Readings: March 13, 2106, 5th Sunday in Lent

All readings from the Message Bible  © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Isaiah 43:16-21

This is what God says,  the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path  through pounding waves,

The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—they lie down and then can’t get up;  they’re snuffed out like so many candles:

“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.

Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?

There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.

Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ — the coyotes and the buzzards—

Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth,

Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.

  • Philippians 3:8-14

Brothers and sisters,  The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ.

Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—‘God’s righteousness’.

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

            Focused on the Goal

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

  • John 8:1-11

           To Throw the Stone

Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

“No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”


 

 

 

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