The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Bible readings for November 12, 2006

with 2 comments

Ah, beloved Jesus! How unlike you I am!

I suspect that if Jesus came to modern America (rather than 1st-century Bethlehem) he wouldn’t be found at the university or the U.S. Capitol or the Empire State building. He’d figure that people in those places had many advantages: they could find him. Those he’d cast as heroes in his stories would be people who don’t get much respect in the U.S. – perhaps they’d be Muslims or Mexicans. He’d turn up where poverty and humiliation and despair were at their worst, and quietly go about honestly listening as if they were God and he were the student. When he saw generosity or faith or simplicity, he’d turn to his disciples and say, “See? Be like that.”

As I read this story, I am so attracted to him. And then I think, “Man, I’ve got a long ways to go!”

What do you see as you read? Care to share it in “comments”?
Proper 27 (32): Ruth 3:1-5,4:13-17;Psalm 127;Hebrews 9:24-28;Mark 12:38-44

Mark 12:38-44
38-40He continued teaching. “Watch out for the religion scholars. They love to walk around in academic gowns, preening in the radiance of public flattery, basking in prominent positions, sitting at the head table at every church function. And all the time they are exploiting the weak and helpless. The longer their prayers, the worse they get. But they’ll pay for it in the end.”

41-44Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.”

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

Hebrews 9:24-28
23-26That accounts for the prominence of blood and death in all these secondary practices that point to the realities of heaven. It also accounts for why, when the real thing takes place, these animal sacrifices aren’t needed anymore, having served their purpose. For Christ didn’t enter the earthly version of the Holy Place; he entered the Place Itself, and offered himself to God as the sacrifice for our sins. He doesn’t do this every year as the high priests did under the old plan with blood that was not their own; if that had been the case, he would have to sacrifice himself repeatedly throughout the course of history. But instead he sacrificed himself once and for all, summing up all the other sacrifices in this sacrifice of himself, the final solution of sin.

27-28Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.

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

Ruth 3:1-5,4:13-17

1-2One day her mother-in-law Naomi said to Ruth, “My dear daughter, isn’t it about time I arranged a good home for you so you can have a happy life? And isn’t Boaz our close relative, the one with whose young women you’ve been working? Maybe it’s time to make our move. Tonight is the night of Boaz’s barley harvest at the threshing floor.

3-4 “Take a bath. Put on some perfume. Get all dressed up and go to the threshing floor. But don’t let him know you’re there until the party is well under way and he’s had plenty of food and drink. When you see him slipping off to sleep, watch where he lies down and then go there. Lie at his feet to let him know that you are available to him for marriage. Then wait and see what he says. He’ll tell you what to do.”

5 Ruth said, “If you say so, I’ll do it, just as you’ve told me.”

4.13 Boaz married Ruth. She became his wife. Boaz slept with her. By God’s gracious gift she conceived and had a son.

14-15 The town women said to Naomi, “Blessed be God! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life. May this baby grow up to be famous in Israel! He’ll make you young again! He’ll take care of you in old age. And this daughter-in-law who has brought him into the world and loves you so much, why, she’s worth more to you than seven sons!”

16 Naomi took the baby and held him in her arms, cuddling him, cooing over him, waiting on him hand and foot.

17 The neighborhood women started calling him “Naomi’s baby boy!” But his real name was Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.

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

Psalm 127
A Pilgrim Song of Solomon
1-2 If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn’t guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don’t you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?

3-5 Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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Written by Monte

November 8, 2006 at 12:57 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Do any of us?
    Here’s the hole into which I fall: “If only I will LET him” turns into yet another traitor, persuading me that if I’ll only try harder at letting him . . .
    Once in a while, I get that joy is the wonder that it really is OK with God, right now, just like it is – or, as the song says, Just As I Am.
    Cheers, friend! Rest on!


    November 9, 2006 at 10:59 pm

  2. Don’t you know he enjoys
    giving rest to those he loves?

    3-5 Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
    the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
    I am amused at God’s ironic sense of humor–that he enjoys giving rest to those he loves, immediately followed by children being His best gift. I love how He promises time and time again that He is all I need. He will be my rest, my all, if only I will LET Him. Why I can’t let Him, and continually try to go at it under my own steam, which is sadly lacking, I have yet to figure out. I’ve been a Christian for 6 years now, but maybe I don’t know what it means to be truly reliant on God…


    November 8, 2006 at 2:43 pm

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