Being disciples of the living God

Can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Year B 3rd Sunday in Lent,
Psalm                         Psalm 19
First Reading:               Exodus 20:1-17           
Second Reading:                    1 Cor 1:18-25             
Gospel:                        John 2:13-22               

What I want to say:
I want to use the reading from exodus and John’s story of Jesus clearing the temple to explore what it means to be disciples of the living God.
What I want to happen:
reflect on what motivates their life in God

The Sermon

       1.      Introduction:

first, thank you to all who made last Sunday such a special day
if you have to have one of these birthdays, you helped me bring it in in style.
what questions or comments do you have about today’s readings – talk to neighbour

       2.      The big things

some really big questions come out of today’s readings
Decalogue – 10 commandments
-          as said before
-          not rules to obey to gain God’s favour – get into heaven for example
-          offered in story at time when people God lived in presence of Living God
o   pillar of cloud during the day
o   pillar flame at night
Ø  once in promised land
o   shekinah/glory/presence God resided in temple
these are rules about how to life is such a presence
wonder how often we read these as guidelines for living in presence of God
do we even see ourselves as living in presence of God
or is God far off somewhere?

       3.      Raruraru

with the establishment of temple
growth of sacrificial system
debate began grow within Judaism over time
between two traditions
one – prophetic said that to live in presence of God meant to obey laws –
Micah 6:8 offers this summary
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (NRSV)
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously. (Msg)
-          temple cult said that to live in presence God meant obeying cultic laws
-          ensure right sacrifices performed at the right time
o   if all was well with rites of temple
o   then all well with God
Christians long had same debate
-          those said that to love God and be a disciple of Jesus beloved is to live justly and to be engaged in social justice
-          those that said that praying and worshipping God is heart of what it means to be a Christian
o   might do other stuff when we have time
o   Anglicans often seen to be in this camp
§  most important thing is that we do our liturgy properly
see that same Raruraru or debate in story in Gospel
Jesus clearing the temple

       4.      Jesus clearing the temple

Gospel reading is John’s version of Jesus clearing temple
are some significant differences between this version and that found in the synoptic gospels
-          this story is at the beginning of Jesus ministry – not end as in Matthew, Mark and Luke
o   not reason ruling elite decide he must die
-          some reasons for tension are different
o   Jesus seems way less aggrieved about the corruption within these necessary support systems around the temple cult
instead John is saying Jesus is doing 2 things
a.      seems to be aligning himself with prophetic tradition
-> way live as people God was not about temple cult and all sacrifices and ritual
-> doing justice, and to love kindness, and to walking humbly with God.
b. John clearly understands that Jesus is new temple
Shekinah/glory/presence of God is found in Jesus, the Word made flesh
not in temple
huge claim

       5.      New Temple

These stories are all about discipleship
about being followers of One God
John’s claim is that we meet this God in Jesus
new temple
where Shekinah/glory of presence of God resides.
As bode Christ – we become the new temple
where Shekinah/glory of presence of God resides.
This Lent invite you to reflect on how we are that temple
how we reveal Shekinah/glory of presence of God in Tauranga today


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