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The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost A, July 9, 2023

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The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost A, July 9, 2023

You’ve seen them, haven’t you?  The men and women put behind bars, thrown in jail, imprisoned?  The ones the sheriff, the police, or the FBI have taken captive, placed in handcuffs and shackles, and hauled away?  You’ve seen them:  angry and defiant—raging at their jailor, or guilty and despairing—empty and hopeless.   They are the ones caught by the long arm of the law and exposed for what they are—lawbreakers, captive to sin; they are guilty.

The prophets like Zechariah delivered God’s word of law to the people of Israel.  It exposed them for what they were:  captives to sin, and guilty.  The consequences were such that they were taken prisoner and made slaves by other nations such as the Assyrians and Babylonians.

 But the prophets also spoke God’s word of gospel:  that the captives had hope of redemption—they did have a deliverer, and so, even though they were prisoners, they were given hope.  They were now prisoners of hope and not of despair.  We, who are guilty of our own sin and captive to it, know that deliverer as Jesus Christ.  He is God’s good news for us.  Jesus Christ is our hope of redemption so that in faith we are free.  In Christ we have hope.  “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts, through the Holy Spirit who has been given us” (Ro. 5:5).

Table Talk:  Talk about prisoners you have seen and how they appeared.  Tell about what you think it means to have hope even though you are still a prisoner.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for freedom in Jesus.  Amen

Zechariah 9:9-12

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
11 As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.

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