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Who is the Messiah?

Deuteronomy 34: 1-12
Matthew Chapter 22: 34-46
Deuteronomy’s reading is quite straightforward and not so bloodthirsty as most of the Old Testament, though Moses’ death is still squeezed in.I don’t normally have OT readings if I can avoid it, principally because it is my belief that when Jesus came and fulfilled his mission, he brought to fruition what we call the Old Testament, or God’s revelation to a specific group of people. This isn’t meant to be defamatory to ancient Judaic or Islamic scriptures, however I believe that Jesus came and announced the fulfillment of the law, announcing a new age on that first Easter Sunday.However the death of Moses, considered to be one of the greatest people in Jewish history, is important when laid against our second reading, because we have Jesus explicitly challenging the viewpoint of the time concerning the Messiah.Jesus in claiming the title of Messiah, is claiming himself to be greater than Moses; something that the lawmakers of the day find ex…

One small step. – A revolution in being

Do not be afraid.How many times does that phrase occur in the Bible?Well there are some things that the internet just doesn’t tell you, at least accurately.There are claims that it is there or thereabouts for 365 times.A nice idea, but not really upheld by various search methods, but then what is it that we are being advised not to be afraid of, and can we compare advice if the context is totally different?In the end, it probably doesn’t really matter whether it was said 1 time or 10,000 times, what matters is why it was said and to what purpose.
Our two readings today have two totally different contexts and two separate storylines.In Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, we are in the midst of his second visit, which to all intents and purposes was a difficult one.There are hints of Paul being accused of fraudulent activity in his collection of money for the church in Jerusalem that was suffering from persecution and was finding itself in a really precarious position.The community i…

The first shall be last and the last shall be first

The first will be last and the last will be first.
In our Gospel reading today, the landowner hires some labourers and then pays those who have only been around for about an hour the same total wage as those who had been working all day.
Do you consider that fair?Let’s do a show of hands.Who thinks that is fair payment for the workers?Who thinks that this this is totally unfair and should be challenged?
It is easy to sit back and say yes but God’s ways are different from our ways, so just get over it.Well, the trouble with that is that we don’t learn anything and there is a real risk that we just harbour a slowly growing sense that God is a harsh taskmaster who just does what he wants, because we are just the paid hands after all.I think that is a shame because we then get a warped image of what God is wanting for us from the relationship, and it doesn’t tie with other areas of scripture where God seems to be saying he wants to embrace us in an intimacy that is to a lot of people frighte…

Putting God first, what does it mean?

Romans 8:1-11
Does anyone else find the letter to Romans a bit difficult to get to grips with?I remember having to do my very first exegesis on a verse in Romans as part of my training and I got it totally wrong.From these things one can learn. – Hopefully, anyway.I will let you judge for yourselves.
The first thing for me in looking at scripture readings for services is never to look in isolation at the reading, because for the simple reason is that it is attached to chapters either side and forms an important part of the whole.If you were reading a letter, or lets say an email from a friend or colleague, would you take a sentence out of the email and seek meaning from that without looking at the rest of the message.What if there was a sentence that said, “Leave immediately”.What could that mean.It may make more sense of course if you took it in context if the email said, “Make sure that in the event of fire.” What if you took just the words, taking them out of context so that you just …