STEP #1: LECTIO / READ
When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, he said in the synagogue:
“My brothers, children of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem and their leaders failed to recognize him,
and by condemning him they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets
that are read sabbath after sabbath.
For even though they found no grounds for a death sentence,
they asked Pilate to have him put to death,
and when they had accomplished all that was written about him,
they took him down from the tree and placed him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he appeared to those
who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem.
These are now his witnesses before the people.
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”
STEP #2: MEDITATIO / MEDITATE
Do you ever play what are the odds? Where someone basically dares you to do something, and you have to say the odds of how likely you are to do it.
Do you ever think about what are the odds that Jesus was actually the Messiah? You’re starting to hear that a lot in society. Jesus was just a really good person, but was He actually God? More people are starting to say eh maybe not. Or even eh who cares?
But the fact that Jesus is the Messiah is crucial, infact it should be our everything.
Christ was pretty remarkable. Both fully human and divine. The second member of the Trinity. He literally rose from the dead. Sometimes, I think we lose sight of just how amazing Christ really is. Christ in fact beat all the odds.
That is the point Paul is driving home today in our reading. He keeps telling the people that Jesus was the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament. He says that not just once, but three times.
Paul first says: “they fulfilled the oracles of the prophets that are read sabbath after sabbath”. These are prophecies that the people knew, they had heard them time and time again. But even with all of that information, many of the Jews were not realizing that Jesus was the Messiah, He was who He said He was.
And here is the thing, Jesus didn’t pick and choose which prophecies He would fulfill. He did not just complete just one or two prophecies, but ALL of them.
The Old Testament said that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). And He was. The Psalms said that His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:17). That was written hundreds of years before the Romans invented crucifixion, but when Jesus died His hands and feet were pierced and nailed to the cross. They divided His garments at His death, just like it says in Psalm 22:19. And I could go on through the hundreds of ways Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies.
Mathematical and Biblical scholars have looked at this, and they have calculated what are the odds that Jesus fulfilled not all of the prophecies, but what are the odds that he fulfilled even a few. The odds that one person would fulfill 8 prophecies is 1 X 10^17 or a 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 chance. And Jesus completes more than just 8. He fulfills over 350.
And the biggest one of all? Jesus rose from the dead. What are those odds? Well I’m not a math person, but since no one else has ever risen from the dead, I am going to say they are one in infinity.
Jesus doesn’t hide who He is. He was open with His disciples. He tells that that He is God (John 8:58).
We are the ones who often fail to realize it. Like the Pharisees that condemn Him or like those who were persecuting the first Christians, we let many different things get in the way of ourselves knowing that Jesus is God and actually living that in our life.
What are the odds that you will live for Jesus today?
STEP #3: ORATIO / PRAY
“That what God promised our fathers he has brought to fulfillment for us”
Do you believe that Jesus is who He said He was?
Do you believe what Jesus Rose from the dead?
How can you live for Jesus today?
STEP #4: CONTEMPLATIO / CONTEMPLATE
Jesus beat the odds.
Jesus is Lord.
I must live for Jesus.
FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAY...
What are the odds that you will share your faith with someone today? Do you think the odds are high or low? What can you do to make sure that happens today?
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lisa Kendzior.