Acts 1.15-17,21-26: After the ascension, the disciples are conscious that their number is one down. They need to make up the number and there are two candidates: Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. After praying, they cast lots and appoint Matthias. Casting lots is like throwing dice, which to us seems a strange way of discovering the will of God, though it was practised frequently in earlier Judaism by the priests.
1 John 5.9-13 : What does the author of 1 John mean by 'the testimony of God'? This passage explores two themes central to the Gospel of John: witness and life. There, Jesus' own deeds provide the Father's testimony to the Son (John 5.36). The Gospel is the evangelist's own witness, written so that its readers may have life (John 20.31). The purpose of the epistle is parallel: that its readers may know that they have eternal life. The Father's ultimate testimony to the Son was the resurrection; his testimony to the Church is the life that flows from contact with the risen Christ. The testimony of the apostles, evangelists and letter-writers of the Early Church has its source, its focus and its goal in that life.
John 17.6-19: At this point the focus of Jesus’ final words to his disciples changes as he addresses the Father on their behalf, rather than speaking to them directly. Some people refer to this as ‘the high-priestly prayer’. Jesus explains why his disciples are special. They are marked out, not because of any inherent qualities, but because he has made God’s name known to them. Jewish tradition has always been that the name of God reflects his deepest identity (and therefore should not be spoken). Here, Jesus summarises the content of his teaching in this way: it is all about God. To know God in this way makes people holy, separated from the evil of the world, as God is holy and separate.
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