The scriptures are full of instances where Jesus clashed publicly with the Pharisees. The Pharisees were an important cohort of the Jewish religio-legal system who emphasized the importance of rules and rituals concerning purification and defilement for all Jews, not just the priests.
As important as the law was in...
Lord Jesus, fill our hearts and mouths with life-giving words. Amen.
Joseph has risen to a high position in Egypt, and now his brothers come searching for food in a time of famine. He reveals his true identity and reinterprets their evil intentions as being part of God’s plan. Sometimes we too are granted perspective to see God’s working in difficult times. The psalmist rejoices when God’s people are living in unity, as Joseph and his brothers were after their reunion. In Romans, Paul declares that his people are not rejected by the merciful God, for God’s promises are unchanging. In Matthew, Jesus teaches that God looks on the inside, not the outside. Thus, what you take into your body is less important than what comes from your heart, and God does not favor one ethnic group over another.
Read Genesis 45:1-15. When have you experienced God’s grace in forgiving or being forgiven? How were those needing forgiveness still held responsible for their actions?Read Psalm 133. How has God called you to live in unity with those different from you? How do you receive God’s abundant blessing through such unity?Read Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32. How does the eternal mercy of God’s gifts and callings sustain you when it seems like God has rejected God’s people?Read Matthew 15:10-28. When have you, like the Canaanite woman, felt like you had to insist that Jesus come closer? How did your faith change or grow from this experience?
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