1 SAMUEL 3:1-10
The story of Samuel is an interesting one, and I recommend that you read chapters 1 & 2, so that you can enjoy the whole story. Samuel is the son of a faithful woman named Hannah. She was barren for many years. After praying in the temple, God granted her request for a son. As soon as he is weaned, she dedicates him to service to the Lord; she hands him over to the prophet Eli, to raise and train. Today’s reading takes place in the temple. According to Jewish tradition, Samuel is 12 years old when this occurs.
- Verse 1 tells us that the people of the Lord had fallen out of relationship with God.
- Eli is old, and Samuel is young. It must be nighttime, the early morning hours, because the lamp of God was still burning. (vv. 2-3) As specified in Exodus 27:21, this lamp was to burn “from evening until morning”.
- The Lord calls to Samuel, who is in his bed. Samuel has not heard the voice of the Lord before, so he thinks that Eli has called him. He rushes to his side. Eli denies calling him, and sends him back to bed. This happens twice. (vv. 4-7)
- When this happens a third time, Eli finally figures out what’s going on, and tells Samuel what to do. (vv. 8-9)
- The Lord gives Samuel the bad news—Eli and his sons will not live much longer, because of their actions. (vv. 11-14)
- Samuel doesn’t want to tell Eli this bad news. Eli has been his mentor and perhaps like a father to him. After all, he cared for him since he was a toddler. But Eli takes the news on the chin. He already knew this was coming. (vv. 15-18)
- This is the beginning of Samuel’s relationship with God, and the end of Eli’s. (v. 19)
God calls us into His service. Some heed the call, and others do not. Let’s be like Samuel, saying “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
1 CORINTHIANS 6:12-20
Paul, Timothy, and Silas had started the church in Corinth, staying there “a considerable time.” (Acts 18:1-18) But they had the Lord’s work to do, and moved on. A letter is sent to Paul, listing several problems that have arisen since his departure. Paul’s letter is a response to the church in Corinth, to address these issues and set them back on the right path.
- Some members of the church there are twisting Paul’s words regarding the freedom of the Christian from the Law of Moses. Some feel that anything goes. Paul quotes their sayings in verses 12 and 13a. It appears that they are not only eating anything and everything. That’s pretty much OK. But, they are having sex with prostitutes, saying “all things are lawful for me”. This is not OK.
- Paul reminds them that since they are the Lord’s, when they lay with a prostitute, they also defile God. (vv. 13b-18)
- We have all heard verse 19 when we were teenagers—“our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit”. I am especially fond of verse 20—“…you were bought with a price…”
Jesus “bought” us with his blood. We belong to him. Our lives are His. We must live our lives to the glory of His name.
Note: The lectionary for this Sunday is verses 43-51. I have chosen to cover the larger story, beginning with verse 35.
The Gospel of John starts out with a bang. No sooner does John explain to us that Jesus was there at the beginning of creation, but he jumps right to Jesus baptism and the calling of His first disciples.
- The day after Jesus’ baptism, John the Baptist points Jesus out to two of his followers. They ask Jesus a question. Jesus simply answers “come and see”, and they decide to follow Jesus. One of these is Andrew, and the other is not named. (vv. 35-40)
- Andrew calls his brother Simon to tag along, saying that they have found the Messiah. Jesus renames Simon Peter “Rocky” (in my translation, since Peter means “rock”). (vv.41-42)
- Jesus calls Philip simply by saying “follow me”. (v. 43)
- Philip finds his friend Nathanael, and tells him who they’ve found. Nathanael says something a little snobby about Nazareth. Maybe there was some small town rivalry here, but it is a curious comment. But, Philip simply says “come and see” [“come and see for yourself” in my silly translation], and Nathanael follows. (vv. 45-46)
- Next, we have an interesting dialogue between Jesus and Nathanael. Their first impressions of one another must have been huge. It is interesting that all of these disciples are from the same small town, Bethsaida. They obviously knew each other. Were they friends?
- In verses 50 & 51, Jesus says “If that impresses you, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.” (Again, from my personal translation.) Verse 51 is a subtle reference to a dream that Jacob had, as told in Genesis 28:10-12.
I would like to give this passage the title “Jesus Calls His Disciples”, but that would not be accurate. Andrew calls Simon Peter. Philip calls Nathanael. So disciples are also calling others to become disciples. It is also very interesting to me that very few words were needed to compel these men to drop everything and follow Jesus. Was Jesus that charismatic? Was the Holy Spirit working in their hearts?
Today, Jesus calls us to follow him. If you’re reading this, chances are that you have already chosen to do so. If not, I encourage you to read one of the gospels, and learn more about Jesus. (Mark is the shortest one, and a good place to start.)
Today, since we are Jesus’ disciples, we have the responsibility to carry on His work; we must call others to also hollow Him. Sometimes, with the help of the Holy Spirit, it only takes a few words. Other times, a discussion might ensue. Whatever the situation, ours is the task to urge those around us to follow Jesus. We have the help of the Holy Spirit. Let’s spread the Good News!