Resurrection Rejoicing – Don’t Miss the Point!

Day 111

Joshua 22:21‐23:16; Luke 20:27‐47; Psalm 89:14‐37; Proverbs 13:17‐19

Resurrection Rejoicing – Don’t Miss the Point!

After disarming the Sadducee’s riddle on the resurrection using an example of family that had experienced more tragedy than most any family could bear, Jesus challenges them with one of His own: the Messiah is meant to be a descendant (“son”) of David; yet, in Psalm 110, David refers to the Messiah as his “Lord.” Given that a son shows deference to a father, and not a father to a son, how can the Messiah be both son of David and Lord over him? This is more than a riddle designed to stump His challengers. Here Jesus implicitly affirms His identity. He not only does this once but twice, in fact. For one, in referencing Psalm 110:1, both He and His audience would be aware of the rest of the Psalm, “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’… You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek… The Lord is at your right hand … he will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.”

For the other, if the Messiah is both descendant of, and Lord over, then He cannot be a mere mortal. Of course, Jesus’ opponents would miss much of this, and could not have accepted it had they grasped it. But we, like the disciples in Acts 2, live after the resurrection and its confirmation of Jesus’ claims. On the day of Pentecost, Peter (and Luke) quotes Psalm 110:1 again, explicating the meaning of this text: “God has raised this Jesus to life… Exalted to the right hand of God… Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:32-36). We not only solve the riddle; we also join the disciples and the heavenly host in worship of the exalted Lord.

Lord, may we praise you today as the risen Savior of the world. In all that goes on around us among this fallen reality, may we exalt you as Lord over all. To God be all glory, honor, and power. AMEN!

Devotion adapted and edited from cbcgb.org for the purposes of publication. 

Copyright –Public Domain

The Litmus Test

Day 110

Joshua 21:1‐22:20; Luke 20:1‐26; Psalm 89:1‐13; Proverbs 13:15‐16

The Litmus Test

Years ago, a dear friend and circuit court judge shared his insight when deciding difficult cases. He said, “When seeking to decide the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils, I always look at motivation and ask, ‘Was this done in good faith or in bad faith?’”

In Joshua, we have a skirmish between the eastern and western tribes as they settle the Promised Land. The Reubenites, Gadites and half tribe of Manasseh separate to the eastern side of the Jordan, as instructed by Joshua. There they erect a high altar of remembrance.

When the western tribes learn of their scheme, they are enraged, and send a delegation of Phineas and ten tribal chiefs breathing threats of war. The eastern tribes acknowledged they had not built the altar as a sign of rebellion, but as a sign of witness to their children. There was no ill intent on the part of the eastern tribes. Once the western tribes understood  that there was no bad faith, they returned home in peace and settled their steaming brethren!

Similarly in Luke’s Gospel, we find the chief priests, scribes, and elders encountering Jesus. Their meeting is plagued with bad faith. They challenge Jesus’ authority and question the source of His authority. They seek to lay hands on Him and send spies, who “pretended to be sincere.” If you are looking for good faith on the part of His visitors, you will have to look to another story!

Rev. Scott T. Holcombe
St. David’s by the Sea Episcopal Church
Cocoa Beach, FL

God is a Refuge. Are We?

Day 109

Joshua 19:1-20:9; Luke 19:28-48; Psalm 88:1-18; Proverbs 13:12-14

God is a Refuge. Are We?

A gold star if you tried to read the Joshua passage out loud!

When I was preparing for ordination about thirty years ago, a priest opened my eyes to the significance of geography in the Scriptures. Where certain events occurred did matter, and God, it would seem, had some favorite places to hang out in the Promised Land.

Today’s readings invite us to look at some particular places, and what happened there.

In the Joshua reading, we hear God setting aside “cities of refuge,” places where those who had inadvertently killed another person could live without fear of retaliation by the victim’s next of kin. This was still a punishment of sorts, having to live apart from one’s family and land, but it was God’s acknowledgment, that we are sometimes quick to judge and act out of overzealous anger, and God’s compassionate response, calling for peace.

In Luke, we see Jesus weeping with disappointment, lamenting that Jerusalem, the “city of peace (shalom),” has failed to recognize God’s presence in Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Far from being a city of refuge, it is the city that kills the prophets, and will soon kill Jesus as well.

Are our lives, our families, our homes places of refuge? Can both we and others feel peace, forgiveness, love – all of which come from God? Do we recognize and share each day “the things that make for peace,” or are they “hidden from our eyes” by the desire to justify ourselves?

The Rev. Dr. Steve Clifton
Christ the King Church
Orlando, FL