Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Exo 21:5,6
"But if the servant declares, 'I love my master and my wife
and children and do not want to go free,' then his master must take him before
the judges [or 'before God']. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and
pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life" (Exo
Christ is the servant of his master -- that is, Yahweh -- and
because he is without sin, might have "gone free" from the penalty of sin, which
is death (Rom 6:23). But because he loves his Master -- and because he loves his
"family" (you and me!) -- he willingly and lovingly submits to the Father's
service for his whole life, including the anguished death upon the cross. And
all so that you and I can belong to him, and he to us, forever.
Figuratively, then, Christ is the slave whose ear has been
pierced, and whose life has been devoted, wholeheartedly and without
reservation, to his Master (Psa 40:6; Heb 10:7-9).
Reading 2 - Psa 74:16
"The day is yours, and yours also the night" (Psa
"The night of affliction is as much under the arrangement and
control of the Lord of Love as the bright summer days when all is bliss... His
love wraps the night about itself as a mantle, but to the eye of faith the sable
robe is scarce a disguise. From the first watch of the night even unto the break
of day the eternal Watcher observes His saints, and overrules the shades and
dews of midnight for His people's highest good. We believe in no rival deities
of good and evil contending for the mastery, but we hear the voice of Jehovah
saying, 'I create light and I create darkness; I, the Lord, do all these
things.' [Isa 45:7]
"Gloomy seasons of religious indifference and social sin are
not exempted from the divine purpose. When the altars of truth are defiled, and
the ways of God forsaken, the Lord's servants weep with bitter sorrow, but they
may not despair, for the darkest eras are governed by the Lord, and shall come
to their end at His bidding. What may seem defeat to us may be victory to Him"
Reading 3 - Mark 7:21,22
"For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts,
sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness,
envy, slander, arrogance and folly" (Mar 7:21,22).
"Envy" is, in the KJV, translated "an evil eye".
"When the Householder in the parable rebukes the labourers who
grudge the latecomers equal pay, he says, 'Is thine eye evil, because I am
good?' [Mat 20:15] Are they greedy and envious because he is generous? The evil
eye results from an attachment to earthly treasure which corrupts the spirit and
blinds the heart. The 'good' or 'single' eye, on the other hand, is that of the
liberal man whose vision is unclouded by greed and his mind not divided by envy"
(LG Sargent, "Teachings of the Master" 210).