Tagged: image of god

Matthew 22: 15-22 

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on October 22, 2017.

This passage marks the beginning of a series of litmus tests meant not to test Jesus’ alkalinity or acidity but his legitimacy as a leader, or lack thereof. The question about paying taxes to Rome is the first of three such litmus testing questions. The second is the Sadducees’ question about the resurrection (they didn’t even believe in the resurrection), and the third is the Pharisees question about the greatest commandment, which he answers masterfully and then follows with a fourth question of his own. We’ll get to that next week. For now, it’s important to read this as the beginning of a series of Matthean moments where we’re meant to see what Jesus is made of when confronted by and compared to the respected Jewish authorities who would later be responsible for his arrest and trial.

Jesus’ inquisitors indicate Jesus’ essence before even giving him a chance to answer the first question.  “Teacher,” they said. “We know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others because you pay no attention to who they are. (vs. 16) The disciples of the Pharisees (not the Pharisees – they first sent students to do their dirty work) do not believe Jesus is actually a person of integrity. This questioning is actually meant to reveal that and discredit him. Ironically, however, these inquisitors have both revealed their intent and set us up to observe the true integrity on display. What happens when someone confronts a person of the highest integrity with malicious intent? In this case, the person of integrity confronts them right back.
Continue reading

Genesis 1:1-2:4a

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on June 11, 2017.

The Goodness of God’s Creation
Every good story begins somewhere, goes somewhere, and ends somewhere. Genesis is the story of stories. Not only is Genesis the first book of the Bible but in Genesis we see the beginnings of our lives, and our universe. And in Genesis 1 we see God’s intended trajectory, where He wants this story to go.  To understand who we are and where we are headed, we need to understand Genesis.

So let’s get started by stepping into the story’s opening verse.  “In the beginning God created…”.  is among the most quoted literary lines in all the world. God is our Creator. From Genesis 1:2:4a we read the written revelation of God revealing Himself through creation. By paying attention to keywords and phrases in these 35 verses we: 1) can learn essential information, 2) be inspired to live at our best, 3) recognize the divine imperative.

A Divine Trail of Words and Praises
1) “God created… God said… God saw… God called… God made… God blessed… God rested.” These seven action verbs highlight that God acted intentionally to bring creation into being. (They are found in Genesis 1:1,3-12, 14, 16, 18, 20-22, 24-29, 31; 2.:2-3).

2) These active verbs are parallel to the use of “let” which indicates God’s permissive will to bring creation into being. Nine times “let” is used in telling about the initial six “days” of Creation. The word “let” has the sense of God’s graciousness. Creation came as an extension of His generosity.

Continue reading