Sunday, Sep 25, 2011: “Today’s Scripture Readings”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
Today’s Scripture Lessons 
An In-Depth Discussion Led by the Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, September 25, 2011



FIRST READING: Exodus (17:1-7)
From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”


> Now the Israelites were complaining about lack of water.

> The people are ready to revolt against Moses.

> Not enough water to drink

> Moses’ staff is the same one that struck the Nile and turned the water to blood.

> This time he strikes a rock and brings out water.

> They are located at the foot of Mount Sinai (Mt. Horab).

> There may have been some incident here between Moses and God, which is why Moses could not enter the Promised Land.

> Massah = quarrel; and Meribah = testing



Psalm 78:1-1, 12-16
1 Hear my teaching, O my people; *

   incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

2 I will open my mouth in a parable; *

   I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.

3 That which we have heard and known,

            and what our forefathers have told us, *

    we will not hide from their children.

4  We will recount to generations to come

            the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord, *

    and the wonderful works he has done.

12 He worked marvels in the sight of their forefathers, *

     in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.

13 He split open the sea and let them pass through; *

     he made the waters stand up like walls.

14 He led them with a cloud by day, *

     and all the night through with a glow of fire.

15 He split the hard rocks in the wilderness *

     and gave them drink as from the great deep.

16 He brought streams out of the cliff, *

     and the waters gushed out like rivers.


> Encouragement for people to tell God’s story from generation to generation.

> The story keep growing as the water “gushed out like a river!”


SECOND READING: Romans (2:1-13)

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.  Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.


> This is one of Paul’s most uplifting letters.

> Paul had a great affection for these people.

> Philippi was a European royal city where he had established a church there on his first visit.

> He told the people to build on what you are already doing.

> There is an ancient early Christian hymn and poetry buried in the text.

> Jesus “empties himself” and becomes a servant, even to the extent of death on a cross.

> The term “Lord” associates Jesus with God (Yaweh).



The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (21:23-32)
When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went.  The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”


> Jesus is entering the temple (after cleansing it).

> Jesus turns the table on them and asks a question they can’t answer about John the Baptist.

> Jesus counterattacks the prophets and chief priest for their hypocracy and lack of faith.