The Old Testament lectionary readings for this week cover the birth of Abraham's promised son Isaac and the confirmation of Abraham's faith in his willingness to sacrifice that same son, a sacrifice that was obviated at the last minute by God Himself. The New Testament readings conclude John's Gospel, describing the betrayal, arrest, trials and torture of Jesus, leading to His crucifixion, death and burial. John provides a unique account of Jesus's resurrection, including His restoration of Simon Peter, after Peter had denied Christ three times before the crucifixion.
Author: SJ Hatch
The Covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12-22)
There are multiple episodes in the development of God’s covenant with Abraham, but they should be treated as all part of one covenant. Through all these experiences, Abraham not only grew in faith in trusting the LORD, but grew in covenantal love to the LORD. The term for this in the Old Testament is hesed, and the richness of the concept does not translate neatly into English.
Renewed Rebellion and the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9)
In Genesis 11, the people in Shinar are building a city and a tower that will reach to heaven so that they may make a name for themselves and not be scattered abroad. God responds by confounding their language and scattering them across the earth. It would be a simplistic misreading of the text to assume that the problem is the mere building of a tower or that it somehow was a threat to God. The problem, fundamentally, was one of the sinful human heart seeking self-exaltation and autonomy from God.
Reading the Genealogies (Gen. 9:18-11:32)
It is undeniable that the genealogical lists in Scripture can seem boring. But, rightly understood, they do have both a narrative and a covenantal significance in several ways.
Lectionary Readings – Year A Week 5
The Old Testament lectionary readings for this week cover the beginnings of the Abrahamic covenant, going from God's initial promises to Abram to the institution of circumcision as a sign of the covenant. The New Testament readings continue in John's Gospel, and chapters 12-15 focus on Christ's last words to His disciples. The Psalm readings continue through the Psalms of David.