Knysna Methodist Church

9 January 2022

KMC – Lectionary Notes – 9.1.2022

God is our Creator. Whether we believe this or not, it is so. In this passage God commands people not to be afraid. No matter what circumstances we may face, God is our Redeemer. At that time, a redeemer would be able to rescue a slave who was a relative by paying for them and any debt they owed. God assures people that He will pay the price for them. The relationship with God is a personal one. He knows our names. We belong to Him. He promises to protect us whatever obstacle we face – in this passage water, rivers and fire are named. The trials we face are an inevitable fact of life. Scripture says ‘when’ we face them, not ‘if’ we do so. But there is no need for panic as God will be with us. He loves us and cherishes us. The text speaks to all God’s people – whether the chosen race of Israel, or those who follow Christ in the Church. Humankind has been created to glorify God, and it is in doing this that we find fulfilment and contentment.

Psalm 29
This psalm praises God. Nothing more, nothing less. Those who consider themselves to be mighty, whether important on earth or angelic beings are told to look to God and not themselves. They are to recognise that the Lord is so much greater than any of them. They are encouraged to acknowledge His glory and strength. The term ‘the Lord’ is used eighteen times in this short psalm. This name is known as the tetragrammaton (or four letters) which the Jews used for God – YHVH. The pronunciation is unknown but the name of God is so holy, they do not pronounce it. All people should bow down in humble acknowledgement of God’s greatness, beauty and holiness. In this way, God is worshipped with the mind as His glory is recognised; and with our bodies as we bow to Him in recognition of His beauty and holiness.

The might of those who consider themselves to be important is nothing when compared to the might of God. God’s voice (7) possesses strength and authority. It is powerful, like thunder – and David goes on to describe the power and majesty of the storm. But God’s voice is even greater than that storm, spreading out over many waters. It is capable of splitting the mighty cedars that grow in Lebanon. Sirion was the Lebanese name for Mt Hermon in northern Israel. David uses his description of the storm to emphasise the glory of God, which is even more evident in the Temple.

David compared the torrent of rain with the Flood of Noah’s time remembering how that storm demonstrated God’s power and authority. In addition to these characteristics of God, we are reminded of His justice for the word David used to describe this downpour is only used in one other place in Scripture when the writer of Genesis describes the rain that fell on the occasion of the Flood. Just as God was sovereign then, so He is sovereign now. He is the King forever. God passes on His strength to His people. They can be assured of His blessing, His peace and His comfort in the times of storm. It has been said that this psalm was often read to children during storms.

Acts 8:14-17
The relationship between the Samaritans and the Jews was an uneasy one, with both peoples avoiding the other as much as possible. So it is interesting to note that the apostles sent Peter and John to Samaria to tell the Samaritans the full story of salvation, for at this time they had only heard about Jesus – not the coming of the Holy Spirit.

The two apostles welcomed the Samaritans who, until now had been outcasts, into the kingdom of God. The laying on of hands has been and still is practiced to bestow the grace and gifts God has for us. When the apostles did this, it was evident the Holy Spirit came upon the Samaritans for whom they prayed – although there is no description of how this was revealed.

The people had heard Philip’s account of Jesus and were baptised; then they were baptised in the Spirit under John and Peter’s teaching. This seemingly ‘double conversion’ has caused controversy in the Church. Whatever happened, the Samaritans received the full blessing of God in their conversion experience, just as the rest of those who followed Jesus received. Therefore, there was no cause for division.

Luke 3:15-17; 21-22
John went to great lengths to re-direct the attention he was receiving to focus it on Jesus. He emphasised that Jesus was greater than he was. No rabbi would expect one of his followers to take of the rabbi’s sandals for it was consider too demeaning a task. Yet John said he was not worthy to do even this.

John baptised people solely with water. But Jesus would baptise them with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The Holy Spirit would empower them and give them the gifts they needed to fulfil the ministries to which God called them; the fire would purify them to serve God.

The crowds flocked to John; and one day Jesus came too. He was not baptised because He was a sinner but rather to identify Himself with people, all of whom are sinful. It was the first time He had done so – and the identification was ultimately completed in his death on the cross.

Luke emphasises the fact that Jesus prayed during His baptism and as He did so God’s voice was heard (the Father); His presence was seen in the dove (the Holy Spirit); and He associated Himself with the people (the Son). Jesus was affirmed by both the Father and the Spirit in this act of baptism. He began His ministry on earth with the blessing of the Father and the empowering of the Spirit.

Points to Ponder
• When have you been aware of God’s presence with you during times of trial or challenge? How did He help
• What was the result of His presence with you?
• Spend some time reading this psalm out loud. Make your reading a prayer, full of wonder and praise as if
you have never before thought of God in this way and are only now realising how amazing He is. If you are
in a group, take turns in reading the verses. Read it again. Use different versions if possible.
• How do you feel as you praise God wholeheartedly in this way?
• What does the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life mean to you?
• How has He helped you to cope with mountains, obstacles, doubts, impossible tasks in your life?
• How would you describe His presence to someone who does not know Him?
• What blessing have you received recently from God?
• How has God helped you over this Christmas period?
• Where do you need His help now?
• What has God said to you through these passages this week?


Isaiah Chapter 43

Psalm 29

Acts Chapter 8

Luke Chapter 3

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