of living in right relationship with the creation. Jeremiah’s words decry those who “have eyes but do not see, ears but do not hear.” We are virtually in the Garden of Eden, yet people “take over the goods of others, [becoming] great and rich, [knowing] no limits in deeds of wickedness,” failing to act with justice or to defend the weak and needy. Our present prophets and priests teach falsely and lead with no shame “and my people love to have it so.” In Jeremiah GOD wonders “shall I not bring retribution on a nation such as this?”

Thankfully, the message of Jesus life and death has answered that, but still Jeremiah’s last words echo: “What will you do when the end comes?”

Pam and Peter Dennison

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