Living in the good of grace – Feb 9th
Joseph is in charge of Egypt and the famine comes. His brothers are sent by Jacob to buy food. Joseph recognises them, immediately, though they don’t recognise him, because he walks like an Egyptian! He treats them harshly to test whether they have changed, rather than malice and lingering anger at how they treated him. He tests them further by returning their silver and insisting they bring Benjamin next time, to check they have treated him well too.
Bildad the Shuhite is also stuck in the mode that bad things happen to people who have done bad things.
But he does also say “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy”
The parable of the vineyard is having a go at the Jewish leaders who are opposing him. They understand and want to arrest him all the more, but are scared of the crowd.
Later they try to trap into announcing his political Messiahship by asking a question about paying taxes to Caesar – Jesus answers brilliantly – pay to Caesar’s what is Caesar’s and doesn’t take the bait!
Next he is asked which is the most important commandment. It’s a loaded question because the teachers of the law had done a lot of work and debate codifying the laws in the Pentateuch, never agreeing on which were most important. Of course Jesus answer is genius and ends the debate!
The story of the widows offering is a powerful challenge to be generous with what you have.
Paul has finished introducing his message – teaching that we are in need of grace, both JEw and Gentile – all alike are sinners in need of a saviour. Putting our trust in Christ, means we have died with him and are enjoying the benefits of being born again – under grace not law! under the law of the Spirit as sons, rather than slaves to sin under the law.
At the end of ch11 he broke into praise – a doxology. The message of grace is so amazing.
Having laid the foundation of who we are in Christ, he builds the walls of how that is worked out in practice!
Live in the good of grace – don’t conform to the world. Renew your minds. Be humble, serve with your gift, be loving, never lack zeal, be joyful, bless others. Overcome evil with good – all stuff we can do living by the Spirit under grace! Hallelujah.