God's Promises For Those Who Say 'Yes' to Him Are Miraculous, Regardless of Their Position in Life (Lenten Scriptural Commentary #12)
by Erik Ritland
Fully Alive’s Lenten Scriptural Commentary helps Christians get more out of Lent by taking God’s word seriously.
Mostly avoiding personal stories and anecdotes, our commentary dives deeply into the scripture readings for each day and applies them to the broader context of Lent. We use the daily Mass readings from the Catholic lectionary.
If possible, read each passage slowly, taking in each word. If you find that you’ve hurried through a reading, read it over a few more times. Let the words reverberate in your heart. After you’ve let it sink in, read our Lenten Scriptural Commentary.
Second Sunday of Lent
God’s impossible promises to “the least of these,” our call as Christians, and an important, awe-inspiring miracle.
Readings: Gn 15:5-12, 17-18/Phil 3:17—4:1 or 3:20—4:1/Lk 9:28b-36 (27)
Click here to read the complete text from the USCCB website
The Lord God took Abram outside and said,
"Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.
Just so," he added, "shall your descendants be."
Abram put his faith in the LORD,
who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.
(Gn 15: 5-7)
Before God called him, Abram was a simple nomad living a normal life. Rather than visit kings, high-ranking politicians, or those with worldly stature and power, he called an everyman.
Not only that, but an everyman who was unable to have children. Having any descendants must have seemed hopeless to him, much less to be the father of God’s people.
This is the essence of how God works with people. He doesn’t simply call the righteous or the person with the most ability or stature. He calls each of us in the position that we’re in, with whatever abilities we have (or don’t have).
When we listen to Him, miracles happen. They may not be flashy or supernatural, but they happen almost every day in the life of the person who follows and trusts God as Abram did.
For many, as I have often told you
and now tell you even in tears,
conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their end is destruction.
Their God is their stomach;
their glory is in their "shame."
Their minds are occupied with earthly things.
But our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
(cf Phil 3:17-4:1)
Brilliant biblical scholar N.T. Wright often points out that Christians sometimes seem to completely miss the point of the gospels. We focus so much on the world to come that we ignore what he sees as their main point: that Jesus inaugurated His kingdom in the world today, and that we are meant to live that Kingdom in today’s world.
It is easy to take a passage like this and become “so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” But Paul is condoning nothing of the sort, and the context proves it. He is saying that we need to live well in this world, as opposed to those who don’t, because we have a home in heaven that awaits us.
Our place in a heavenly future does not give us a pass in this life; it is meant to drive us to live out God’s Kingdom program as well as we can right now.
We aren’t meant to remove ourselves from the world, we’re meant to transform it.
Jesus took Peter, John, and James
and went up the mountain to pray.
While he was praying his face changed in appearance
and his clothing became dazzling white.
And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus
that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
(Lk 9: 28B-29)
The Transfiguration is a key moment in the gospels. It can seem obscure to us, but the point is simple enough, and it can be found in one key line: “Two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.”
The Transfiguration strengthened Jesus, Peter, James, and John before the upcoming hardship of the crucifixion. When it happened, they certainly thought back to this moment for consolation many times. It may have even been too much to bear for the disciples without it.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician. The founder of Fully Alive Christian Media, he also created The Minnesota Sport Ramble and is a writer and copy editor for Music in Minnesota. He was Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Curious North and Hometown Hustle. Reach him via email.
Erik Ritland is a journalist and musician. He's the lead staff writer and podcast host of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, a blog and podcast covering sports, music, and culture.