Reflection for the Week of Sunday July 1, 2018 Sixth after Pentecost

Gospel: Mk 4.21-13 tells the story of the healing of the woman with the issue of blood and raising the girl who had died. Jesus is on His way to the little girl who is critically ill when the woman with the hemorrhage touches Him and is healed. Jesus feels power go out of Him when she touches His robe. The suspense grows as He talks to the woman. In the meantime the girl diss. but that does not seem to trouble Jesus, and He goes to her and brings her badly to life. Jesus’ healing ministry is a way of showing that the Kingdom of God has come now that He is present the kingdom of God is a restored and renewed creation. Jesus is the Passover Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. It means that in Jesus there is a new exodus out of bondage to sin and its effects including illness. Ever since the fall of Adam, even Israel, God’s elect people, have been in bondage and in exile. They had returned from Babylon to the promised land but God had left the Temple and had not returned to dwell in the Second Temple. As long as God was not present with His people, the exile was still in effect. His return had been promised and as the biblical story develops, we come to realize that the presence of the incarnate Lord, Jesus, is the fulfillment of that promise. Jesus is the Lord God who has returned and the healings are a celebration of this fact. Further anticipated signs of God’s return and end of exile are His victories in battle being waged against Israel and the building of the new Temple. The renewal of the land and the covenant are revealed in the well being of the people of the Messiah manifested in the hearings and revivification by the Messiah. There is celebration and joy and new creation like a Jubilee when debts are forgiven and freedom is restored. Illness, sin, and death are all examples of exile and bondage while restoration of health and new life are signs of renewal and the new creation that accompany the return of YH’wH, and the end of exile. The parables of a king or master going away and then returning (Mt 24.45f.; Mt 25.14 and parallels), and of a king having a banquet and inviting guests to attend d are further signs of the return of YHWH. These have been interpreted as referring to the ‘second coming’ at the Last Day but are better understood as YHWH’s initial, represent coming in the person of Jesus during His earthly ministry. This does not mean the Second Coming is not to be expected, but that it is still to come. Jesus’ present ministry is the return of YHWH after His departure prior to the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians in the sixth century BC as promised by many prophets, especially in Isaiah 40.3, 9, 10; 52.7-8; Ezek 37.26; 43.2-5; Zech 1.3, 9.9-10, 14.5c; Mal 3.1-4. With His first coming, His incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth, the kingdom of God is present. This is the goal God intended for His people, not to go to heaven to live in a disembodied eternity in ‘heaven’, but the present life ‘in Jesus’ and the age to come in which believers will receive new bodies in the resurrection and live in the new creation which has already begun in which Christ is King, the satan has been defeated, and believers have received the Holy Spirit. It is ’Thy kingdom come, [where] Thy will is done, on earth as it is in heaven’ (Mt 6.10). Jesus didn’t say (this is  a mis-translation), “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn 18.36); He really said, “My kingdom is not from this world.” He meant His kingdom was for this world. The victory has been won and we are to love and worship God and love those around us. Suffering and dying are the way the world is changed (2 Cor 6-10). The message of the cross only works through the cross.  

Memory Verse: Then the multitudes who went before and those followed cried out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mt 21.9).

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