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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Speaking Christian in our Lenten Journey Titles of Jesus – Lord and Saviour



Speaking Christian in our Lenten Journey
Titles of Jesus – Lord and Saviour
           
We continue in our Lenten journey with our focus on Jesus and how we might
relate to Him through the titles he received through his ministry before his death and after his resurrection. How one calls upon Jesus embraces our love and experience of him. Who do you say that Jesus is and by what name do you speak to Him?

Jesus is Lord is the most widespread early Christian affirmation about him. Paul refers to Jesus as Lord and Saviour in many of his letters. Lord in a Jewish context referred to God. It carried with it the notion of loyalty and allegiance. To say that “Jesus is Lord ’meant that he is the revelation of God to whom we are to be committed.  To call Jesus, Lord was to remove this title from the emperor and show the worthiness of Christ to those who believed.

As Saul is travelling the road to Damascus he meets Jesus as a bright light. Jesus calls ou and asks, “Saul, Saul, Why do you persecute me? Saul asks, who are you Lord? Not stating fully his support to Jesus but out of respect to one that is above him. It is only later after he truly believes and has faith in Him, that Saul/ Paul calls upon his as Lord and Saviour. (Acts 22)

The title “Saviour” in a Jewish context is associated with liberation from bondage that is the exodus story and also refers to the time when a change occurs—from exile, from peril and from burdens of sin. The Roman emperor was also called saviour because Caesar Augustus he had brought peace on earth by defeating Mark Anthony and Cleopatra in 31 BCE . But when early Christians spoke of Jesus as Saviour, they were contrasting two meanings of this word.

Roman imperial theology interpreted “Saviour” as one who brought peace through military victory and power. Yet when we call Jesus “Saviour” we mean one who brings peace on earth through justice and non-violence.

Jesus before Easter occurred, challenged the thinking of the Roman world as well as the temple authority.
Jesus is called Saviour and Lord throughout the epistles of Paul for after he came to believe in Jesus, he believed Christ as his Saviour—bringing peace to his world, and Lord because he respected loved and adored him.

How do you understand Jesus as Saviour?  Has Christ ‘saved’ you from something and given you peace you have never felt before?
How do you understand Jesus as Lord? Do you worship Jesus and give him the respect he deserves for his challenging both the governing authorities and the religious authorities of his time? What does it mean to call Jesus, Saviour and Lord?

Prayer:
Gracious God we praise you for Jesus- our Saviour and our Lord. Help us to understand that depth of his challenges he made to the world in which he lived. To Roman authority , to religious powers- he spoke and brought peace in non- violent ways. Remind us again why we love him, worship him and follow him. We ask in the Saviour’s name. Amen.

Reflection:
How do you see Jesus as Saviour and Lord? Is it out of respect and admiration for his challenging the authorities of his time? Or is it because you firmly believe that he has saved you from sin and you follow him?  Tough questions of faith- but it is to faith we are called through Jesus- Saviour, Lord,…

Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power- and how they can be restored, Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2012.

Friday, 21 March 2014

What Do You Call Your Jesus?



Speaking Christian in our Lenten Journey
Titles of Jesus – Son of God
Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5, Matthew 27:54
           
As we continue in our Lenten journey our focus is Jesus and how we might
relate to Him. How do you describe Jesus and your relationship with Him? Who do you say that Jesus is?

Throughout Jesus ministry there were moments when He revealed himself as the Son of God yet implored his followers to say nothing about what they heard and had seen. Mary knew prior to His birth that she would be pregnant because of God and that the baby she would carry would change the world. Yet even in the moments prior to his first miracle at the wedding of Cana, Jesus implored her and said, my time has not yet come. But Mary knew that one day his time would come. One day he would be revealed as the Son of God and when this occurred he would die on a cross for the sake of all people.
What does ‘Son of God’ mean?

In a Jewish context this meant different things. Sometimes it meant Israel as a whole, sometimes to the king, and sometimes to heavenly beings. It was also used to refer to Jewish ‘holy men’ who were mystics and healers. All of these refer to somebody in an especially intimate relationship with God.
In the Roman context Son of God referred to the Roman emperor whose title appeared on coins and inscriptions throughout the empire. According to Roman spiritual theology, Augustus was the product of a divine conception conceived by Attia and Apollo. So when Jesus’ followers spoke of him as the “Son of God” they stated that he was intimately related to God and also the one challenging the claim that Caesar was also the son of God.

Jesus raised Lazarus from death (John 11) but prior to this he stated that “Lazarus’ sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Here, Jesus refers to himself as God’s Son for he knows that he will raise Lazarus to life so that people will know who he is.

When Jesus died there was an earthquake and many were terrified. The centurion exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

But we who believe in Jesus know him as the Son of God for he showed us how to live as his brothers and sisters, as children of our God. For it is through him that we are able to love others.
How do you understand “Son of God” as a name for Jesus?

