Bible readings & reflections
Weekly Bible Readings and Reflections
Fifth Sunday of Lent - Year A - 26 March 2023
THOUGHTS FOR THIS WEEK
Ezekiel 37:1-14: Ezekiel’s prophesy of restoration in which he sees a valley of dry bones, and is called by God to prophesy that the bones come together and be clothed again in flesh, and then that the wind/breath/Spirit blow into them and bring them alive. In this way, he proclaims, God will bring life and restoration to God’s people.
Psalm 130: A plea for mercy to God, with assurance that God does not keep a record of sins, but forgives, restores and rescues.
Romans 8:6-11: God’s Spirit, and the spiritual attitude that it nurtures, leads to life, and will enliven us not just in our spirits, but in our bodies as well.
John 11:1-45: Jesus, on hearing of Lazarus’ illness, returns after a short delay, to Judea, risking his own death, in order to raise Lazarus. After proclaiming himself as “the resurrection and the life” he raises Lazarus, and many people believe in him as a result.
Rev Tania writes:
The readings for Lent 5 are a prophecy. In this last week of Lent, as we prepare to move into Holy Week, we are given a prophecy of the resurrection to come for Christ. But, before Jesus can get to the glory, there is a lot of suffering and sacrifice to be endured.
Through Lent we have been called to journey with Jesus, to learn the steps of God’s life giving movement, and we are not stopping now. It’s a challenging call, but, if we are to join Christ in his resurrection, we must also journey with him through the cross. Yet, even as we face the struggles and sacrifices of following Jesus, we will always find these moments of glory that sustain and strengthen us.
God’s people are given a vision of resurrection through Ezekiel. The Psalmist recognises God’s grace, mercy and rescue, and Paul proclaims that God’s Spirit gives us life in our whole being. John’s Gospel, also in a prophetic narrative, describes the raising of Lazarus, and demonstrates that Jesus is the one in whom life and resurrection are found. So, as we prepare our hearts for the coming journey through Jesus’ passion, we are reminded in advance that death does not have the last word, and that resurrection is promised and experienced in the midst of pain, threat and death. Jesus does not shy away from the threat of death, but offers himself as the one who brings life, even though he will ultimately die. And, yet, there is the hope, proclaimed even by Jesus himself, that he, as the forerunner, will be raised, assuring us that our resurrection is also certain. It’s a celebratory theme this week, but also a challenge not to shy away from the forces of death and evil, but to confront them – in ourselves and in our world – in the hope of resurrection. May our hearts be strengthened and prepared, and may we embrace both the glory and the sacrifice of our faith as we worship this week.