GodSpeak for the Week of January 19
As we discussed last Sunday, today we enter this in-between season of Epiphany. Christmas is over, Lent hasn’t yet arrived – and we now spend the next half dozen Sundays reflecting on how the newborn Lord has so profoundly impacted our lives and world.
This week, our particular focus centers on Paul’s opening words from his first letter to the Corinthians – and what it means that Christ has “enriched” us.
Day 1…Read Isaiah 49:1-4
- Answer this – while this is Old Testament prophecy by God through Isaiah, who could very well have spoken these words?
- Answer this – in v.1, He says: “Listen to me, you islands…” – for whom/for what type of person in our day-and-age might that phrase be particularly promising and welcoming?
- Answer this – at the end of v. 1, He says: “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb He has spoken my name.” – what does this tell us about the nature and promise of God?
- Answer this – in v. 2, He says: “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword…” – in what specific ways were Jesus’ words like this?
- Answer this – in v. 4, He says: “But I said, ‘I have labored in vain…Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.” – again, in what specific ways did Jesus live out these words?
Day 2…Read Isaiah 49:5-7
- Answer this – in v. 6, He says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob…I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” – in what specific ways did Jesus honor and fulfill this decision from God?
- Answer this – in v. 7, He says: “…to Him who was despised and abhorred by the nation…’Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down…’” – where in history has this specifically happened in relation to Jesus Christ?
Day 3…Read John 1:29-34
- Answer this – when John
the Baptist calls out: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the
world!” – to what is he equating Jesus with?
- What was the purpose of that Old Testament sacrifice?
- Answer this – in v. 30, John notes: “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’” – what does John mean by this saying?
Day 4…Read John 1:35-42
- Answer this – in v. 38 when Jesus responds to the two disciples: “’What do you want?’” His tone of voice can seem a bit shrill – why did Jesus ask the question in this potential way? What was his point and/or desired outcome?
- Consider this – in v. 38, John makes the effort to note that “Rabbi” means “Teacher.”
- Answer this – why would John make this parenthetical point? By inference, to what kind of audience is John writing?
Day 5…Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
this – the opening three verses of this letter are typical of those written by
- Paul offers a word about his Godly credentials
- Paul notes who is with him
- Paul offers a word of support – that these folks are “sanctified” and “holy” by God
- Paul offers a word of God’s grace and peace
- Answer this – why does
Paul tend to open his letters with these types of elements?
- Why not simply begin his letters with something like: “Dear Members of the Church in Corinth”?
- What benefits does Paul give these saints, by beginning his letters in the way he does?
Day 6…Read 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
this – by the time Paul writes this letter to these saints the city of Corinth
had been remade by the Romans into a cosmopolitan town of diverse religions,
culture and people from all over the known world.
- Prior to the Romans remake, Corinth had been much like Las Vegas today. The famous phrase: “What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas” could easily have been applied to Corinth. It was a colorful city full of vice.
- Consider this – it is into that kind of world and into a city with that kind of present and history, that Paul writes these words.
- Consider this – in v. 5,
Paul notes: “For in Him you have been enriched in every way – with all kinds of
speech and with all knowledge…”
- That idea of being “enriched” by God carried the idea that the Corinthian faithful were “richly furnished” by God with their “speech” and with all “intelligence” and “understanding” about what God was doing through Christ.
- Answer this – given how
colorful Corinth was as an historical city, how do Paul’s “plain”-spoken words
convey real, true treasure and riches to the faithful there?
- What is it that the Corinthian faithful are being lavished with by God, that Corinth couldn’t give them?