Keyword Search

  • Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company
    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

Monday of Holy Week

John 12:1-11

Monday of Holy Week is introduced with this account that is only in the Fourth Gospel, about an anointing of the feet of Jesus by Mary, the sister of Martha and of Lazarus, whom Jesus, according to John 11:1-44, had resurrected from the dead. The account makes a major contribution to the plot of the Fourth Gospel, with Jesus speaking in support of what Mary was doing and in opposition to Judas Iscariot, who was complaining about the pouring of the expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus when the perfume could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. The statement of the Johannine Jesus that “you are always going to have poor people with you whom you can help, but you are not always going to have me” presents the greatest challenge for us even today. It raises fundamental questions about how the financial resources of a congregation should be allocated.

Hebrews 9:11-15

The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews presents Jesus in a way that is very different from the ways in which Jesus is depicted elsewhere in our New Testament documents. Within each of the Four Gospels Jesus is opposed by the priests who manage the Temple under contracts purchased from the Romans; he is certainly not presented as the honored priest entering into the Holiest Place in the Temple to offer his own blood to God. This very different way in which Jesus was portrayed by the writer of this document was a major reason that the Epistle to the Hebrews was one of the last documents to be accepted into the New Testament canon.

Isaiah 42:1-9

By using this “Servant of the Lord” text, as it is designated by Christians, on the Monday of Holy Week, we are identifying the Servant of the Isaiah traditions with Jesus as we as Christians perceive him. That identification, of course, does not give ownership of the Servant concept to us as Christians. The Servant of the Lord still primarily belongs to the Jews, not to us as Christians. The statements in this text about God putting the Spirit of God upon the Servant in order that the Servant may establish justice on the earth in a sense unites Christians with Jews, since, when we are at our best, we as Christians, together with Jews, long for justice and work together to “repair” the world and to be righteous and just in all that we and Jews do.

Psalm 36:5-11

Here also, when we as Christians use this psalm, or any of the psalms, or any portion of the Older Testament for that matter, ideally we use these materials together with Jews, as devotional guides along with Jews, even during our so-called Holy Week. Although our experiences and our understandings of the intended meanings of the texts in the Older Testament are different from those of Jews, we must remember that these were Israelite and Jewish documents before we began to use them and that they remain basically Jewish documents today.

Leave a Reply

Get LSN Delivered to your Inbox for FREE!
First Name:
Last Name:
  • SermonSuite Special
    Robin Lostetter
    To Choose Weakness
    How many times have we as preachers or teachers encountered the question “Are you willing to die for your faith?” And how many times has that question rung hollow for those of us living the good life in the United States of America? Teens in my confirmation classes, for example, have continued to play with poorly hidden smartphones and made eyerolls at their more sophisticated peers. The question might apply in some far-off land with an unpronounceable name, but not for Christians in Everytown, USA.
         But the shooting of nine innocents on June 17 at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, may change the context for that question. Amid questions of “to carry or not to carry” and newly raging gun regulation debates, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 becomes highly pertinent. Every time worshipers step into a church sanctuary, the tacit understanding is that one is entering a non-combative zone (except for theological debate) and “sanctuary” from outside attacks. June 17 -- though not the only incident of a violent attack inside a church building -- is the herald of a public change in that perception.
          How do we interpret this “new normal” for American Christians on the Fourth of July holiday weekend? In a country of rugged individualism, Second Amendment pride, and a rate of gun violence higher than most industrialized nations, it is counterintuitive to choose weakness. What meaning will it carry if we choose not to arm our pastors, elders, or ushers? If we choose not to use metal detectors or pat down those attending Bible study? If we choose weakness? The members of Mother Emanuel’s Bible study group showed Judeo-Christian hospitality to Dylann Roof and welcomed him into their discussion of sacred text. Their weakness nearly changed his will to violence. What can we learn from June 17 and its aftermath? Will we choose weakness and hospitality, or will we choose guns? Are we willing to die for our faith?...more
    Who Wuda Thunk It?
    In 1969 the New York Mets won the World Series, becoming the world champions of baseball. Riding the strong arms of Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, and "Terrific Tom" Seaver, the Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles. Many baseball experts considered the Baltimore Orioles to be the best team to come down the pike in years, but the Mets beat the Orioles in convincing fashion. Just a few years earlier, the New York Mets had set records for losing 120 games in a single year. They were called the "amazing Mets," because they found a new way to lose every day. They had been the epitome of futility, but in 1969 they won the World Series and earned the title the "Miracle Mets." The headline in Sports Illustrated quoted former Met manager Casey Stengel in his classic "Stengelese" when he said, "Who wuda thunk it?" "Who wuda thunk" that the New York Mets would be World Series champions?...more
    Frank Ramirez
    Victory in spite of
    Each one of this week's scriptures can be viewed as victory as God's will is done, yet these stories are also paired with sadness, defeat, disability, and/or pain. As I like to put it, no one rides free.
         David fulfills his destiny from the time he was anointed king as a boy, but his friend Jonathan is dead, and a price has been paid. Paul rises to the third heaven and though he is reluctant to brag about it, his ecstatic experience is paired with an affliction which despite his prayers he is not healed from. Jesus commissions his disciples who cast out evil spirit and anointed many with healing, but his ministry to his hometown was a total failure.
         Do we triumph because of our disappointments, failures, and disabilities, or despite them? David is king, Paul's joy buoys his ministry, and Jesus is fulfilling the work of the kingdom as God wills, but there is true sadness and heartache standing behind each story. That indeed is part of what Paul himself is suggesting when he says that God's strength is proven through his weakness!
         How can congregations be challenged to acknowledge pain as an integral part of growth and failure as providing the seeds for future success? Any one of these texts might be mined on this basis, yet weaving them together might prove the point even more strongly!...more
    John Fitzgerald
    The Shepherd King
    2 Samuel 5:1-5,9-10

    We come to Worship this morning with thoughts of America’s birth in our mind. This nation has maintained a noble experiment in liberty since it’s Declaration of Independence first unfurled on July 4, 1776. Over the years several representations of freedom have become popular with citizens of this fair country. The Statue of Liberty remains our most powerful symbol of freedom and liberty. It is appropriate to consider a famous poem mounted on the base of this iconic statue....more
    Janice Scott
    Whenever I am weak, then I am strong
    I recently heard a Christian testimony. In some respects it was a moving account of the ways in which Jesus had worked in the speaker's life and it seemed to reveal a deep faith, but as a listener I was left feeling a little inadequate and slightly resentful.
         One of the major problems with testimonies is that the listeners are often left feeling inadequate, for who can compare with the wonderful spiritual experiences which are described by the speakers?...more
    Cynthia Cowen
    Telling About Jesus
    Object: Your most favorite video
    The Point: Tell others about what has brought great joy to your life.
    The Lesson:  Girls and boys, it brings me joy to be able to share this time with you. Thank you for joining me. This is my most favorite video. (Briefly tell the video story and why it is special to you.) ...more

Author of
Lectionary Scripture Notes
Mark Ellingsen is professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Mark Ellingsen

Great Links