Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Antiochan Syrian Orthodox Daily Readings For Tuesday, 30 November

From antiochan.org and dynamispublishing.org:

Saints/Feasts/Fasts to be comemmorated/celebrated:  The Nativity Fast

Daily Readings:

1 Corinthians 4:9-16

1 Corinthians 4:9-169For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. 10We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, 12and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.

14I am not writing this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15For though you might have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16I appeal to you, then, be imitators of me.

John 1:35-51

John 1:35-5135The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”

37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o”clock in the afternoon. 40One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Judges 3:12-30 (11/30-12/13) Second Reading in Kellia from the Book of Judges

Saviors: Judges 3:12-30 SAAS, especially vss. 20, 21: “Then Ehud said, ‘I have a word of God for you, O king.’ So Eglon arose from his throne near him. At the moment he arose, Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly.” When covert, retaliatory and terrorist killings are a constant in the media, the killing of Eglon by Ehud raises a question: “What sort of putting-to-death is reported in this passage: assassination, murder, or execution?” Ehud said he had “...a word from God...” (vs. 12), implying execution by Divine command. It has a chilling familiarity! Still, God is not reported as having commanded Ehud as a Judge to use ‘all means necessary’ to free Israel. Still, the Lord is said to have ‘raised up’ Ehud, as ‘a savior’ (vs. 15). What should we to make of this? Press in deeper, and let us examine the words ‘raised up’, ‘savior’ (vs. 15), and ‘judge’ (Jdg. 2:18).

To rightly understand events described in the Book of Judges, you must set the book in the context of God’s plan to give His ancient People the land (Jos. 1:2-6), and His even greater plan to restore all men to Himself. His plan for Israel meant “dispossession” and the “destruction” of the Canaanites living in the land (Dt. 31:3) - destruction because of their sinful way of life (see Gn. 15:16 and Dt. 9:5). No quarter or accommodation was to be given (Dt. 7:2-5). Also, God did not hesitate to judge Israel severely (Jdg. 2:3) for not following His command to “...utterly destroy them” (Dt. 7:2). At the same time He firmly declared: “I will never break My covenant with you” (Jdg. 2:1), even as He punished them. As a result, God let His ancient People suffer eighteen years under the Moabites until they “...cried to the Lord” (Jdg. 2:14,15). Then, after they had tasted bitterness, the Lord “...raised up judges...” to deliver them (Jdg. 2:16).

The judges whom God called upon consistently led Israel in a pattern of dispossession and destruction. The present account fits this plan of cleansing perfectly, for Ehud not only executed Eglon, but then also called for and led an uprising, sounded the trumpet to arms “...in the mountains of Ephraim...,” directed the people to seize the fords of the Jordan, subdued Moab “...that day under the hand of Israel,” and killed “...ten thousand...” of them (Jdg. 3:27-30). God, within the great mystery of His plan of salvation of mankind for Himself, raised him up for this.

Throughout Scripture, often when God ‘raised up’ someone, He did so with a saving purpose. (He “raised up” the pagan, Nebuchadnezzar, for punishment and correction (cf, Jer. 25:8-9). God even told Pharaoh: “For this very reason, you were preserved, that I might display in you My strength, and that My Name might be declared in all the earth” (Ex. 9:16). When King Solomon did that which was evil, the Lord raised up Hadad the Edomite as his adversary, yet He assured the lineage of David (3 Kg. 11:11-14). The Incarnation of Jesus, God the Word, is described as an act whereby God has “...raised up a horn of salvation for us...” (Lk. 1:69). Of Christ’s Resurrection it is said that “the God of our fathers raised up Jesus...” who was “...murdered by hanging on a tree” (Acts 5:30) for “...our justification” (Rom. 4:22-24).

When God raises up a Judge, a Prophet, a King or a Savior, it is always to deliver His People. He raised up Judges so that ancient Israel would not fall into despair. Regularly, God’s ‘raising up’ led to death for enemies. These cannot be considered assassination or murder, but as execution within God’s plan for all men. Some who slaughtered people in terrorist acts believed they were raised up by God, but who has been saved by their acts? Most important, who is the god that raised them up? Certainly not the Lord God revealed in Christ Jesus. God raised up our Savior Christ, first and foremost, to trample down death by death for all mankind - for all men.

Thou, in Thine exceeding great love, hast made us alive together with Christ, raised us up by Thy grace together with Him, and dost seat us in heavenly places in Him (see Eph. 2:4-6).

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