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Showing posts from June, 2020

Glasses of water and the vulnerable missionary. Matthew 10:40-42

Matthew 10.40-42 Over the last two weeks we have been reading through Matthew 10 In Matthew 10.1-8 Jesus tells his first followers to preach the Kingdom of God and do the sort of things that happen when the Kingdom of God is near – healing sick people, casting out demons and raising the dead In Matthew 10.16-39 Jesus speaks to them of the opposition that they can expect And in Matthew 10.40-42, he promises that whoever welcomes them and receives them -   because they are prophets (those who speak the words of God), or righteous (those who live the kingdom of God), whoever even gives a glass of water because they are followers of Jesus, will not lose their reward. And verses 40-42 are closely linked to Matthew 10:8-15 These first disciples, first missionaries, are to travel about Israel with nothing. No money, no bag, no change of clothing, and not even a staff. They are to go as they are They are to wandering preachers, with nothing. They are to be completely dependent o

Six reasons for hope in the face of persecution. Matthew 10.24-39

Matthew 10.24-39 This is a passage about courage, hope and not being afraid in the face of opposition.   Jesus has sent out his 12 disciples to preach the Kingdom of God, and to do Kingdom of God stuff. But he warns them that it will not be easy. They will suffer rejection and opposition because they are associated with him. People will think that they are betraying their communities, their families, their religion. They will hate them, say all kinds of untrue things about them and even want them dead.   And Jesus in these verses gives them and us six reasons not to give in to fear, for hope in the face of persecution   1. We are not on our own. ‘If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!’ (v25) When we experience hostility, we are only experiencing what Jesus experienced. They accused him of doing the work of the devil (that is what it means when they call him Beelzebul), and since we are part of hi

The Kingdom of God

Matthew 9:35-10:8 Three things from this passage 1. It is about the Kingdom of God Matthew 9.35: Jesus went about proclaiming the Good news of the Kingdom. Matthew 10.7: Jesus gives instructions to his disciples: ‘Proclaim the good news, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven has come near’. The Kingdom of God is a central theme, possibly the central theme, in the teaching of Jesus.  It was his big message. The Kingdom of God is near.       In the Old Testament we are told about the Kingdom of God, the rule of God. When the kingdom comes there will be a reordering of creation: There will be no place for that which is evil or unclean There will be no place for sickness or disease – no place for Covid-19 There will be no place for death And prophets like Isaiah share with us a vision of a world of abundance, of freedom, of harmony (between people and people, people and God, people and creation – that is what those passages about wolves lying down with lambs, and and children playing ov

How do we live together well? 2 Corinthians 13:11-13

2 Corinthians 13.11-13 How do we live together well? After all we are all quite different. We have our own agendas and priorities, we invest our identities in different things – our families, countries, jobs, wealth, number of followers on Instagram. We have our own fears, likes and dislikes – whether that is films or music or what we find attractive and desirable. We live in different ways, eat different foods, have different expectations of what is good behaviour. We see things in different ways and we think in different ways. And then we have the issue of our petty little egos and pride, of politics and power play, of trying to get my own way even if it means I trample over others The Corinthian church struggled to live well together. There were factions, there were bitter disputes about which group was the most spiritual, there were divisions between factions. There even appear to be the embryos of denominational splits – parties which grouped around an individual. There was snob