Minister's Thoughts

Pray Today

SUNDAY 29 MARCH 2020: 5th SUNDAY OF LENT   (As we are gathered…)

Sunday 29th March is the Fifth Sunday in Lent and the Sunday before Palm Sunday.  It is the beginning of Passiontide.  The Hymns and Bible readings that we would have shared in Church this Sunday are shown below.  You could read them at home and meditate on them, and if you have a Hymn Book look up the Hymns and sing them to God in Jesus’ name.

BIBLE PASSAGES AND HYMNS

The Bible readings for this Sunday are: Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11 and John 11:1-45.  In the Gospel passage we read of the death of Lazarus, a good friend of Jesus; the bereavement of Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha and the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

  • Hymn 88 (Psalm 130): Up from the depths I cry to God (tune: MacPherson’s rant.);
  • Hymn 404: I danced in the morning;
  • Hymn 513: Courage, brother do not stumble;
  • Hymn 352: O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise.

Comments on John 11:1-45   (Abba Father)

Jesus was in Perea, east of the Jordan River when he received word from Mary and Martha that their brother Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus, was sick.  This is the same Mary who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.  Jesus said that Lazarus’ sickness would not end in death but that it was for God’s glory and that Jesus the Son of God may be glorified through it.  He decided to remain two more days.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”  They were astonished because just a short time ago the Jews had tried to stone Jesus there.  His disciples questioned the wisdom of His returning to Judea and Jesus showed that he already knew Lazarus was dead when he said to them, “our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  His disciples had said if he sleeps he will get better.  They hadn’t understood that in death Lazarus would sleep before receiving life in Heaven.  They hadn’t realised at that point that Jesus was going to bring Lazarus back to life.

When Jesus arrived at Bethany Mary and Martha were grieving deeply and told Jesus that if he had been there their brother would not have died.  As it was Lazarus had been in the tomb for 4 days.  Many Jews had come to comfort Mary and Martha and when Jesus arrived he said “Your brother will rise again,” to which Martha replied “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  She knew the theory but had not grasped the present reality.

Jesus proclaimed: “I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  The miracle that Jesus was about to perform would act as a seal to the promise given for all who believe.  When Mary and those with her came she fell at Jesus feet.  Jesus was moved to compassion and asked the sisters to take him to Lazarus burial place.

There, he called Lazarus to come out of the tomb.  Jesus prayed.  Lazarus walked out just as Jesus said.  And so, Jesus plainly declared himself as the Son of God and affirmed that through him the believer has eternal life!  In life’s familiar events we may glimpse the eternal purposes of God.

PRAYER   (May the God of peace go with you)

Father, hear our prayers for all NHS workers and carers and allied services.  Thank you for the 600,000 retired and former Health workers who have volunteered to assist.  We pray for all who are worried, sick or bereaved and for all who stand at their side.  Hear our prayers for our families and neighbours and our communities.  Increase our belief. Guard your Church.

Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory for ever.  AMEN.

Rev. Bob Anderson
Minister

Reading – John 11:17-34
Jesus Comforts the Sisters of Lazarus 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles[b] from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.  21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”  23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God,who is to come into the world.”  28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.  32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.  “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.  
Minister’s Thoughts