Occasional clarifications from our Pastor on the passages we hear and sometimes don't hear on Sunday morning.
In English God’s name would look like this YHWH. It is pronounced Yahweh; once upon a time it was erroneously pronounced Jehovah.
In the scholarly literature it is called “the tetragrammaton” that’s Greek for “the four letters” of God’s name. Translated YHWH means “I AM,” it’s God’s answer to Moses at the burning bush. Since the Second Commandment forbade the misuse of God’s name, it was avoided altogether with a circumlocution, “Adonai” which we render, THE LORD.
The disciples and Greek Christians used (kyrios), the Lord, in referring to Jesus. As if all of this isn’t confusing enough, kyrios was a title that had political connections in its day. Perhaps this is why it was almost treasonous to be a Christian in the first century, and why Pilate wondered to what extent Jesus was a king.
About Jesus, St. Paul says, “God has given him the name above all names… and that at that name of Jesus every knee in heaven and earth will bow. “ Philippians 2:9-10
In the mind of many the Psalms are the work of David; a shepherd, a poet-singer and prophet. We remember him as a slayer of giants, a companion King Saul, a lover and a warrior, but by all means David is a man whose heart was solidly in God’s camp. Many of the Psalms can be attributed to David, but not all. Psalm 18 is unusual in that David gives us the circumstances that inspired its writing. It is a psalm of thanksgiving, for God had rescued him from the hands of his enemies and from the former king, Saul.
A small number of psalms have these brief introductions. You might notice that they have no verse numbers. Most commentaries are silent about these instructions, leaving us to wonder whether they are part of the biblical text, or just the work of a later editor.
John 3 1-17
From the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus, it is obvious that that the old man had a problem with Jesus’ choice of words. To be “born again” would require nothing less than a miracle. And since the whole thing is impossible, the expression is a silly one. Or is it?
We know that Jesus used the expression in a spiritual sense. It is perhaps better rendered in English as “born from above” as most of your Bibles indicate in the notes.
Nicodemus will figure that out shortly, and we know he did by his participation in Jesus’ Passion. However, consider that spiritual birth, birth “from above” also requires a miracle, the miracle of the Holy Spirit and faith. Faith is not a reasonable thing, it requires “a leap” into the darkness; faith trusts that God is there to catch you. And by faith we know that Jesus is God.
“Born again” is an awkward expression, and with the question “are you saved?” they have become part of the stock vocabulary of modern evangelicalism. You can judge for yourselves how useful they are. What matters most is that we give a clear and unambiguous witness to the truths of Jesus Christ; he calls us sinners into a new and living relationship with God—calls us through the Gospel. In the life of Jesus we find ours!