March - Reading 20

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Mar 20, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good morning -

    In Matthew this evening we read about the account of Jesus before Pilate. This is an interesting account and despitr thr popular opinion regarding Pilate, I actually feel sympathy toward him. Christ was born and grew up in an occupied country. The Roman empire held the reins of all of the known world at the time and appointed governors to the regions that they occupied. Pilate was the governor for Judea.

    Even though he was in charge of the government and represented Rome, Pilate was dealing with a VERY angry mob in this passage. There is very little that any governing authority can do about a mob once they become incensed. Pilate washed his hands because they were tied. If he had released Christ it is likely that Pilate himself would have been lynched.

    I do not know that we really have any concrete history on Pilate aside from the scriptures, but the legend is that he continued wringing his hands incessantly until they were bloody. People who exhibit this behavior in modern times are said to have a Pontius Pilate complex. It is an outward manifestation of guilt.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth
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    You know I said a couple of weeks ago, that I found the Old Testament reading `hard going` ? ? Well, now I`m finding it hard to stop reading, enjoying this so much, and learning such a lot.
    Thanks for your daily encouragement, and words of wisdom, this is helping me a lot.
    Gwyneth
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  4. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth
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    2 years on - still reading AND still learning. Thank you Clint for all you are doing.
    Gwyneth
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson – 1/8/06

    Romans 12:9-21

    Today’s Passage has an obvious central theme: love. It is not, by far, the only New Testament writing on the subject. Love is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); it is the companion of the Spirit (Romans 5:5); it is what unites all other Christian virtues (Colossians 3:14); it is the ground upon which we as Christians walk (Ephesians 5:2). Certainly, most students will also remember the beautiful hymn of love that is 1Corinthians 13. Indeed, Christian brotherhood is a community of love, a love that is not confined only to ourselves, but to all of mankind (John 13:34; Matthew 5:44).

    To hold to the context of Romans as a single Letter, we must recognize that Paul is continuing his thoughts from verse 8 calling upon the Roman congregation to recognize and respect the diversity among its various members. The final phrase in that set of imperatives was for those who showed mercy to do so with cheerfulness. The leap to a discussion of the merits of love, beginning within the church, is a logical one.

    Romans 12:9-13 The Call to Walk in Love

    Love is so precious and such a rarity that there is always the danger that it may be substituted. Non-genuine love is literally hypocrisy (dissimulation- KJV). A parallel follows the call for genuineness personifying “good” and “evil.” We are told to abhor that which is evil but cleave to that which is good. “Evil” in this instance is not the disembodied concept of all that is bad but specifically in the context referencing malice or unkindness. The term we translate as “cleave” or hold to” means to “join with glue.” It is the same term Paul uses for sexual relations in 1Corinthians 6:16.

    We are instructed to love one another as brothers. Indeed, we are all adopted into one family, related to one another by the blood of Christ. Paul adds, however, not only do we live in love with one another but also we demonstrate such with kind affection. This imperative is also reflected throughout much of the New Testament (i.e. Philippians 2:3). Our show of affection for one another is not an effort to seek honor, though honorable it may be, but to display it, to bestow it upon each other.

    Next we are told to display this love with zeal. The word rendered “business” in the KJV is not our financial affairs. The same term in verse 8 is translated “diligence.” Paul is telling us to be unwavering in our zeal for outdoing one another with kindness and affection. The same words are used of Apollos in Acts 18:25 where it is said that he was “aglow with the Spirit.” Being fervent towards our service of one another makes us servants of God.

    Rejoicing in the hope which the Gospel produces enables us to be patient during tribulation. It is this patience that would carry the Christian community through the coming persecution of Nero. To be constant in prayer implies that it is not only the good times that evoke prayers of thanksgiving nor the bad times that bring prayers of petition that should be observed. Prayer is always an appropriate response for a believer. The good times and bas times merely bracket the whole of our life.

