Bible Readings and Devotion for May 11, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for May 11, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
In the early years of the variety and comedy show, Saturday Night Live, there was a recurring character. Her name was Emily Litella, and she was portrayed by Gilda Radner. Ms. Litella would often show up in the, “Weekend Update,” segment, which was a commentary on current news. Ms. Litella was an older woman who was very hard of hearing. The comedy was based on Ms. Litella mishearing something in the news, reacting to the wrong things, and then presenting a guest editorial on the Weekend Update. Sometime during her presentation the news anchor would interrupt her to correct her misinformation. Then she would end her misguided editorial and say, “Never mind.” Here is a short sample, about 1 minute, 30 seconds, of one of these silly sketches from around 1975.
I mention Emily Litella and her misunderstanding because of what we see in today’s reading from John chapter 7. There is an argument going on among the people regarding Jesus. At least some of the argument arises from a lack of correct information regarding the story of Jesus’ life. Here is part of that discussion: “But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? 42 Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?””
The people arguing that Jesus could not be the Messiah were basing their point on a lack of proper information. It was half-truth of sorts. What was true: Jesus grew up in Galilee. This is the area in the north, near the Sea of Galilee. So, those rejecting that Jesus could be the Messiah were right, he came, in a sense, from Galilee. Therefore, his life was not a fulfillment of the prophecy.
The information which they had wrong was about the location of his birth. We know that he was born in Bethlehem of Judea, and this was a fulfilment of prophecy. After his time in Egypt to avoid being murdered by Herod the Great, Jesus and his family moved back to where his mother and stepfather had lived previously. The moved to Nazareth in Galilee. About 85-90% of Jesus’ life before his ministry years was spent in the City of Nazareth. It was somewhat logical to say he was from there. We have recorded in Matthew and Luke the stories of his birth in Bethlehem. We hear about why and how that happened. We then hear about how they fled from Bethlehem and ended up in Egypt. Then we hear about how the family moved back and into Nazareth. Since we have the Gospel books, we know these facts about his life. Those arguing against Jesus’ being the Messiah were lacking what we know.
All of us have times when we base an idea, argument, or belief, etc. on a lack of information. This can happen in any area of our lives. It can even happen with our understanding of Jesus and our faith. I know that I continue to gain information about God’s Word and our common faith as I moved through life.
We can have a variety of reactions to finding that we were wrong or had a partial misunderstanding. One reaction is to deny anything has been wrong. One is to attack the person or source which brought the misinformation to light. One is to take an honest look at the information and, if needed, make adjustments to one’s ideas or belief. In looking back on life, I feel that the last one is the most helpful.
I can be awkward or embarrassing to have chosen a misinformed or confused belief or idea. My hope is that one’s pride will be turned to humility. It may take time to process new information. It may challenge long held ideas or conclusions about some things. In the end, I feel that my faith is deeper as I have worked through things to gain a better understanding of something in God’s Word, history, Biblical languages, etc.
In anything of this sort when I help someone know more about a situation, my goal is this: I want to help a person grow in their faith and to know better how to love God and neighbor. I want the person to end up with a better connection with the Lord. In any correction or broadening of ideas you encounter, my hope and prayer is the you ultimately will be drawn closer to the Lord.
Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, which you have given us in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.