The Hometown Prophet

Day 21

Genesis 42:18‐43:34; Matthew 13:47‐14:12; Psalm 18:16‐36; Proverbs 4:7‐10

The Hometown Prophet

In this reading from Matthew, Jesus has returned to His hometown and began teaching the people in their synagogue. Even though they were amazed at how knowledgeable He was with the Scripture, they asked, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” (vs.55). Aren’t we all subject to skepticism when it comes time to listen to someone who espouses the Word of God or, for that fact, any semblance of expert knowledge?

My professional background included a number of years in law enforcement, and it always amazed me that the folks responsible for hiring a new police chief or superior officer of any position more often than not looked outside the agency for applicants. There seemed to be a belief that no one of ability could come from the ranks of the department. There might have been a belief that the rank-and-file would not accept one of their own as the top leader. “And they took offense at him” (vs. 57). Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor” (vs. 57).

Perhaps we should look within our own “family” and recognize it is the Lord who selects His prophets and leaders. If one rises up and answers the call, maybe we should not be so quick to judge, but rather accept the one appointed.

The Rev. Ed Bartle
St. Edward’s Episcopal Church
Mount Dora, FL

The Perceived Jewish Messiah vs. Jesus Christ

Day 20

Genesis 41:17‐42:17; Matthew 13:24‐46; Psalm 18:1‐15; Proverbs 4:1‐6

The Perceived Jewish Messiah vs. Jesus Christ

It was no surprise that many who heard the rumor that Jesus was the Messiah that they had been waiting for wondered when He might break out the sword, take out the Romans, and conquer all the land. This was their perceived Messiah that they had been awaiting for generations. What they could not comprehend was Jesus teaching things like “the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.” Really, a mustard seed? That is the smallest seed on the planet, and you are comparing what is supposed to be the total domination of a Messiah to a mustard seed! It was new a perspective on what they had anticipated. They wanted physical domination but what they got was spiritual domination.

Jesus was giving them a new perspective on the Kingdom. It started within each of them by faith and would eventually lead to the greatest thing we would ever know…an eternal relationship with the Trinity, one that would reign and rule like never before seen. Jesus had said earlier in His instruction on how to pray that, “thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” Hence the concept of the mustard seed. The kingdom of God would begin small but grow into the greatest and most powerful kingdom ever experienced. What appeared small was in fact full of power and might!

Today the task at hand may seem mighty, and we are very small in comparison. Take heart in the words of Jesus that the smallest things can have some of the greatest impact. Your faith and the faith of others in Christ leads to the Kingdom of God spreading throughout all the earth. Do not lose heart, for the mustard seed will continue to grow in time!

The Rev. Wes Sharp
Holy Cross Episcopal Church
Trussville, AL

Just Desserts?

Day 19

Genesis 39:1-41:16; Matthew 12:46-13:23; Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 3:33-35

Just Desserts

Sometimes, I hear someone sigh and say, “Ah well… no good deed goes unpunished!” The saying is sardonic, but I sympathize with the sentiment. Life doesn’t seem to turn out the way we think it should. There’s just no justice in the world!

We see the saying demonstrated in the misadventures of Joseph. Contrast today’s chapters of Genesis with the stories we’ve been reading. Cowardly Abraham betrayed his wife, but was rewarded with treasure (in Genesis 12 and 20). Wily Jacob, after deceiving his father and tricking his brother, was rewarded with an elder’s birthright (in Genesis 25).

But here, in Genesis 39 and 40, the Bible’s first virtuous character is rewarded with imprisonment and betrayal! What kind of karma is this? If we will be Bible students, we will be forced to forego simplistic, moralistic judgments. The Scriptures will not conform to those kinds of judgments. The grace of God will not be confined to our tidy compartments. The prophet Isaiah expressed that idea in these words: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord” (55:8 NIV).

We’ll let the story play out, and trust in God to make it right, in the way that seems right to Him.

It’s also true for the lives we lead. We let the story play out, and trust God to make it right

The Rev. Kevin Holsapple