    Verse 13 calls for us to contribute to the needs of the Christian community. This is not only our offerings to the church but our contributions to each other. It should also not be interpreted as only monetary contributions but as all the things we do to contribute to the betterment of each other. The term “hospitality” is a turning point in this Passage as it involves moving outside of the sphere of the local church. Hospitality is kindness offered to strangers or travelers.

    Romans 12:14-21 Love Towards Those Not Within the Community

    It is believed by many that Paul is quoting the oral tradition of the Beatitudes in the Gospel as he opens this section. To bless one’s enemies is a high calling and can only be done through the aid of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The term “bless” is present tense. It is an action that is to be done constantly. Continue blessing them. Cursing is not cussing, though this would also be inappropriate. It instead refers to devoting to destruction, either physically or with one’s words. When Jesus cursed the fig tree, it withered away. Thus those whom God curses are doomed. For the Christian to curse is to call upon the power and right of God to destroy for him. Paul will pick up this thought in verse 19.

    In the meantime, Paul calls upon us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Joining in with empathy towards your neighbor is a duty important to the Christian community, both towards each other and the world at large. It is this compassion for our fellow man that helps us influence our society.

    Interestingly, it is often more difficult to share in joy than in sorrow. Envy and anger can block these feelings of joy for our neighbor. To “weep” in the Scriptures implies more than just shedding tears. It is an outpouring of emotion. Christ wept at the grave of Lazarus and He wept on the cross. It is the special duty of Christians to lessen another’s sorrows by sharing them.

    The call to be of the same mind in verse 16 has given rise to various interpretations. Some interpret it to mean that we should enter one another’s circumstances to see how we would feel. Others claim that Paul is calling for unified doctrine throughout the Christian community. The literal translation would imply that we are to seek for each other what we seek for ourselves. We should not be pursuing different interests and different goals. In the interest of brotherhood we should not indulge in counter plans and engage each other as opponents.

    We are not to set our mind on associating with only those who can raise our social standing but also with the meek and lowly. The neighbor in need is the one who needs our love, the love of Christ we reflect. Our Savior took the lowly form of mortal man for us. How much less it is for us to take the position of advocate for the weak.

    We must never think of ourselves as somehow better than our brother. Conceit is the opposite of humility and there is no room for boasting in our religion. Is your neighbor poor or sick or homeless? Then sympathize with him. It is the duty of the Christian to show compassion for him. Were it not for God, you too would be in the lowest of estates. Recognize that in the face of the destitute you are seeing the face of Christ (Matthew 25:37-40).

    Paul then gives us admonition on revenge. It is not our place to seek revenge on our neighbor. We must allow God time to work His wrath on those deserving it. He is perfectly capable of administering social justice. This is one of the most difficult precepts of the Christian religion but the Scriptures are quite unyielding on the subject. The term rendered “provide” in the KJV means more properly “think upon.” Thus we are to think things through before taking action. The goal of thinking things through is to be done in the sight of all men. They will know we are Christian because of our humility in the face of adversity.

    As the Christian awaits God’s vengeance upon the wicked, he is to observe the teachings of Proverbs 25:21-22. The concept of heaping burning coals upon an adversaries head has raised various interpretations. However, it seems likely that Paul means that by showing our enemy kindness we are allowing for the future retribution of God. In some cases, repaying evil with good brings shame to our perpetrator. The repentance of our enemy should always be the goal of the Christian. We, too, were once at enmity with God.

    The Passage ends with Paul’s advise to not be overcome with evil. Do not let it get you down or be overwhelmed by bad treatment from others. Keep your temper and remain mild and humble. This is the way of our religion. We turn the other cheek – not seven times but seven times seventy. Overcompensate evil with the good that you do. In this way we calm our enemies wrath and demonstrate the love of Christ to others.

    Albert Barnes made a grand summary of verse 21:

     
  6. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth
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    Hello Clint,
    I`m still here reading and learning, thank you for your faithfull posting and the commentaries.
    Gwyneth :wavey:
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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