Sunday, August 17, 2014: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of Genesis (45:1-15)


Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.  And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer.  He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.


> Joseph was the youngest of eleven at that time.

> Background story:  Joseph — slave in Egypt — dream interpreter — jailed — captures Pharaoh’s attention — rises to power

> Crop failures in Canaan so brothers come to Egypt for food.

> Here God is working behind the scenes to send Joseph to Egypt.

> This is how the family would be saved.

> Joseph invites his family to join him in Goshen and avoid famine.



Psalm 133


1  Oh, how good and pleasant it is, *

    when brethren live together in unity!

2  It is like fine oil upon the head *

    that runs down upon the beard,

3  Upon the beard of Aaron, *

    and runs down upon the collar of his robe.

4  It is like the dew of Hermon *

    that falls upon the hills of Zion.

5 For there the Lord has ordained the blessing: *

    life for evermore.


> The brothers are living together.

> This is a Psalm of the ascent to Jerusalem — always went “up” to Jerusalem.

> Mount Hermon was the source of the Jordan River.

> This Psalm may have inspired early Christian monasteries.



 A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (11:1-2a, 29-32)


 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.


>  Discussion of the fate of the Jewish people.

> Early Jewish Christians wanted the Gentiles to become Jews.

> In year 54 the Jews were expelled from Rome.

> Only the Gentile Christians were left.

> Thus, the Jewish Christians were now the ones being rejected.

> God wants all people to be in his kingdom.



The Holy Gospel of Our  Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (15:21-28)


Jesus went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly. 


> Jesus is originally preaching just among the Jews.

> A Canaanite woman calls out to him respectfully.

> Jesus ignored her at first as he believed his ministry was only to preach to the Jews.

> Jesus tries to reject her, but he has met his match with her persistence.

> Jesus then heals her daughter.

> This a troubling story, but is demonstrates that both Jews and Gentiles are cared from by Jesus.