Lessons for Holy Cross Day, September 14, 2020
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the Cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
CHALLENGE: Through God’s grace, may we willingly take action to empty ourselves of anything that keeps us from obediently following His will in every part of our lives. May others be increasingly drawn to His light through our lives reflecting His Love and compassion for all.
OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah 45:21-25
Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.
22 “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’[a]
24 “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. 25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.”
1 O sing unto the Lord a new song, *
for he has done marvelous things.
2 With his own right hand and with his holy arm, *
he has won for himself the victory.
3 The Lord declared his salvation; *
his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.
4 He has remembered his mercy and truth toward the house of Israel, *
and all the ends of the world have seen the salvation of our God.
5 Show yourselves joyful in the Lord, all you lands; *
sing, rejoice, and give thanks.
6 Praise the Lord with the harp; *
sing with the harp a psalm of thanksgiving.
7 With trumpets also and horns, *
O show yourselves joyful before the Lord, the King.
8 Let the sea make a noise, and all that is in it, *
the round world, and those who dwell therein.
9 Let the rivers clap their hands, and let the hills be joyful together before the Lord, *
for he has come to judge the earth.
10 With righteousness shall he judge the world, *
and the peoples with equity.
NEW TESTAMENT: Philippians 2:5-11
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
GOSPEL: John 12:31-36a
31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
ISAIAH 45:23: God’s promises are guaranteed by His name. The goal of redemptive history is that every knee will bow and every tongue confess the Lordship of Christ as reiterated by Paul in Philippians 2: 10-11/
PSALM 98 prophesies the first and second comings of Christ to save both Jews and Gentiles in His Church (vv. 2, 3). This salvation will cause a new song (vv. 1, 4–6) to be sung to the Father (the Lord, v. 1). It would be accomplished through the First Coming of Christ, who is called the Father's right hand and His holy arm (v. 1). He is also called the Father's salvation and righteousness (v. 2), and His mercy and truth (v. 3). At His Second Coming, He will come to judge the world in righteousness and uprightness (vv. 7–9).
PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11 This passage is a hymn already in use in the Church, quoted here by St. Paul because it calls us to ponder the humility of Christ, a truth necessary for suffering Christians to understand and live out. Christ is He who, being in the form of God, is also in the form of a bondservant (v. 7), in our likeness (see Gn 1:26), and is voluntarily subject to death. He who has died, God has exalted and given the name Lord (v. 11), a name God the Son shares with God the Father from all eternity.
2:6 The form (Gr. morphe) of God, a concept parallel with “the image [Gr. eikon] of God” (Col 1:15), refers to the Son's sharing in full the divine nature. Grasped: refers to an object tightly clutched. Christ has equality with God not by seizure but by nature, and with absolute security. There is, therefore, no threat, loss, or any change in the divine nature of the Son of God when He takes our humanity to Himself and offers us salvation.
2:7-8 Emptied himself (v. 7) deals with the Son's will, not His nature. He emptied Himself not by laying down His divine nature or setting it aside, but by voluntarily taking on our human nature. To human beings He looks just like another human being, for being truly incarnate, He is fully man by nature. He took the form of a bondservant, voluntarily sharing our human condition except for one thing: sin. In His humanity, He showed the fullness of humility by His obedience to the death that has enslaved humanity. To die on a cross, the death of a criminal, was repulsive to the Romans and considered a curse by the Jews. But His death brings life to all who are joined to Him.
JOHN 12:31-33 Lifted up (v. 32) is a reference to Christ being hung on the Cross (see also 3:14, 15; 8:28). This death will bring salvation to all peoples, while at the same time rendering judgment on the faithless and destroying once for all the power of Satan, the ruler of this world.
12:34 The crowd makes two (correct) connections: (1) the glorification of the Son of Man (v. 23) and the “lifting up” of Jesus (v. 32) are tied to Jesus’ death (see note on 3:14–15). (2) Jesus’ self-presentation as the “Son of Man” is a Messianic claim. Law . . . forever. What OT passage they have in mind is uncertain (cf. Pss 72:17; 89:35–37; Isa 9:7; Ezek 37:25).
12:35-36 The light refers to Christ (1:4–9; 8:12). His teaching here has several facets of meaning. First, He will be completing His public ministry shortly. Further, our lives are very limited; we have but a short time to repent and believe inChrist before death. Finally, the second coming of Christ is but a little while when compared to eternity.