The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In John 13:18-20 Jesus makes it a little more clear to his disciples that his people are really his people. In some way, even the one who would deny him is still his person. It is a sad thing indeed that one of his apostles would deny him.
This tension between Jesus’ selecting his people and some of them departing from the faith and ultimately denying him is impossible to escape. If we read the New Testament fairly, we find it again and again. For that matter, it is plain through the Old Testament as well. God’s chosen people flee from him and deny him.
What is God’s solution to this problem? It is to send people calling for repentance and faith. It is to offer forgiveness again and again, until the last day. Christians should not give up on God’s mercy. Christians pray and show themselves available, encouraging, exhorting, speaking what is good and true. This is a call to repentance - sorrow for sin. It is all important. It is not condemnation. It is an offer of forgiveness. That’s what we need, each and every one of us.
What if that offer of forgiveness is refused? Jesus says the person is not rejecting the prophet/apostle/messenger. The person is rejecting God the Father who sent him. The ministry of the Christian, then, is without personal responsibility for the result. All personal responsibility ends when the minister is faithful. Let God be God and do his job.
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