Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 24, 2011

Breaking Open the Scriptures

Scriptures for July 24th – Genesis 29:15-28; Psalm 105:1-11;45b; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52;

Romans: We come to the end of chapter 8, the important chapter on our faith. Paul is talking a lot about what it means to have hope. Hope in something that you can see if not really hope. Needing to see something before you believe it, is not a bad thing, it is just not the definition of hope. We talked about waiting for a new creation and the groaning of birth pangs of a new day. Now it is time to celebrate the fruition of what God has done. Now it is time to sing a new song! Now it is time to sing of what God has done for us. Now it is time to sing of how our hope has been fulfilled. A large part of this final part of the chapter are the words to a hymn that Paul would have had the early church sing to celebrate where God has bought them. We have victory over life, because God has given that to us!

Matthew: Jesus likes to explain things in parables. He is trying to get us to understand what God is like. None of us has ever seen God for ourselves, so God must be like something that we can already relate to. Five times Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is like…. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Mustard seed would have been a plant that grew everywhere. You did not have to take care of it, water it, or sometimes even plant it, it just grew and did what it wanted to do. When God is compared to a mustard seed, it is not important that it is wild, but that it spreads like wild fire. It is catching on and spreading. And it grows beyond belief. Wouldn’t it be nice if our faith in God spread with the same speed and intensity? The kingdom is like leaven, like rising bread, like the law of the household. Jesus did not come to the world to usher in the kingdom. The new kingdom does not do away with the old law, it just makes it easier to understand. For us to understand God’s world in out terms is all that Jesus is trying to do in this parable.

Questions: What do you hope that God will do for you in the future? What do you hope that God will do for the world? How do you pray for change? What are the signs in the world that change is coming? What are you doing to celebrate what God is doing in our midst? How would you explain the kingdom of God today? How does Jesus parables help you understand and explain God? What does the parable of the mustard seed mean to you?

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