Sunday Scripture Reflection: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Updated: Mar 22, 2021
On this Fifth Sunday in Lent, we will reflect on the words of the prophet Jeremiah, as he speaks God's loving intent of a new covenant; a covenant that is no longer a series of written laws to be enforced on hesitant followers, but a spiritual covenant that shall be written on the hearts of those who follow from their commitment and love of God.
Our Scripture passage is found in the Book of the prophet Jeremiah. You may find the Scripture lesson by selecting the following link: (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
For continuing study, reflect on these questions (found in the study guide below):
Our study focuses on the words of the prophet Jeremiah to the Jewish people as they are experiencing loss, sorrow, and the destruction of their home and temple in Jerusalem. In this context, the prophet speaks of God's desire to be with the people, renewing his desire for covenant with them: a covenant written on their hearts, not in the written law. With this brief background - what do you think the prophet Jeremiah is implying about "the letter of the law" vs. the "spirit of the law"?
Read the assigned Scripture lesson from Jeremiah 31:31-34 - reflect on what the Jewish people, living in exile in Babylon, might have thought of the prophet's words.
After reading the "WHAT..." paragraph in the study guide below, reflect on how this new covenant with God is different from other covenants discussed earlier in the Old Testament. Reflect on the author's statement: "relationship of belonging is the core element of the new covenant." For additional background, you might want to read this brief statement from the prophet Ezekiel (a prophet about the same time as the prophet Jeremiah): (Ezekiel 11:19-20).
After reading the "WHERE..." paragraph below, reflect on the author's comment that "grace-filled living is pursued in gratitude to God." How does this statement about grace-filled living find its meaning in the earlier statement from the author: "grace-filled living...was embodied so dramatically in Jesus' sacrificial living and dying." How can "sacrificial living" lead to "grace-filled living"?
After reading the "SO WHAT..." paragraph below, reflect on the author's idea that "emptying ourselves can prepare us for the Good News of Easter..."
After reading the "NOW WHAT..." paragraph below, reflect on the following question: What does having the law of love firmly engraved on the heart have to do with grace-filled living?