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Bible Study Guide for Sunday August 23, 2020

August 23, 2020

● Exodus 1:8-2:10

● Psalm 124

● Romans 12:1-8

● Matthew 16:13-20

It went by so fast, I missed it at first! Diving into Exodus after our long trek through Jacob's saga, eager to hear about Moses and an event at the root of Jewish tradition and thought, I leapt over that first line: "Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph." What we're talking about here is The Other! This king, and all of Egypt, has forgotten about the survival miracle provided by Joseph. So now these people are a problem. Sound familiar? Listened to any cable news recently? We can be as susceptible to fearing The Other as that ancient king. (And we know what happened to him!)

So, we need to listen to Paul as he writes to the Romans. In our excerpt for this week, he first pleads with us to present ourselves to God through spiritual worship, thereby renewing our minds to know God's will. Then, most relevant to the above issue, Paul reminds us that we must be humble with respect to all of our human brothers and sisters, understanding the gifts each offers, and viewing everyone as part of Christ's body. I don't know how the Pharaoh of Exodus might have interpreted Paul's message, but it certainly seems clear to me today. Any time we find ourselves fearing, avoiding or disparaging The Other or any time we hear a politician going down that road, we must take notice and remind ourselves and the politician of Paul's call for humility. And Paul's message is entirely consistent with Jesus' call to love, to welcome The Other and to serve the poor and the oppressed.

In today's reading from Matthew, we have one of the Gospel mysteries, the Messianic secret. Jesus proclaims Peter as the rock upon which He will build his church. (One of only two mentions of "church" in the Gospels.) Yet the disciples are to tell no one that Jesus is the Messiah! Doesn't that seem strange? But as we read farther into Matthew, we hear Jesus foretelling of his own suffering and death. Jesus knows where he is headed and he knows it will be a far different path than the one his Jewish people expect for the Messiah. But Jesus desperately wants to be listened to and followed. So He commands his disciples to respect that more humble posture and build their community through humility and service.

● Who are the others in your life? Who do you have to work harder to love?

● Humility can easily be misunderstood. How to you understand what Paul is asking of us?

Author: Chuck Medler


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