My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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This is Not Shame
Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal Son” at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
(Is. 50:7 NRSV)
The words from Isaiah are often thought to be prophetic words about the coming Messiah, but these words are also a promise to all of God’s people. We are called to participate in Christ and therefore we can hold onto the promise that it is the Lord God who helps us in our times of trouble. What may appear to be disgrace in the eyes of others, just may be grace-filled loved in the eyes of God. Therefore, this is not shame, or I am not shamed by my circumstances, but instead, I am transformed in the midst of those circumstance into one who reflects the glory of God.
We continue the Lenten journey through this Holy Week. This week will lead us to the cross where we find Christ dying for all the world. Jesus understood his circumstances, and that no matter how others treated him, he would not be put to shame for the Father was with him.
In the story of the prodigal son we find the boy returning home, poor, starving and shamed. He is embarrassed to see anyone, and especially his father. He knows that he has shamed the family, and himself, and should have no rights or privilege. However, in his worst moment, his father rushes to him, takes off his cloak and covers the shame with his robe. He would not allow his son to stand before him, shamed, but covered him with all that symbolized the value which he still had in the family. The Heavenly Father covered Jesus with his love and grace. The Father did not turn away from his Son in the moment of his suffering, but when all the guilt and shame of the world was revealed in the ugliness of his death, the Father covered it all. Neither Jesus, nor any of us need to live with the shame.
In the late fourth century John Chrysostom wrote a series of letters to a woman named Olympias. Evidently, she was going through a period of struggles and he encouraged her in this way, “Therefore, let none of these things that are happening trouble [you], but stop asking for the aid of this or that person and running after shadows (for such are human alliances); persistently call on Jesus, whom [you serve] . . . and in a moment of time all these evils will be dissolved. (LETTERS TO OLYMPIAS 7.2) Just like Olympias, we are to persistently call on Jesus, and not on others. No person has the power to take away our shame, only our Savior. The beauty is that in a moment Jesus also reminds us that though the world may want to shame us, we are not put to shame. This is not shame, because our shame has been covered by the love of a gracious Father.
We turn our faces toward the one who loves us and allow him to draw us to the cross, the place where there is no longer any room for shame.
Lord, may we find freedom from the shame which others may try to hang on us. Thank you for the journey which leads us to the cross. Words of gratitude are never enough to thank you for what you have done for us. Amen.
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Scripture: Mark 8:31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Observation:
Peter had openly declared that Jesus was the Messiah when suddenly the conversation shifted to suffering, rejection and death. With his affirmation of Jesus as Messiah, Peter had brought with him all of the connotations of that term. Jesus was to be a great military leader, a Davidic Messiah, who would save the people from the earthly authorities. Jesus’ description was a paradigm that didn’t fit into Peter’s thinking.
Peter’s rebuke of Jesus was severe. The language reflects a long and unpleasant conversation. The…
Scripture: Rev. 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: Rev. 3:15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a plac…