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Study and Scripture

February 7, 2023

Daily Scripture

Luke 4:17-21, 23:44-46, Matthew 27:45-46

Luke 4
17 The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 The Spirit of the LORD is upon me,
    because the LORD has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
    to proclaim release to the prisoners
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
    to liberate the oppressed,
19     and to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor [Isaiah 61:1-2, 58:6].
20 He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed on him. 21 He began to explain to them, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.”

Luke 23
44 It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, 45 while the sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle. 46 Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my life” [Psalm 31:5]. After he said this, he breathed for the last time.

Matthew 27
45 From noon until three in the afternoon the whole earth was dark. 46 At about three Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” which means, “My God, my God, why have you left me?” [Psalm 22:1].

Daily Reflection & Prayer

In the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus found and read Isaiah 61:1-2 (with no help from a tablet or smartphone Bible). He stunned his hearers by saying, in effect, “Isaiah’s text was about me.” The Scriptures shaped Jesus’ sense of mission to shift the world’s priorities to spiritual and social good news, healing and freedom. In extreme pain and suffering on the cross, he drew on the Hebrew texts woven into his mind and heart, quoting Psalm 22:1 and 31:5 to link him to God in that dark hour.

  • Jesus upset many of his hearers in Nazareth by saying God’s kingdom was present, not just future. Luke 4:21 in The Message said, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.” * Are you waiting for God to change the world “someday”? How are you making yourself available NOW for God to change your life—and through you, the lives of others? How can electronic versions of the Bible help you saturate your mind with the messages?
  • Psalm 22 was a classic “lament.” These hymns honestly voiced the psalmist’s pain and fear, while holding onto trust and faith in God’s goodness (cf. Psalm 22:22-31). There is evidence that first century Jewish parents used Psalm 31:5 as a bedtime prayer for their children. Jesus’ mother may have heard her crucified son repeat the prayer she had taught him. How can you use your tech tools to help you put your life fully in God’s hands every day, not only at times of great pain?

Lord Jesus, you never let the needs of the poor, the prisoners, the blind, the oppressed overwhelm you. Through the words of the Bible, grow in me a patient resolve to channel your power to make this world a better place. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Brandon Gregory

Brandon Gregory

Brandon Gregory is a volunteer for the worship and missions teams at Church of the Resurrection. He helps lead worship at Leawood's modern worship services, as well as at the West and Downtown services, and is involved with the Malawi missions team at home.

It’s no secret that there’s a lot of conflict in online communications. Social media is filled with heated conversations from passionately opposing viewpoints. Sometimes, even just posting a picture or making a post about how your day went will invite strangers to accost you. I distinctly remember a time when one of my Facebook friends asked a question, and I answered—and one of my friend’s friends, whom I didn’t know, posted a short essay about how my life would never amount to anything and I didn’t know anything about the way the world worked.

A solution I frequently see offered up on this anxiety-inducing problem is to stay away from divisive topics when posting on social media. You frequently hear about people taking breaks from social media for their mental health, and many of my friends have said they’ve quit posting their moral and political thoughts on social media because of the backlash they may receive.

One person’s experience changed my mind on this tactic. I had a friend who had resolved to keep out of political and moral conversations on social media, and instead talked about her job as a designer for IBM. She gathered a good number of followers through her career posts, which is expected, as she was very good at her job. However, despite her best efforts to avoid controversy, despite going out of her way to avoid divisive topics, she still regularly received hateful posts and even threats. And even when she herself was not accosted, she saw many others talking about people like her with vitriol and disdain, and when that’s everywhere, it’s hard not to internalize it. She eventually deleted all of her social media accounts, as that was the only way to escape from the hate and threats.

My designer friend was Mexican-American—she was born in Texas, but her parents had immigrated before she was born. And her story was extremely common, in an era where people like her are branded rapists and drug dealers and talked about as a group that needs to be removed from our country. Any time my friend was attacked, either directly or indirectly, my silence spoke far louder than any comment I made on her posts.

In the same way, I watched many of my friends describe a politician they didn’t like as “clearly mentally ill,” and then I watched others talk about how dangerous people with mental illness are and how they needed to be monitored for the public’s safety. I have a serious mental illness. I knew the facts and the statistics, and I knew how they didn’t actually support what these people were saying—but I still watched people, time and time again, argue that I shouldn’t have the same rights that they have because of my medical condition.

Being able to unplug, to step away from politics for our mental health, is an enormous privilege—one that many others do not have, because their very existence has been politicized. If you’re attacked on social media for your ideas, but not for your identity, that’s a privilege many do not have. As many others have said before me, privilege is not your fault, but it is your responsibility. If you see hate, especially hateful misinformation, bear in mind not only what’s at stake if you speak up, but what’s at stake if you don’t. If your friends consistently see your silence in the face of their persecution, that can speak volumes about your view of them even if you don’t intend it.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* From Eugene H. Peterson, The Message. NavPress, 1993-2002.