Scriptures for October 23rd: Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46 Theme: A Faith that overcomes Song: Swing Low Sweet Chariot – UMH 703
1 Thessalonians: Paul tells the congregation at “Salonica” about his trip to Philippians. Things did not go well for him there. It turns out that he was run out of town this time also. He seems to be offending a lot of people – by trying to get them to think in a new way. Paul is on the search to make disciples for Christ. He says that there are real evangelist and fake evangelist. There are people who are concerned about numbers – we should be concerned about a change of heart. It turns out that he was kicked out of Thessalonica also. People wanted a quick faith that would address their needs. Paul wanted them to learn to take faith seriously.
Matthew: The Pharisees are still questioning Jesus. They are trying to do whatever they can to trip him up. They hate him, but the people love him. The only way to get the people to feel like they do is to make sure that he says the wrong thing in public, so that that people can start asking questions also. They ask him two questions this week – what is the greatest commandment and what does it mean to be the messiah. Jesus reminds that that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord. He reminds us that the second commandment is to love our neighbor. Jesus was careful to stick to Hebrew scripture in all of his answers. The Pharisees realize that there is no point in arguing with him – he knows just as much (if not more) than they do. But we can learn to.
Questions: Who was instrumental in you becoming a Christian? What did it mean that Paul was kicked out of the places he preached? – was he a help to them or a hindrance? How do we treat people today who strike at the core of our faith when we are not ready to deal with them or it? Does loving God help us love people more? Why or why not? How can Jesus be the son of God and the son of man at the same time?