Jen Krausz, Bethlehem, PA
What is the last thing you asked Jesus to do for you? Did he do it?
According to the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov), you now have a 39.6% chance of developing cancer in your lifetime. An estimated 14 million Americans have some form of cancer right now, including thousands of children and teens with leukemia.
Leukemia is a blood cancer. Instead of affecting a part of the body like the lungs or the brain, leukemia makes a person’s white blood cells sick so that they don’t work right. Our white blood cells help the body fight infections. People with leukemia get sick easily and can die from a simple infection if they don’t get help.
Doctors have found different ways of treating cancers, including chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Cancer cells multiply too quickly, which makes tumors grow and spread around the body. Many cancers can be put into remission or cured with the current treatments available, but some cancers are too advanced or aggressive. Scientists are looking for new ways to treat cancers that are easier for the body to handle and can work for even the most aggressive cancers.
In an amazing turn of events, some of the newest scientific advances use other viruses to kill cancer cells. Recently, scientists have exposed the polio virus to a cold virus, then used it to attack cancer cells in the brain where it is too sensitive to operate. Turns out the polio virus isn’t harmful to healthy cells once it catches a cold, but it appears to be quite harmful to cancer cells.
A new treatment for leukemia involves changing a donor’s white blood cells so that they act like an attack dog and go after the leukemia cells. Doctors tested this new treatment on a few patients who basically had no hope of survival even after bone marrow transplants, and they all survived at least 30 months with no new cancer activity. One even went into complete remission.
- How has cancer touched your family or friends?
- Why do you think so many more people are getting cancer today than 50 years ago?
- Do you have hope that someone will someday find a cure for cancer? Why or why not?
Transfiguration of our Lord
2 Corinthians 3:12–4:2
Luke 9:28-36 [37-43]
(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings
For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.
On the surface, the two events described in the gospel lesson couldn’t be more different. In one, Jesus brings Peter, John and James to a mountain and lets them see his conversation with long-dead prophets Moses and Elijah, blowing their minds in more ways than one. In the other account, Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy after grumbling about his disciples’ lack of faith.
What the two events have in common, though, is that they both reveal who Jesus is in a miraculous way. In the first account, we see the glory of Jesus as he is supernaturally changed and is able to speak with heavenly figures. Not only does he speak with them, but they talk about what is going to happen in the future with his life and death. The Transfiguration shows that Jesus is God’s son and that he shares God’s glory and sovereignty (which means his power over the whole world).
The second account also shows the power of Jesus in being able to do what no one else could do, heal the man’s demon-possessed son. This showed that not only did Jesus have power over the heavenly realms, but that he had more power than the evil spiritual realms as well.
Both of these stories show Jesus’ power over the supernatural realm, and proved to the disciples that he was God’s son. The disciples often doubted and wavered in their faith even though Jesus showed them his power over and over again.
Even now, we find it hard to understand why things happen the way they do in our lives. Why does one sick person get better and another doesn’t? We seek God’s power in our own lives, with varying results. Through God’s word, we see the power of Jesus and we choose to put our faith in him. Then we need to put that faith into action in the world so that others can also see it and be changed.
- What evidence do you see of the supernatural in the world today?
- Compare Jesus’ power to the growing ability of science to treat and cure diseases. How does Jesus’ power still surpass anything that people can accomplish?
- What ideas do you have for how to put your faith into action in the world?
If your church doesn’t already have a prayer team that prays for the spiritual needs of the congregation, your class/group can collect information about those prayer needs and pray about them in your meetings. If a prayer team does exist, you can use the existing information about prayer needs to make a calendar for your group so that you can pray for each need on a different day. The calendar can also be distributed to the whole congregation if the pastor/leadership are on board.
Sovereign God, your power is displayed in our world today even as it was when your son walked the earth. We ask your Holy Spirit to help us put our faith into action so that your glory is revealed even more each day. In Jesus’ name, amen.