Readings for the Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

Genesis 45:3-15; 1 Corinthians 15:21-26,30-42; Luke 6:27-38

Love is such a common word today. We use it all the time in casual conversation. And it shows up in most every pop song you hear on the radio. But ironically, even as we overuse this word on a daily basis, our culture’s understanding of biblical love is sorely lacking.

Jesus is calling us to exhibit an uncommon love – love that returns blessings for curses and doesn’t stop praying for the one who causes us pain. The goal is that we would, in this way, reflect the image of God and His merciful love for a creation in turmoil (Lk 6).

The Old Testament reading offers us an example of such Christ-like love long before our Savior’s birth. Joseph forgave his brothers for selling him into slavery. Instead of bitterness and vengeance, he chose the path of forgiveness and reconciliation. This was only possible because Joseph’s eyes were fixed on God’s greater plan. Note the repetition – God sent…God made… The supreme and saving love of God is what makes our love for hard-to-love people possible (Gn 45).

In the epistle reading, Paul continues his explanation of how Jesus Christ has taken the place of Adam. Where Adam’s sin brought death to all, Jesus’ righteousness has brought life and the hope of resurrection to all. We don’t have all the details on what that Day will be like, but it is sure to be a victory celebration like no other (1Cor15)!