Bible Blog 46

Reading 1, 1 John 1:5—2:2

5 This is what we have heard from him and are declaring to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all

6 If we say that we share in God’s life while we are living in darkness, we are lying, because we are not living the truth.

7 But if we live in light, as he is in light, we have a share in one another’s life, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

8 If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and truth has no place in us;

9 if we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil.

10 If we say, ‘We have never sinned,’ we make him a liar, and his word has no place in us.

2 He is the sacrifice to expiate our sins, and not only ours, but also those of the whole world. 

This is an astonishing passage. It tells us, amongst other things, that there is no darkness in God. That means, no hate, no fury, no favouritism, no injustice. If that’s true then quite a number of stories about God are false. (See below)

 It also tells us that if we live in the light of Christ and tell the truth about ourselves, we are no longer isolated but “share a life with one another.” That’s a good translation of the Greek word, “koiononia”, which was used of commercial enterprise, “a share in a business”, a “partnership.” My good fortune will be shared with my bothers and sisters, as they will come to my side in bad times. There’s some evidence that the first Christians actually lived this way.

Even more, if we tell the truth about ourselves, acknowledging our sin, we are forgiven through Christ’s sacrificial offering of himself to God. We can’t make that offering ourselves, but together, with Jesus, we can make a new beginning in truth.

 John says, “The blood of Jesus” meaning his death on the cross, and also his offering of his life in his ministry. Wilfrid Owen, the poet of the First World War refers to this meaning of blood, when he writes, “Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.” Sacrifice can be living as well as dying.

 

Gospel, Matthew 2:13-18

13 After they had left, suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’

 14 So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: I called my son out of Egypt.

 16 Herod was furious on realising that he had been fooled by the wise men, and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district he had all the male children killed who were two years old or less, reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men.

17 Then were fulfilled the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly: it is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more.

  If God is responsible, via his star, for the wise men coming to Jerusalem and making Herod aware of the new-born king of the Jews, how can He be excused when He warns the wise men and the holy family but leaves innocent children to suffer the consequences of His carelessness? Is this a good story about God? 

4 comments

  1. Jackie Durkee · · Reply

    Well, I was inline with your reflections until I got to this last part. You almost make it seems that God was mistaken and did something wrong.

    I have no answers as to why God allowed the children to suffer, but I feel certain that there was no carelessness in his actions. He is holy, He is light, He is God, Creator of all the Universe.

    There is darkness in the world until God heralds in the New Heaven and New Earth. People are going to die and suffer unjustly. God sees the BIG picture. I trust his ways.

  2. Of course I want to think the same. Yes, bad things happen, and believers will trust that God knows best. However in this instance someone tells a story which shows God bringing about the bad things. The question is: do we need to believe the story (just because it’s in our bible)?

    Maybe sometime we have to trust what we know about God rather than what we’re told. Or is that too dangerous?

    I’m not sure I’m right in this matter, but I’m sure it’s right to ask the question.

  3. Jackie Durkee · · Reply

    Well, yes, you do have a right to ask any question and believe what you want to believe. I believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God and do believe everything in it is true. I don’t claim to begin to know all that is in it or in this case why God allowed the children to die. I guess that is just one of the many many questions I’ll have when I get to heaven.

    I still love reading the reflections on your site even at times when I might disagree.

    God Bless You and Yours.

  4. Thanks for the comment and the blessings! Yes, I understand the view that all scripture is inspired, but I would rather say that all scripture authors were inspired. I think I’ve known inspired people, but that did not mean they could not make mistakes. The inspiration didn’t mean they weren’t human and prone to error. So while venerating the scriptures and attending to them day by day, I think they contain statements with which we should argue. For example if we accept the scripture’s definition of God as love, we may want to argue with verses that depict God as giving commands to kill man woman child and animals in Canaanite cities. In general we ought to interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New; and even within the New we should question anything that is not worthy of the character of Christ. Sometimes our argument with scripture may end up proving us wrong, but we should still argue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: