Faith News

A message from St George parish church


Joan Conway….An Easter commentary and Bible exercise

Introduction

Easter Day is the first day of a season of joyful reflection on the resurrection of Jesus. The victory of Easter is the precursor of the final victory and redemption.
This season, which includes Ascension Day, ends at Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter.  During the Easter Season I have prepared some commentaries, reflections bible exercises for us to think on, whilst we are journeying apart from each other.  Peace be with you, Joan

The Easter Anthems

Christ our passover has been sacrificed for us:
so let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old leaven of corruption and wickedness:
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.   1 Corinthians 5.7b, 8

Christ once raised from the dead dies no more:
death has no more dominion over him.
In dying he died to sin once for all:
in living he lives to God.
See yourselves therefore as dead to sin:
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord.   Romans 6.9–11

Christ has been raised from the dead:
the first fruits of those who sleep.
For as by man came death:
by man has come also the resurrection of the dead;
for as in Adam all die:
even so in Christ shall all be made alive.   1 Corinthians 15.20–22

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

A song of deliverance

Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid,
for the Lord God[a] is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
And you will say in that day:
Give thanks to the Lord,
call on his name;
make known his deeds among the nations;
proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be known[b] in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal[c] Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.  Isaiah 12. 2 – 6

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Bible exercise

How did they know and what happened next?     Look up the passages and fill in the gaps

Luke 24, 1 – 49

But on the first day of the week …

They told all this to the eleven …

Now on that same day …

That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem …

While they were talking …

Stay here in the city …

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The I AM sayings in John’s Gospel

The phrase “I am …” appears in the Gospel of John many times.
It is formed of two Greek words [ἐγώ εἰμι] that seem to mean the same thing:
ego – I am; eimi – I exist.

So why does Jesus use this structure used?

In the Septuagint [Greek version of the Old Testament] it appears in Isaiah: 43. 10(11), 25.
God declares that God is the Lord and God forgives sins.
In Exodus (3.14), when Moses tells God that he needs a name to tell the people who is sending Moses with instructions for escaping from Egypt, God responds with the phrase translated as ἐγώ εἰμι in the Septuagint, as “I AM WHO I AM” in the NRSV translation, and is written אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה in the Hebrew text.

There has been much discussion over the translation of this text especially with regard to the tense of the phrase.

For us, in John’s Gospel we can consider whether we think that Jesus’ use of the phrase is an assertion of his identity, his self-understanding, and then we can look at the various ways in which he connects with us through the use of pictures such as Good Shepherd, Way, Life, True Bread …

I AM the Door (Gate) – John 10. 1 – 10

There are links with the Hebrew Scriptures:
Psalm 24. 7 – the gates and doors are urged to let the King of glory in.
Exodus 12. 22 – door posts covered in the blood of a lamb acts as a protection: the Lord will passover and not let the destroyer enter.
Psalm 84. 10 – the door keeper
Deuteronomy 6.4 – 9 – the shema (commandments) on the door posts

Jesus speaks to the disciples and the leaders

10:7 – So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.”
10:9 – “I am the gate; whoever enters by me will be saved”

In the time of Jesus it was usual to bring the sheep in from the pastures at night and put them into some kind of pen or enclosure which may have been shared by several shepherds. The sheep occupy the pen as a gathered community.

In our lives we are offered many doors, openings, opportunities but only one leads to salvation.

Through Jesus the gate we, the sheep, can come in and go out in safety and find all we need.
Jesus opens the door to eternal life.
Through Jesus, the door, we gain entry to the kingdom.

In the present situation we cannot gather physically as a community, our doors are closed to others and many doors and gates are closed to us.
We have to find new ways to obtain access to and communicate with each other.

But Jesus, the entrance to eternal life, is always open to us, to welcome us in and accept us, because he has opened up a new relationship with God for us by his death on the cross.