The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Opening this week’s presents (Sunday’s Scriptures)

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Oh boy!! I love this time of the week. It’s like unwrapping presents!Presents

And in the boxes this week:

– the beginning of a tour through the mysterious book of Job

– the opening of the majestic declarations of Hebrews

– more pioneering by Jesus, as he champions the cause of children and the unjustly divorced. Hurrah!

I can’t wait to see how God brings this all together for Sunday.

Here are the basics. What do you see?

Job 1

 

1 Job was a man who lived in Uz. He was honest inside and out, a man of his word, who was totally devoted to God and hated evil with a passion. [or, NRSV: “turned away from evil.”]

Job 2

 

The Second Test: Health

 

1-3 One day when the angels came to report to God, Satan also showed up. God singled out Satan, saying, “And what have you been up to?” Satan answered God, “Oh, going here and there, checking things out.” Then God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him, is there—honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil? He still has a firm grip on his integrity! You tried to trick me into destroying him, but it didn’t work.”

 

 

4-5 Satan answered, “A human would do anything to save his life. But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away his health? He’d curse you to your face, that’s what.”

 

 

6 God said, “All right. Go ahead—you can do what you like with him. But mind you, don’t kill him.”

 

 

7-8 Satan left God and struck Job with terrible sores. Job was ulcers and scabs from head to foot. They itched and oozed so badly that he took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself, then went and sat on a trash heap, among the ashes.

 

 

9 His wife said, “Still holding on to your precious integrity, are you? Curse God and be done with it!”

 

 

10 He told her, “You’re talking like an empty-headed fool. We take the good days from God—why not also the bad days?”

 

 

Not once through all this did Job sin. He said nothing against God.

 

 

 

Hebrews 1

 

1-3Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words!

 

The Son Is Higher than Angels

3-6After he finished the sacrifice for sins, the Son took his honored place high in the heavens right alongside God, far higher than any angel in rank and rule. Did God ever say to an angel, “You’re my Son; today I celebrate you” or “I’m his Father, he’s my Son”? When he presents his honored Son to the world, he says, “All angels must worship him.”

 

Hebrews 2:5-12

The Salvation Pioneer

5-9God didn’t put angels in charge of this business of salvation that we’re dealing with here. It says in Scripture,

 

 

What is man and woman that you bother with them;

why take a second look their way?

You made them not quite as high as angels,

bright with Eden’s dawn light;

Then you put them in charge

of your entire handcrafted world.

 

When God put them in charge of everything, nothing was excluded. But we don’t see it yet, don’t see everything under human jurisdiction. What we do see is Jesus, made “not quite as high as angels,” and then, through the experience of death, crowned so much higher than any angel, with a glory “bright with Eden’s dawn light.” In that death, by God’s grace, he fully experienced death in every person’s place.

 

 

10-13It makes good sense that the God who got everything started and keeps everything going now completes the work by making the Salvation Pioneer perfect through suffering as he leads all these people to glory. Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family, saying,

 

I’ll tell my good friends, my brothers and sisters, all I know

about you;

I’ll join them in worship and praise to you.

Again, he puts himself in the same family circle when he says,

Even I live by placing my trust in God.

And yet again,

I’m here with the children God gave me.

 

 

 

Mark 10

Divorce

1-2 From there he went to the area of Judea across the Jordan. A crowd of people, as was so often the case, went along, and he, as he so often did, taught them. Pharisees came up, intending to give him a hard time. They asked, “Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife?”

 

 

3Jesus said, “What did Moses command?”

 

 

4They answered, “Moses gave permission to fill out a certificate of dismissal and divorce her.”

 

 

5-9Jesus said, “Moses wrote this command only as a concession to your hardhearted ways. In the original creation, God made male and female to be together. Because of this, a man leaves father and mother, and in marriage he becomes one flesh with a woman—no longer two individuals, but forming a new unity. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.”

 

 

10-12When they were back home, the disciples brought it up again. Jesus gave it to them straight: “A man who divorces his wife so he can marry someone else commits adultery against her. And a woman who divorces her husband so she can marry someone else commits adultery.”

 

 

13-16The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

 

Scripture passages are from The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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Written by Monte

October 3, 2006 at 11:11 am

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