Posted by: Pauline | February 6, 2017

Scriptures for Sunday February 12

Luke 7:18-35

Interpreters of this passage generally see John the Baptist’s question as reflecting inward doubts, as John wonders if he had been wrong when he identified Jesus as the Messiah. Some, however, see his question more as a public challenge to Jesus, demanding that he acknowledge that he is the Messiah (and start acting more like they expected the Messiah to act). Otherwise, these interpreters hear John warning, “we’ll go find someone else to follow!” People were sure they knew what Jesus was supposed to be doing, and some of them were willing to push him to get moving on that agenda.

Whatever the motivation for John’s questioning, Jesus neither rebukes him for the question nor answers the way John probably wished for. Instead, Jesus points to his works of healing and compassion to speak for him. He has indeed begun his Kingdom building, but it takes a rather different form from what most of his countrymen were expecting and hoping for.

Psalm 34:1-9

According to the superscription for this psalm, it relates to an incident in David’s life while he was on the run from King Saul. Fearing for his life, he had left Israel and fled into enemy territory. He was recognized as a notable Israelite warrior however, who had killed many men of the country where he was now trying to hide. Again fearing for his life, he pretended to be insane, so that he was not considered a threat and was able to flee again to another country.

This was not the first time he had used deception to aid him in escape from life-threatening circumstances. What the stories of those escapes do not mention is praying to God for deliverance. So it is not immediately clear how his words in this psalm “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles” relate to his experiences in those circumstances.

But he also speaks of God delivering him from all his fears. It may make more sense to think that this psalm is not about his deliverance from danger in enemy territory, but his deliverance from his own fears that had driven him to rely on deception rather than on God. Reflecting later on all that had happened, he came to a place of greater trust in God, and exhorted others to place their trust in God also.

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