Turning the Tables
1 Kings / 17:17-24
Elijah went to Zarephath of Sidon to the house of a widow. The son of the mistress of the house fell sick, and his sickness grew more severe until he stopped breathing. So she said to Elijah, “Why have you done this to me, O man of God? Have you come to me to call attention to my guilt and to kill my son?” Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.” Taking him from her lap, he carried the son to the upper room where he was staying, and put him on his bed. Elijah called out to the LORD: “O LORD, my God, will you afflict even the widow with whom I am staying by killing her son?” Then he stretched himself out upon the child three times and called out to the LORD: “O LORD, my God, let the life breath return to the body of this child.” The LORD heard the prayer of Elijah; the life breath returned to the child’s body and he revived. Taking the child, Elijah brought him down into the house from the upper room and gave him to his mother. Elijah said to her, “See! Your son is alive.” The woman replied to Elijah, “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God. The word of the LORD comes truly from your mouth.”
- The upper room is a common theme in the Bible. It is another tangible connection between Elijah and Jesus. In Malachi 4: 5-6, the Prophet gives a warning from God, ““See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Elijah brought this young boy back to life in the upper room. Jesus performed the Last Supper in the upper room and would reveal himself resurrected to his Disciples in the upper room. When Jesus was dying on the cross, people thought he was talking to Elijah; in Matthew 27: 4 6-47, “46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[a] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”” At The Transfiguration (Mark 9:1-13; Luke 9:28-36; 2 Peter 1:16-21), Elijah appeared with Moses to talk with Jesus: “After six days Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared before them, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If You wish, I will put up three shelters: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”” There is no denying the eternal connection/link between Jesus and Elijah. The upper room is just one clue to their worldly link. They both leveraged upper rooms in their Earthly ministries. What “upper rooms” are we leveraging for the Lord? How are we growing our Knightly Roundtables as men as Christ (MAC) to help us perform His miracles? His work?
Psalms / 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear and did not let my enemies rejoice over me. O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world; you preserved me from among those going down into the pit. R. Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime, his good will. At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing. R. Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me; O LORD, be my helper. You changed my mourning into dancing; O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks. R.
- I have an old friend who is an EMT. I remember once I asked him how his Faith was with the difficult challenges that are brought before him almost daily. He told me that his job deepened his Faith. He said sometimes he pulls up on a car wreck and thinks that there’s no way that someone could have lived through it. And, standing next to the wreck without a scratch, is a survivor. Conversely, he told me that he’s seen when a minor fender bender where everyone should be OK and someone has died. He summarized it by saying that when it’s your time, it’s your time. In the Psalm today, we are reminded at God’s enduring love for us and His undying need and want to rescue us. He doesn’t stay mad for too long. He brings us back from the brink. He brings the sunrise after life’s storms. He’s our eternal EMT and, without God, we are lost. How is God rescuing us right now? How can we allow him to rescue us more?
Galatians / 1:11-14, 15, 16, 17, 19
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the Church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it, and progressed in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my race. But when God, who from my mother’s womb had set me apart was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to talk with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the Apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.
- We once used the analogy in our Sunday School class that St. Paul’s conversion would be like Jesus converting Osama Bin Laden to Christianity. Kids get that. The sworn enemy of Christianity who was imprisoning, beating, and murdering Christians is radically transformed into one of our greatest Saints and the author of most of the New Testament. I’ve heard it say that got uses ordinary people every day to extraordinary things. It doesn’t stop with St. Paul. We can be just like St. Paul. We can be Saints. In fact, Jesus calls us to be Saints; 1 Corinthians 1-2, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.” Why do we think sometimes that we cannot be Saints in this world? What Saints in Christ didn’t ever sin or were perfect?
Luke / 7:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has risen in our midst God has visited his people. R.
Luke / 7:11-17
Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, crying out “A great prophet has arisen in our midst, “ and “God has visited his people.” This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.
- There’s no denying that Jesus lived in this world and that he performed miracles. Roman, Jewish, and Christian historians all have recorded his existence the related instances of his work. The Jewish historian Josephus recorded the following in Rome in 93 A.D.: “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.” – Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63 There are 9 overall secular sources cited in history including Josephus (Jewish historian), Tacitus (Roman historian), Pliny the Younger (Roman politician), Phlegon (freed slave who wrote histories), Lucian (Greek satirist), Celsus (Roman philosopher), Mara Bar Serapion (prisoner awaiting execution), Suetonius, and Thallus. I’d encourage all of us to look into these further – they will ignite our Faith! The Jews knew that they had a great Prophet in their midst. So, why crucify Jesus? Don’t forget that the Jews killed most of their Old Testament Prophets, so killing one more didn’t amount to much in their minds. More importantly, Jesus didn’t claim to be a Prophet, but to be God. To them, that was punishable by death. But, nobody can ever say that Jesus didn’t exist and didn’t perform miracles. Those are undeniable facts. How are we denying the existence of Christ? How could we proclaim His word more boldly? What is keeping us from preaching fearlessly? What do we really believe?