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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Third Sunday In Lent-B

Option A: From Rev. Kelly Bedard

"Divine Power Walking"
1 Corinthians 1:22-25

1. Power Failure

a. "Strength" is the real stumbling block--literally, a "trap-stick" or snare; figuratively, a cause of displeasure or sin, an occasion to fall

b. "Wisdom," whether higher or lower, worldly or spiritual ("sophia" really doesn't distinguish between the two), is not enough

2. Failure Power

a. The miraculous force (a literal definition of "dynamis") of foolishness (silliness, absurdity) and weakness ("When I am weak then I am strong...")

b. Godly wisdom: Christ crucified--literally, "impaled"; figuratively, the extinguishing or subduing of passion or selfishness

Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.


Option B: From Rev. Wayne Dobratz

Jesus Was A Zealot
John 2:13-22

I. Not for a Man-Made Kingdom

A. Man-Made religious Kingdoms always make demands upon people

1. Jewish religious law added to God's commands--up to 628 different laws and regulations. Lk. 11:42

2. Jesus invited those so burdened to come to Him, Mt. 11:28

B. Man-made religious Kingdom always misrepresent God's will. 

1. As Samuel told Saul in I Sam. 15:22-23

2. Man-made Kingdoms are based upon human efforts, as illustrated by the Pharisees in Lk. 11:42

3. As exemplified by the Pharisee in Jesus' Parable--Lk. 18:12ff

4. These man-made religions leave people in their sins, as Jesus said in Lk. 18:14

II. For God's Kingdom of Grace

A. Jesus' Kingdom comes by God's grace

1. By Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection, as the Scripture says in John 3:13-18

2. By the free gift of substitutionary sacrifice, as John writes in I John 2:1-2

B. Jesus gives new life so that we may be zealous for God's Kingdom

1. To Worship God in Spirit and in truth, as in John 4:23

2. Willing obedience in newness of life, as Paul writes in Rom. 12:1-2

3. By dying to sin and living for righteousness, as Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:24

4. With the risen Jesus living within you by virtue of your Baptism, as Paul writes in Rom. 6: 3-6

5. With the living Gift of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus taught in John 7:37-39

Concluding thoughts re: 
"Zeal for your house will consume me."

Albert Barnes explains: "Its meaning is, that he was affected with great zeal or concern for the pure worship of God." Matthew Henry shows how this act of cleansing the temple at the beginning of Christ's career foretells the goal of his ministry--his sacrifice upon the cross. He writes: 

"The first public work in which we find Christ engaged, was driving from the temple the traders whom the covetous priests and rulers encouraged to make a market-place of its courts. Those now make God's house a house of merchandise, whose minds are filled with cares about worldly business when attending religious exercises, or who perform Divine offices for love of gain. Christ, having thus cleansed the temple, gave a sign to those who demanded it, to prove his authority for so doing.

He foretells his death by the Jews' malice, 'Destroy ye this temple; I will permit you to destroy it.' He foretells his resurrection by his own power;' In three days I will raise it up.' Christ took again his own life. Men mistake by understanding that according to the letter, which the Scripture speaks by way of figure. When Jesus was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered he has said this. It helps much in understanding the Divine word, to observe the fulfilling of the Scriptures."

Adam Clarke compares man-made worship with God-given, grace-inspired worship as he writes: John 4:23 The true worshipers shall worship-in spirit-The worship of the Samaritans was a defective worship-they did not receive the prophetical writings: that of the Jews was a carnal worship, dealing only in the letter, and referring to the spirit and design, which were at a distance, by types and ceremonies.

The Gospel of Christ showed the meaning of all these carnal ordinances, and the legal sacrifices, which had all their consummation in his offering of himself: thus a spiritual dispensation took the place of the carnal one which prefigured it. The preaching of the Gospel discovered the true nature of God, of salvation, of the human soul, of earthly and of heavenly things....

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

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