Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lectionary Ruminations: Scripture for Worship on May 3, 2009

Here are the passages for May 3rd, 2009, the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B). All links are to the TNIV via, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead (either with your own Bible, or via the drop-down menu at

Acts 4:5-12
  • Last week, I asked if Peter's accusations against his audience were intended personally, or generally. I'm a bit more confident that at least part of Peter's similar accusation in this passage is direct, given the presence of Annas and Caiaphas, who played a role in Jesus' crucifixion (although I find it intriguing that the only other of mention of either Annas or Caiaphas written by Luke himself doesn't mention this).
  • Why do the elders and priests ask Peter and John about what "power" and "name" through which they healed the beggar (which was actually done before last week's reading. Perhaps it's also worth asking why the actual healing hasn't been included in the readings for this season)? In particular, why should the "name" be important?
Psalm 23
  • This is arguably the most well-known of all Psalms. Why is it so popular?
1 John 3:16-24
  • How do you think John defines "pity," as the word is used in verse 17?
  • John seems to argue for the importance of obeying God's commands. What commands does John to seem to have in mind in this passage? Does he prioritize or emphasize anything in particular?
John 10:11-18
  • As with the Psalm above, this passage uses the imagery of a shepherd and his sheep to talk about what God (in this case, in the person of Jesus Christ) is like. Shepherds and sheep are common illustrations in Scripture, but aren't things seen often by many Christians in our urban and suburban churches today. In fact, for many, I expect that everything that many people think they know about sheep and shepherds comes from Bible references and sermons given in church. How do we bring true understanding of what is meant by these illustrations to such an audience?
  • Jesus suggests that his sheep know his voice. What does this suggest for people who have doubts about their faith, in some cases perhaps even wondering whether or not they are truly Christian?
  • Does Jesus suggest that his Father's love is contingent upon Jesus' death on the cross? How should we understand what he means in verse 17, and what are the implications for God's love for us?

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