Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7

OT: Hosea 6:1-9:17

This reading seemed long to me, and I see why: it was over three chapters. (And no, I don't know why I don't look closely at the scripture references before I read). The theme of today's reading was more on the moral failings of Israel and Judah and on their eventual punishment.

The verse that most jumped out at me today was, of course, Hosea 6:6, which reads,

"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
an acknowledgment of God
rather than burnt offerings."

Of course, we know that Jesus quoted this verse. And thinking about his reference, I was hit by a really obvious thought: Jesus had read Hosea. I know, I know--earth-shattering, isn't it? But I continued to read the passage with the awareness that Jesus had most likely read and been familiar with the same things I was reading today. I guess why that idea had an effect on me was b/c the OT often is so confusing to me, and specifically, it seems so different from Jesus and His teachings. I think it was comforting to me to be reminded that Jesus was far more familiar with the OT than I am, and yet, He did not repudiate it or seem to think it contradicted His own message. In His mind then, the OT must have fit in with what He was teaching in the NT. Again, that is all super-obvious, and I know the testaments fit together and all that. It is just hard for me to understand sometimes how some of the ideas in the Old fit with the New. And thus, it is comforting to be reminded that Jesus Himself was well aware of the OT teachings and obviously knew that His teachings were the natural continuation of God's plan for man.

NT: 3 John 1: 1-14

Here's what Writings of the New Testament had to say about 3 John:

"Third John is a genuine personal letter and provides us with the only specific names in the dispute generating the Johannine correspondence: Gaius, Demetrius, and Diotrephes. The good Greco-Roman names indicate the presence of the of a Gentile component in the Johannine communities. The short farewell indicates that these churches call themselves 'friends' (14), following the teachings of Jesus (John 15:12-15). The elder who writes aligns himself with the 'true witness' of the Fourth Gospel: 'You know that our testimony is true' (12; cf John 19:35, 21:24). The author calls Gaius 'beloved' (1,2,5,11), but this individual is otherwise unknown to us. He appears to be the head of a household, since the elder praises him for his hospitality to traveling Christians (5-6)."

It's interesting--the author doesn't ever claim to be John. And yet, it all sounds so much like John to me. And clearly, it came out of the same community, and clearly, they were well aware of the gospel of John. But it's still interesting. Why didn't the author identify himself? And why do we call these books 1, 2, and 3 John if the author never identified himself as John? I guess it goes back to the fact that, as Johnson notes, they almost certainly came from the same community: "Most scholars consider the FG [John] and the three letters to have the same provenance if not authorship."

Psalm 126: 1-6

A psalm apparently describing a return from exile. It is great to read this happy news, considering all we have read lately about the actual exile.

Prov. 29:12-14

Verse 12 is about the corrupting effects of a bad ruler. Verse 13 reminds us that God is the giver of all of our lives and talents. Verse 14 predicts the longevity of a king who is fair.

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