Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday, 9 October,2015 Ezekiel 47-48; John 20 ~ Elizabeth

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan Ezekiel 47-48; John 20

In our Ezekiel reading for today, water is a huge symbol. Water is the symbol of the life-giving blessings flowing in the channels of divine grace. When, as here, it emanates from the temple where the reconciled God resides, it prefigures the restoration to life in the new covenant. The flow of this water never stops. Arabah was desert land including the area of the Salt Sea and extending southward from it. The Salt Sea, rightly called because its salt kills vegetation and marine life, could sustain life when the river flowed into it, overcoming its deadly properties. The miraculously increasing supply of water irrigated and fructified ever-widening banks, turning them into a paradise of trees bearing fruit every month. In ancient Israel, various leaves and plants had medicinal uses. Here, God provides a most beneficial cure. God’s grace transforms what was dead to bring forth new life. How great is His power! How gentle His kindness toward us.

When speaking of the sojourners and the native-born children, Luther wrote: “According to the second part of the prophecy and the new covenant, the Jews are no longer Israel, for all things are to be new, the Israel too must become new. Those alone are the true Israel who have accepted the new covenant which was established and begun at Jerusalem. For according to the old covenant I am no Israelite, or Jew. But I claim now that I am the son of St. Paul, and an Israelite or Benjamite. For Paul is my father, not the old Paul but the new Paul. He is still the old Paul, but out of the old Paul there has arisen a new Paul in Christ; and he has gotten me in Christ by the gospel [1 Cor. 4:15], so that I am in his likeness according to the new covenant. Thus all the Gentiles who are Christians are the true Israelites and new Jews, born of Christ, the noblest Jew. Everything, therefore, depends upon the new covenant, which the Messiah was to found, making all things new, as he has done” [AE 35:87-88].

Just as the temple complex symbolized ideal worship and the river symbolized God’s blessings flowing to His people, the land apportionment symbolizes God’s abundant grace. Each tribe is welcomed back. In the new covenant, God has reconciled every person to Himself-including us. The blood that flowed from Christ’s hands, feet, and riven side supply life to all who believe. Reconciled with God and declared a communion of saints, the former servants of sin bring to their Redeemer the sacrifices of praise and a sanctified life. They need not worry that the supply of royal gifts will give out, for they flow from the throne of grace in streams that grow in abundance. Nor will there ever be a moment when the gracious, protecting presence of the Shepherd/King in His flock will be in doubt, for it will always be true that “the Lord is there”. As Luther says: “This everlasting kingdom, however, contains in addition such immeasurable, glorious blessings as forgiveness of sins, peace with God, security against everlasting death and all evil, communion with the Divine Majesty and with all angels and saints, joy and pleasure in the whole creation, even in a physical sense. For this same body, which is now the old body, shall also become new, together with the whole creation, as the soul has already begun to become new in faith”. [AE 35:290]

The first witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection see an empty tomb bearing all the signs of the fulfillment of the OT promises and Jesus’ own declaration that He “must rise from the dead”. The disciples were slow to believe, just as we, too, can be of little faith. Thankfully for us, Christ grants us His Spirit to work faith in us. Christ robbed the grave of death, confirming His own words, “I am the resurrection and the life”. After His resurrection, Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene, who is led to recognize Him and goes to tell the disciples she has seen the Lord. The once-crucified Jesus then appears to His disciples, commissioning them for their work and equipping them with the Holy Spirit, Christians have received the most precious treasure on earth-the Gospel of forgiveness-but often keep it hidden from others. God raised Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and will equip us with every good thing to do His will (Heb. 13:20-21).

John, the author of this Gospel, clearly states its purpose and summarizes its central message. People commonly and mistakenly think that biblical books were written mainly to provide rules for godly living. Speaking through John, God announces the Good News that Jesus is His Son and that by faith in His name, we have life and salvation-the core message of the entire Gospel. 

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Song of Solomon 1-3; John 21


TammyIsBlessed said...

Truly Jesus is the source of living water!

I love how Ezekiel ends.... And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.

That is what will make heaven heaven. Jesus is there.

I also love how John ends Chapter 20. The Bible truly is about God, not us.

Conrad said...

I liked your posting on Ezekiel with the symbolism of water and how Christ is the river of life!

I wonder what Thomas felt about seeing Jesus after the resurrection but only believing with the visual proof. Like Elizabeth said, we are no different than Thomas at times. We see many miracles today, and at times still doubt what our great God can do!

My goal is that I would be able to place my trust in Him alone.

Pamela said...

I once heard or read that Mary being the first to see Jesus was poor storytelling. In a society where women were dependent on men and given little value it is almost ironic that it is a woman to first see and hear from Jesus after his resurrection. If the story of Jesus' resurrection is unbelievable the eye witness account from a woman adds to it's unbelievable-ness. If the story if Jesus would be a make-believe story then men should have been the first eye witness to validate the story.