Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, October 21, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 149

Prayer Point: New songs were sung when God intervened and saved his people by defeating their enemies.  God’s ultimate victory was Christ’s death and resurrection. Meditate on what that victory means for us and pray a prayer of thanksgiving to God.

Matthew 16:13-20

Who do the crowds believe the Son of Man (Jesus) to be?

Once again Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man which is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”

Jesus presses the question further, “But who do you say that I am?” How does Simon Peter reply? Who revealed this to Peter according to Jesus?

Why does Jesus give Simon the name ‘Peter’?

What is the rock upon which Jesus will build his church? This has been a hotly debated topic for centuries. The answer from our tradition is that the “rock” is Peter’s confession, “you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” and not the Apostle himself.

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Paul compares the Christian life to the history of Israel. While Israel endured 400 years of slavery in Egypt, we also were slaves to sin. Israel became a free people when God parted the Red Sea and they passed through the waters (were baptized) while the pursuing Egyptian army was destroyed. We became free when we came to faith in Jesus Christ and were baptized in His name. But the Red Sea and our baptism and conversion is only the beginning of the journey, not the end. There is a desert we must cross before we reach the Promised Land (heaven) and eternal life with our Father.

How does Israel’s experience in the wilderness serve as a warning to us as we journey towards the Promised Land? What must we believe to overcome temptation?

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-14

What are Jeremiah’s instructions to the exiles living in Babylon? Compare them to the advice given by the false prophets. Israel were a people of the promises. God promised to bless Israel by his grace so that his people could be a blessing to the world. How is God’s dream for Israel now being realized in exile? What plans does God have for Israel after the 70 year exile?

Some have compared our situation today to that of Israel. We are exiles living in a strange land, waiting for our king to restore his kingdom and bring us home. If this is true, how do Jeremiah’s instructions to the exiles teach us how to live in the world today while wait for the return of Christ?

Sirach 4:1-10

1 My child, do not cheat the poor of their living,
and do not keep needy eyes waiting.
2 Do not grieve the hungry,
or anger one in need.
3 Do not add to the troubles of the desperate,
or delay giving to the needy.
4 Do not reject a suppliant in distress,
or turn your face away from the poor.
5 Do not avert your eye from the needy,
and give no one reason to curse you;
6 for if in bitterness of soul some should curse you,
their Creator will hear their prayer.

7 Endear yourself to the congregation;
bow your head low to the great.
8 Give a hearing to the poor,
and return their greeting politely.
9 Rescue the oppressed from the oppressor;
and do not be hesitant in giving a verdict.
10 Be a father to orphans, and be like a husband to their mother;
you will then be like a son of the Most High,
and he will love you more than does your mother.

What is the theme running through this reading? (Sirach is talking of how the poor should be or not be treated. From Genesis through Revelation there is mention of the poor in virtually every book of the Bible. It doesn’t take very long before one realizes that the LORD has a very special place in his heart for the poor. He wrote in his law that even the farmers were not to harvest all the crops to the very edge of the field just so the poor may be provided for. For a detailed study of the poor and widows read the book of Ruth. This book explains exactly what the “gleaning” of the fields is all about. There is even one place in the Bible which tells us that one who gives to the poor “lends to the LORD “. “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full.” (Proverbs 19:17 NRSV) By contrast those who abuse or oppress the poor will have much to answer for.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s