Prayer:
Wonderful God  of love, we thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus to be our Saviour. Help us to understand the relationship you have with him as God and trinity and help us to understand how we may know Him as the son of God who came to save us.  Be with us we pray as we draw closer to Jesus and understand his purpose and the depths of his love for us. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Reflection:
How do you see Jesus as the Son of God? Is it through the intimate prayer relationship he had with God? Through the voice of God declaring him as his beloved Son? Or through the miracles he did to reveal his gifts. Just how do you see Jesus?

Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power- and how they can be restored, Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2012.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Son of God



Speaking Christian in our Lenten Journey
Titles of Jesus – Son of God
Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5, Matthew 27:54
           
As we continue in our Lenten journey our focus is Jesus and how we
might relate to Him. How do you describe Jesus and your relationship with Him? Who do you say that Jesus is?

Throughout Jesus ministry there were moments when He revealed himself as the Son of God yet implored his followers to say nothing about what they heard and had seen. Mary knew prior to His birth that she would be pregnant because of God and that the baby she would carry would change the world. Yet even in the moments prior to his first miracle at the wedding of Cana, Jesus implored her and said, my time has not yet come. But Mary knew that one day his time would come. One day he would be revealed as the Son of God and when this occurred he would die on a cross for the sake of all people.
What does ‘Son of God’ mean?
In a Jewish context this meant different things. Sometimes it meant Israel as a whole, sometimes to the king, and sometimes to heavenly beings. It was also used to refer to Jewish ‘holy men’ who were mystics and healers. All of these refer to somebody in an especially intimate relationship with God.
In the Roman context Son of God referred to the Roman emperor whose title appeared on coins and inscriptions throughout the empire. According to Roman spiritual theology, Augustus was the product of a divine conception conceived by Attia and Apollo. So when Jesus’ followers spoke of him as the “Son of God” they stated that he was intimately related to God and also the one challenging the claim that Caesar was also the son of God.

Jesus raised Lazarus from death (John 11) but prior to this he stated that “Lazarus’ sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Here, Jesus refers to himself as God’s Son for he knows that he will raise Lazarus to life so that people will know who he is.

When Jesus died there was an earthquake and many were terrified. The centurion exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

But we who believe in Jesus know him as the Son of God for he showed us how to live as his brothers and sisters, as children of our God. For it is through him that we are able to love others.
How do you understand “Son of God” as a name for Jesus?

Prayer:
Wonderful God  of love, we thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus to be our Saviour. Help us to understand the relationship you have with him as God and trinity and help us to understand how we may know Him as the son of God who came to save us.  Be with us we pray as we draw closer to Jesus and understand his purpose and the depths of his love for us. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Reflection:
How do you see Jesus as the Son of God? Is it through the intimate prayer relationship he had with God? Through the voice of God declaring him as his beloved Son? Or through the miracles he did to reveal his gifts. Just how do you see Jesus?

Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power- and how they can be restored, Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2012.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Jesus the Messiah



Speaking Christian in our Lenten Journey
Titles of Jesus - Messiah

            Early followers of Jesus shouted at him and questioned him as to
whether he was THE messiah. That is, the One who would come and deliver them from oppression and lead them into God’s hands as they followed Jesus teachings. For generations, the people expressed their need for a messiah for those in authority did not listen to their concerns. They saw him perform miracles and many believed. Yet they also wondered if he was the one they had been waiting for, or whether there was another. They had 0
What does the name “Messiah” mean and how do we understand this title of Jesus? Messiah comes from the Hebrew mashian which translated in English is “Christ”. This title was distinctly Jewish and had no resonance in the Roman world. In a Jewish context it referred to one anointed by God for a special role. In the Old Testament, it is sometimes used for the Jewish king. But by the first century, its meaning referred to the one promised and anointed by God to deliver the Jewish people from oppression and to bring in a new era on earth. But the expectation of a messiah differed. Some expected a warrior messiah; some expected two- a king and a priest; and still others though that God would bring in a new era without an intermediary. But to call Jesus the “Messiah” as his followers did meant that they saw him as the one anointed by God to be the deliverer.

As we journey through Lent we need to connect with Jesus and determine what we understand our relationship with him to be. How do we relate to Jesus? A friend, a teacher, Messiah/Christ? Who do you say that Jesus is?

Prayer:
Holy God we thank you for your gift to us in Jesus. As we journey through Lent we ask that you would enable us to know Jesus by the many names he is called. Help us to realize who he is and can be as we experience his passion, death and resurrection this Lent and Easter. We ask in the name of the Messiah, Jesus. Amen.

Reflection:
Do you see Jesus as the messiah/ Christ? What does this mean for you? Jesus is the Son of God and his purpose was to come to earth and teach us how to live love. Did Jesus serve as a deliverer? How?

Marcus J. Borg, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power- and how they can be restored, Detroit: Gale Cengage Learning, 2012.