God Pause for Friday, 9/26/2014

Luther Seminary God Pause

Friday, 9/26/2014 Reading: Matthew 21:23-32

Is it better to say one thing, and then do another? Or is it better to promise one thing, and then do nothing? When it gets down to it, neither is preferred nor perfect. In Jesus' parable of the two sons (Matthew 21:28-32), there is no third son who promises to do one thing and then faithfully does that very thing. Indeed, there is no one who is perfect in promise or piety. Brokenness remains present in this story--and in our stories.

Obedience. This is perhaps not so common word in our thinking or conversations about Christianity. And when we do think about it, it probably does not have many positive connotations. Yet, Jesus' parable seems to imply some fundamental associations between faith and obedience. Does faith create obedience? Or can obedience create faith? Can I have one without the other?

Once again, Jesus leaves us with a lot of questions. But one thing is for sure in the parable, the man calls both of his sons. Child of God, do you hear God calling you?

God, open our eyes and ears to see and hear your calling. Holy Spirit, open our mouths and hands to respond in faith and obedience. Amen. >

Nate Bendorf Pastor of Youth and Family at Calvary Lutheran Church, Bemidji, Minn. Master of Divinity, 2013

Matthew 21:23-32 (NRSV)

23 When he 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?" 24 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. 25 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?' 26 But if we say, "Of human origin,' we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet." 27 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. 28 "What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, "Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' 29 He answered, "I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, "I go, sir'; but he did not go. 31 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. 32 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.

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