Archive for the ‘kingdom of heaven’ tag
The text for this lesson is Revelation 21:1–22:21.
- Those who believe that salvation has been accomplished by the all-availing sacrifice of Jesus’ blood on the cross will bear the name of Christ written on their forehead in Holy Baptism, and will have the right to the tree of life.
- Law: If I do not believe in Christ as my Savior, I will not enter the gates of heaven.
- Gospel: I am baptized and believe in Jesus, the Lamb of God; He has written my name in His Book of Life, and I shall be saved.
This is the acme of John’s Revelation, indeed, the crescendo of all the Scriptures. In many ways, it is also a digest or summary of the Bible, for in these two chapters is contained the teachings of sin and salvation, heaven and hell, Jesus and the Church, the Holy Trinity, and so forth. John plucks images, as if flowers, from various other books of the Old Testament and New Testament to weave this textual bouquet that pictures the inheritance of the saints.
The text for this lesson is Mark 12:41–44.
- Just as the widow gave all she had to God, trusting Him to provide and care for her, so Jesus gave His all for us, who fail to trust in God for all things.
- Law: God demands that I love Him with all my heart, all my soul, and all my might and that I be willing to hand over to Him all that I am and have.
- Gospel: Christ loves me with all His heart, all His soul, and all His might, and willingly gave up His life and poured out His blood for me to ransom me and make me His own.
Preceding this story are several incidents that involve Jesus’ face-offs with the religious leaders of the day—the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes. The Pharisees challenge Him about taxes (Mark 12:13–17), the Sadducees about the resurrection (Mark 12:18–27), and the scribes about the priority of the commandments (Mark 12:28–34). Right before spotting the widow, Jesus dresses down the scribes for strutting peacockishly about in their “long robes” (Mark 12:38), their narcissistic addiction to public praise, and the heartless way they “devour widows’ houses” (Mark 12:40). Presumably, Jesus means the way these teachers swindle widows out of their savings, all supposedly in the service of God.