Daily Bible Readings – Friday, May 10, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 91

Prayer Point.  Are you or someone you know struggling with fear? Meditate and pray through this psalm. Remember that if God rescued Jesus from the grave, he will also be a refuge for us, who belong to Jesus.

Luke 9:28-36

Background. Peter, James and John formed Jesus’ inner circle of disciples, yet even they did not fully understand who he was.  Jesus’ divinity was veiled for much of his earthly life, but in today’s reading, the curtain is pulled back for a moment and they are allowed to see a glimpse of his full glory.

Two men appear with Jesus, the prophet Elijah and Israel’s great liberator, Moses. These two men personify Israel’s religious tradition, the Law and Prophets.  Moses is the great Law-giver while Elijah is the greatest of Israel’s prophets.

The word “departure” in verse 30 refers to Jesus’ approaching crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven.

Pay close attention to …

  • How well Peter, James and John “supported” Jesus in his prayer mission.
  • Jesus’ new appearance.
  • The subject of Jesus’ conversation with Moses and Elijah and what it says about his connection to the Law and the Prophets. See also Luke 24:44-27.
  • Peter’s awkward response to the vision and why his plan is unworkable.
  • What God the Father has to say to Peter, James and John.

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share.

What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

Hebrews 4:14-5:6

Background. Over a thousand years  before the letter to the Hebrews was written, the Israelites looked out over the land that God had promised them, but they refused to go in (see Numbers 13-14 for that tragic story). The had an opportunity to enter the land of God’s rest, but they shrank back. Why? Because they feared the people of Canaan more than they believed in God’s power to keep his promises.

The Christians addressed in today’s reading are tempted by the same fear and unbelief.  They have begun to follow Christ, but they, like their ancestors, are considering giving up the journey.  The opposition is too stiff and their faith is growing weaker by the day. The author writes to convince them not to succumb to fear and unbelief.

Central to the writer’s argument is Jesus’ role as high priest or more properly the high priest. The priests of the Old Testament and the ones who served at the temple were descendants of Moses’ brother Aaron.  They represented the people of Israel before God, offering sacrifices to him on their behalf. Jesus, as you will see from today’s reading, is of a high order of priest, not a son of Aaron, but a forever priest in the order of Melchizedek.  Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness”, was the ancient king-priest of Salem which would later be called Jerusalem.  He was recognized by Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, to be a priest of God and greater than himself and greater than priests that would descend from his own great-grandson, Levi.  Aaron was a descendent of Levi. (See Genesis 14:18-20 for Melchizedek’s story.)

Pay close attention to …

  • How Jesus’ superior qualities as a high priest gives us the confidence to persevere under trial.

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share.

What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

Ezekiel 1:28-3:3

Background. Ezekiel is being sent to a rebellious people.  This is curious because these same people had been shipped off to Babylon just because of their rebelliousness: it appears no lesson was learned.  He is also being addressed by God as “son of man”.  This is a title which Jesus ascribes to himself, but Jesus did not attribute this choice to Ezekiel but rather to Daniel who first used it in Daniel 7:13.

Pay close attention to…

  • What Ezekiel does when he sees “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.” (v. 1:28 )*
  • What happens to Ezekiel once he is told to stand up (v. 2:2 )
  • Ezekiel’s mission (vv. 2:3-4, 7 )
  • What the LORD says to Ezekiel to encourage him (the same encouragement was given to Jeremiah) (v.2:6 )
  • What Ezekiel receives (v. 2:9 )**
  • What Ezekiel is told to do with this scroll (v. 3:1 )***

* Ezekiel falls to his knees when he sees “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.”   This is a constant in the book of Revelation.

** Ezekiel receives a scroll and is told to eat it.  John, too, is given a scroll and told to do that also.
“Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: ‘Go take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.
“So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll.  He said to me, ‘Take it and eat it.'”
Revelation 10:8-9 (NIV)

It appears that both Ezekiel and John had similar glimpses of heaven.

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share.

What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

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