Posted by: Pauline | April 22, 2015

Scriptures for Sunday April 26

Psalm 23

This psalm brings to mind images of peace and comfort. It is not the peace and comfort of a lack of conflict or hardship, however. It is being in the presence of enemies and the fear of death, but knowing that one is safe because God is also present. It is having turned away from God and suffered the consequences and having been brought back to Him.

As familiar as the psalm is to most of us, we can still miss some of the meaning. Even aside from the shepherding metaphor, there are words that our English translation may not communicate effectively. Goodness and mercy do not merely “follow” us – they pursue us. And some scholars believe that a better translation of the final line is “I will continue to return to the house of the Lord for all my days.”

1 John 3:16-24

Many times we want reassurance that “we are of the truth.” Some religious traditions emphasize have assurance we belong to God because we have faith in Jesus Christ. Other traditions emphasize instead our good works toward other people. This passage in 1 John says we need both, to believe in Jesus Christ and to love one another (and the love needs to be not just words but self-sacrificial deeds).

Acts 4:5-12

Interpretations of this passage often focus so much on the assertion of verse 12 (that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ) that we may not notice how prophecy is fulfilled in this passage. Jesus had told his disciples that those who hated and persecuted him would hate and persecute them also. He also assured them that when they were brought up before rulers and authorities, they would be given the words to say by the Holy Spirit, and that their opponents would not be able to resist the wisdom with which they would speak. We see both of these predictions fulfilled in this passage.

We also may miss, in our English translations, that both the word “healed” in verse 9 and “saved” in verse 12 come from the same Greek word, which includes a range of meanings including restoring someone to health and rescuing someone who is in danger. Some scholars believe both should be translated “healed,” while others point out that verse 12 applies the power of Jesus to heal from the lame man’s specific need to all humanity’s wider need for spiritual healing.

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