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Quinquagesima Sunday, February 11, 2024

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Quinquagesima Sunday, February 11, 2024

Jesus’ friends and Jesus’ foes acknowledged that he had acquired a status far beyond that which could be ascribed to the circumstances of his birth.  Anytime you read of Jesus’ foes being afraid of arresting him because of the crowd, you are reading their acknowledgment of Jesus’ great honor, which was ascribed to him by the populace, earned by his conversational successes in confronting the religious leaders, and witnessed to by the seemingly miraculous deeds Jesus accomplished.  In these verses set before us, Jesus describes what must happen to him.  These events will happen, not only to fulfill scripture, but because his enemies must strip him of his honor, destroy his popularity, and shame him beyond redemption.  If this social degradation is not accomplished, Jesus’ enemies will have made a martyr of him, a slain hero of the people.

The twelve did not understand this.  Swept up in the heady adulation of Jesus and caught up in his immense popularity, they basked in his reflected glory and enjoyed the glow of being associated with him.  Jesus was so popular that it seemed as if the whole world had gone after him (Jn. 12:19).  Consequently, when Jesus presents them with the reality of what must take place in Jerusalem, they could not understand what he said (vs. 34).  What we now know as the cross and resurrection remained incomprehensible to them, hidden from their understanding.

The Apostle Paul preaches that those who are called according to God’s purpose are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus (Ro. 8:29).  Jesus himself cautions that to come after him is to bear a cross—that is, to receive our own social degradation ritual.  Yet, you can take heart (Jn. 16:33).  Jesus has had the victory over this sin, death, and the power of the devil because on the third day he was raised.  You, too, being joined to Jesus in a death like his, have also been joined to Jesus in a resurrection like his.

Table Talk:  Discuss social degradation rituals present today.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, conform me to Jesus in both death and life.  Amen

Luke 18:31-34

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise. 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

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