Morning Prayer, 13 Feb – John 7:40-52 ~ mistaken identity

Morning Prayer

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentences – Hild of Whitby (614-80)

My soul’s desire is to study the Scriptures and to learn the ways of God. My soul’s desire is to be freed from all fear and sadness, and to share Christ’s risen life. My soul’s desire is to imitate my King, and to sing His purposes always. My soul’s desire is to enter the gates of heaven and to gaze upon the light that shines forever.

Morning readings

John 7:40-52 ESV:

who-is-jesus

When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Reflections:

mixed response

Some in the crowd see Jesus as a prophet like Moses. Others conclude he is the Messiah. But others reject Jesus because of his supposed earthly origins.

Still others reject Jesus on the basis of their understanding of Scripture – if Jesus is the one he claims to be, then Scripture will have to be interpreted around him. This means that much of the Jewish interpretation of God’s revelation regarding the nation, the land, the temple and the law itself will have to be rethought.

rigid opposition

The settled opposition of the Jewish leadership is contrasted with a few of their associates’ favorable response to Jesus — first their servants and then Nicodemus, one of their own members.

The temple guards return empty-handed because they are struck by the uniqueness of Jesus’ teaching – they had heard the eternal Word speaking about himself, about God and about the salvation he had brought in fulfillment of the promises made through the prophets – they had heard the words of life. The Jewish leadership accuse their servants of having been deceived… as they are the only ones learned in the Scriptures and capable of discerning the truth of religious teaching.

Nicodemus is still inclined toward Jesus; he is even willing to stick up for him in the face of severe opposition. Nicodemus points out that the Pharisees’ whole way of handling the situation is contrary to the very law they are claiming to uphold. But they change the subject, arguing against a prophet coming out of Galilee… and then turn on Nicodemus, questioning his origins and understanding of Scripture.

terms of agreement

As Jesus continues to act and speak it is increasingly clear that one must either receive him and his message on his own terms or utterly reject him.

We should hold firmly to what has been revealed in Scripture under the guidance the Spirit has given the church, but we must do so in an abiding relationship with the living God in whose presence we live. We must hold firmly to him in his objectively real presence and allow him to correct our personal, faulty understandings of him and his ways. The truth is in Jesus is perfection, but our apprehension of him is not yet perfect.

The IVP New Testament Commentary Series

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Canticle:

Christ, as a light… illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield… overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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Peanut Gallery: A brief word of explanation – the general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) The Scripture readings are primarily from the Gospel of John, with the intent to complete the reading by Easter. Other Scriptures which illuminate the Gospel of John will be included along the way.

Reflections from various saints will be included as their memorial days occur during the calendar year.

On Sundays, I’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world.

Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.



Categories: Life in Christ

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