Day #15: Friday, March 13
Messiah: Episode 3
Clip: 20:50 – 22:55
Old Testament: Psalm 25:1-10
New Testament: Matthew 4:23-25
Practice: Lectio Divina (Sacred Reading)
The third episode of Messiah recalls the diverse reactions people in the Gospels had to Jesus. Some were drawn to him by witnessing miracles and healings firsthand, while others responded to his celebrity status as word spread about these acts. Consider how shallow and vapid many celebrities are now and compare that with what drew people to Jesus. Messiah highlights the kind of desperate situations that often drew people (and continue to draw people) to Jesus: tragedies, sickness, depression, strife, etc.
This episode encourages us to focus on our own impression of Jesus. Perhaps there is a character in this series that you relate to. At the center of this episode of the minister who is at his wit’s end and ready to burn down the church building, when a tornado tears apart every building in town but the church. The irony is not lost on the minister nor on us as we watch things unfold. Each character in the program is forced to wrestle with how the Messiah character fits into his or her worldview.
There is an art of sacred reading of Scripture that is over 1,500 years old known as lectio divina. Often practiced in monasteries, lectio divina is a prayerful, meditative approach to communing with God and seeking his will through the reading of Scripture. There are traditionally four movements and I encourage you to use this method for reflecting on today’s New Testament reading. Use the short overview below to help lead your meditation experience.
1 – Lectio (read)
The first step of lectio is to select a relatively short Bible passage and read through it carefully one time. As you read through the first time, you are preparing your heart to receive a message through the text from the Holy Spirit.
2 – Meditatio (meditate)
Through lectio divina, the primary focus is not on learning new information or dissecting the text, but rather it is solely on communing with God. Having read the text once, read it again as you quietly seek peaceful communion with God. You want to hear these words through the movement of the Holy Spirit. Allow them to draw you into his presence. How do these words help us see God better?
3 – Oratio (pray)
Too often we separate the disciplines of reading Scripture and praying. We can read Scripture to study and help inform our faith, but we can also read Scripture to deepen our conversation with God. Spend some time seeing where the text leads your prayers as you read through the passage again. Too often our prayers begin with our wants and our needs instead of allowing ourselves to be directed by the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.
4 – Contemplatio (contemplation)
Perhaps the one aspect of lectio divina that we are in the greatest need of is silent, guided contemplation. As we read through the passage one more time, consider a word or phrase that stands out in the passage to you. Why did this passage stand out? Why is God drawing your attention to this word or this phrase? Try your best to empty your mind of distraction and noise and try to receive a word from the Lord.
Matthew 4:23-25 NLT
23 Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 24 News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. 25 Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.