Extravagant Love and New Things Reflections 4-6-19

Texts for April 7, 2019
5th Sunday in Lent

Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalm 126
Philippians 3:4b-14
John 12:1-8

I have run out of week. I will share a couple of brief thoughts about these texts and leave it to you to finish the thoughts.

As it mentions, the story in John is after a big event in Jesus, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus' lives. Really big. Lazarus had died and Jesus called him out of the tomb 4 days later (see John 11).

From a reference in Luke as well as the description in John 11, it seems that Jesus was really close to the family who lived a little bit out of Jerusalem in a town called Bethany.

In John 11, Jesus' wept at his friend's death and the sister Martha proclaimed Jesus as one sent from God, the Messiah. So that story could explain a couple of things about this week's story.... like why a bunch of nard was in the house (Lazarus was dead, and then not) and why Mary poured the nard and her heart onto Jesus' feet. Extravagant love.

One other thing from the earlier story... the religious leaders decided that they needed to get rid of Jesus and started planning how to kill him. Mary knew that soon Jesus would need a burial ointment and poured it out on him at this meal. She remembered the threats and looked toward the inevitable consequences.

The Isaiah text starts out with a reminder of the great deeds that God had done for the people of Israel out of God's continuing steadfast love for them. That is pretty standard fare in the Old Testament. God's saving of the slaves from the hands of the Egyptians was one of the origin stories for the people. They were often reminded of it. But here, after being reminded of it, God says don't remember it. Instead, look for a new thing. Yes, the looking for it was based on the former things, but realize that God has something else in mind.

What happened after Jesus' death was also a new thing. A big new thing. Mary in her love and grief forgot to look for that which was about to spring to life.

Reflect on that and prepare for that which is coming. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and we begin the week called Holy.

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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245