Fifth Sunday in Lent
Isaiah 43; John 12

Lectionary Text for Fifth Sunday in Lent:

Isaiah 43:16-21:

16Thus says the Lord,
   who makes a way in the sea,
   a path in the mighty waters,
17who brings out chariot and horse,
   army and warrior;
   they lie down, they cannot rise,
   they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18Do not remember the former things,
   or consider the things of old.
19I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
   I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert.
20The wild animals will honor me,
   the jackals and the ostriches;
   for I give water in the wilderness,
   rivers in the desert,
   to give drink to my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself
   so that they might declare my praise.

John 12:1-8:
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’

COMMENT: “I am about to do a new thing… Do you perceive it?” Do you recognize it?

Discernment is the spiritual gift that enables us to recognize the nature and ways of God. We see this gift working in the life of Peter. Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” Matthew 16:15-17

We see discernment manifested in Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, “"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world." John 11:27

Then there is Mary who sees through this marvelous gift that she must prepare Jesus for what he is about to face, his suffering. She recognizes that a “new thing” is about to happen through the darkness of this impending sacrifice and death. So she anoints her Messiah and Savior.

Paul the Apostle teaches us that we can desire and therefore pray for the use of spiritual gifts in our lives. 1 Corinthians 14. The ‘giving up’ that we are encouraged during Lent can make room for the ‘taking on’.

Oh LORD, we desire and pray for the gift of discernment that we may see you and the “new things” you daily offer for us and for our neighbors and ultimately for your glory. AMEN

Lenten Blessings,
Rev. Julia
©March 19, 2010

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