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Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Thursday of the 4th week of Easter

Readings: Acts 13:13-25; Jn 13:16-21.

 

1/ Reading I: RSV Acts 13:13 Now Paul and his company set sail from Paphos, and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem; 14 but they passed on from Perga and came to Antioch of Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, "Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it." 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: "Men of Israel, and you that fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 And for about forty years he bore with them in the wilderness. 19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance, for about four hundred and fifty years. 20 And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21 Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king; of whom he testified and said, `I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.' 23 Of this man's posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before his coming John had preached a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, `What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'

2/ Gospel: RSV John 13:16 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, `He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.' 19 I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me." 21 When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."

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I. THEME: God fulfills all His plans and promises.

 

            There is a big difference between God’s and human will, between His and human promise. What God wants He shall accomplish; no one can prevent His will. What God promises He shall give because He has power to do all things. What people want, often changes; and what they promise to others, seldom are fulfilled because they are limited and have not enough power to accomplish what they promise. When looking back the history of the Israel, people are startled and should help them to have a firm faith in God, because what He wants and promises; are fulfilled in details. When things happen in the present, people might think that they are doing their will; but actually they are fulfilling what God wants.

            Today readings want to highlight God’s power and His faithfulness. In the first reading, Paul wanted to use history to prove these two attributes in God’s plan of salvation. He accomplished two promises to Abraham; that are: the descendants and the Promise Land. He also fulfilled His promise to give the Israelites the Messiah, came from King David’s lineage. In the Gospel, Jesus foretold that one of the Twelves, who ate the same table with him, shall betray him as Psalm 41:9 wrote. This prophecy was fulfilled through Judas Iscariot’s betrayal. Christ also foretold that his apostles shall have the same fate like him. This prophecy was also fulfilled through the martyrdom of all the apostles.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: God fulfilled what He promised with Abraham and King David.

            In one Sabbath, Paul and Barnabas entered a synagogue to participate in the ceremony. After reading the Law and the Prophets, the head of the synagogue sent his people to ask them, “Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it.” Taking the opportunity, Paul raised his hand to draw attention from the audience and began his sharing.

1.1/ God fulfilled His promise with Abraham: Since Abraham always obeyed God in all things, so God promised him two things:

            (1) He gives Abraham abundant descendants (Gen 17:7): Paul’s purpose is for his audience to look back into the Israelites’ history to see how God fulfilled His promises with Abraham. He said, “Men of Israel, and you that fear God, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt (Deut 4:37, 10:15), and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. And for about forty years he bore with them in the wilderness (Deut 4:34, 5:15, 9:26, 29, Exo 6:1-6, 12:42).” All these things were carefully in their Law.

            (2) He gave Abraham the Promise Land (Gen 17:8): After forty years of purification in the deserts, God used Joshua to guide the Israelites into the Promise Land. Paul said, “And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance, for about four hundred and fifty years (Exo 16:35, Num 14:33ff, Deut 1:31). And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.”

1.2/ God fulfilled His promise with King David: After Joshua, God gave many judges to govern the Israelites for a long time, until when Israelites saw their neighbored nations are governed by kings; they asked Prophet Samuel to give them also a king to govern them.

            (1) Israel had kings to govern them: Paul continued, “Then they asked for a king; and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king; of whom he testified and said, `I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.' Of this man's posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as He promised (2 Sam 7:12; 22:51).”

            (2) John Baptist witnessed for Christ: The promise to give the Savior was fulfilled when John Baptist, Christ’s precursor, began to prepare people for Christ’s coming by baptizing them in water (Mt 3:11). When he was about to finish his ministry, the scribes and the Pharisees questioned to see if he is the Messiah. John forthrightly proclaimed, "I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie (Jn. 1:26-27, Mc 1:7f). When he saw Jesus is passing by, he pointed to him and introduced him with his disciples, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me'” (Jn. 1:29-30).

2/ Gospel: “I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.”

2.1/ If they persecuted me, they shall also persecute you: Jesus’ Passion is near; he knew in advance what shall happen to him and his disciples. He wanted to prepare their minds, so he said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

            Christ wanted his disciples to know this in advance so they know how to behave when this happens. In Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection, all what Jesus foretold them were fulfilled in details. In the Book of Acts, the author reported fully all persecutions, prisons, scourges and martyrdoms of many of Jesus’ disciples.

2.2/ Jesus foretold Judas’ betrayal: Jesus illustrated the words of Psalm 41:9, “I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, `He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.'”

            Jesus wanted them to know that even the betrayal of one of them, Judas, wasn’t accidental; but was planned and foretold by God. The reason why he told them that thing now, before it shall happen, is for them to believe that “he is.” This title is only used for God the Father and him, because they always are.

            Jesus also foretold about the disciples’ future mission. They are the messengers of his Good News. Whoever receives the messengers of the gospel, receives Christ and God, because God sent Christ, and Christ sent his messengers. The important thing is Christ’s messengers must announce what Christ wants to say to people. People’s duty is to recognize who is the true messenger from all deceived ones.           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                

            - All events happened in our life are by God’s will and providence. What God wants, He shall accomplish it; what He promises He shall grant.

            - We only execute what God wants; no one can resist God’s will or nullify God’s promise for His people.

            - Our happiness is to make an effort to find out His wills for us and do them joyfully. Of course, we can do the opposite; but what good for us to be against Him!

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