A147 – Pentecost 17 (Exodus 17:1-7; Matthew 21:23-32)

 
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Questions of Jesus’ authority – an ongoing focus in Matthew –  now come to the fore in the parable from chapter 21, as Jesus’ challenge to the temple authorities escalates. The theme of consistency, being publicly honest about what one believes, emerges. The gospel is real about our ongoing failure to be consistent. We point to the grace in Christ, the faithful consistent one, and in God who is with us as he is in Godself. We warn against simplistic supersessionist readings of this parable of the two sons.

Themes of God’s faithfulness & provision continue in the Exodus passage, as the Israelites’ fear, anxiety and grumbling continue. We speak of leadership in trying times – Moses’ and God’s and how they relate. We refer to an interesting New Testament link to the water in the rock. We suggest the Exodus passage contains an excellent title for a sermon, especially in covid times (when our gathering is so compromised): “Is the Lord among us or not?”.