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Will we respond to Jesus with worship as Elizabeth and John did? Will we be like the shepherds, realising that we are welcomed in and sharing the good news with others? Will we constantly seek God as Anna did? Or will we be proud and want to keep our positions like Herod did?
Proverbs is a leadership book, a probability book and a thinking book. The wise person will listen to advice. We should use our understanding but not lean on it. To acknowledge God is to submit to his ways.
Like the two disciples on the Emmaus Road, we need clarity on who Jesus was and what he has done. Jesus proves who he is from the Old Testament - he’s not just a prophet but the Mighty God, God With Us, whose suffering was prophesied. Nothing went wrong with God’s plan - the cross was part of the plan.
Rejoicing doesn’t mean always feeling joyful, but tuning in to what is really there. Paul rejoices even though he’s in prison, because Christ is being preached, because the Philippians are like-minded and because they’re in Christ.
It is good to praise the Lord - it benefits us and causes us to flourish, as it is what we are designed for. Praising God gladdens the heart and stretches the mind. It is good to consider what God has done.
Jesus is transfigured as he prays. Moses and Elijah, both men of prayer, represent the Law and the Prophets, the whole of the Old Testament, and they discuss Jesus’ departure, the cross, the fulfilment of all God’s promises. Peter had an old way of thinking, but the Father tells him and us to listen to Jesus. We are also being transfigured into his likeness.
The women physically looked up and saw the stone was rolled away. We can figuratively look up and see Jesus. We are all searching for different things, but the women were searching for Jesus. What are we chasing after?
Jesus is the good shepherd. Biblical shepherds led their sheep from the front, and knew each one by name, and the sheep knew his voice. We are invited to come and feed. Good shepherds lead by example, protect the flock, encourage the whole church to be a shepherding community, anoint with oil, and lay down their lives for the sheep.
We need to learn how to lament. We can do this by using our own words or by using some of the lament psalms that have been given us to help us pray. We need to make a deliberate decision to turn to the Lord, bring our complaint to him, make definite clear requests, and choose to trust him.