Sunday, February 4
Facing Fear and Prejudice
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
Jesus is beginning to claim the authority God has given him to act and speak in this world on God's behalf. Like the prophets before him, he is stirring up the status quo and saying difficult things that many don't want to hear. Unlike the prophets before him, he has started to identify himself as God's son, the one who has been given authority to act -- not only on behalf of God, but as God.
And the people don't like it. They fear what they don't know, and Jesus' brashness and boldness is disruptive and terrifying. We have the benefit of hindsight. We know that Jesus' words are true. We know who Jesus is and why he has come. Yet there are still things about Jesus that are disruptive and terrifying. Jesus' radical love of people we find offensive is sometimes hard to face. Everyone has some prejudice, whether against color, age, size, gender, religion, regional background, education, or ability. One of our greatest challenges can be to identify who we find most repulsive, and accept Jesus' challenge to love radically. But is can also be one of our greatest gifts, when we let go of anger, hate, and fear, and instead embrace acceptance and love.
Narrative Lectionary Text: John 5:19-29
Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whoever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.
‘Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.