Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Week 16 Tuesday (Year 1) - 21 July 2015

Readings: Exodus 14:21-15:1; Exodus 15; Matthew 12:46-50

Once again we must feel sorry for the Egyptians. What has this tribal God of the children of Israel got to do with them? Nothing, it seems. He is their enemy. He fights against them to save the Hebrews and to manifest his power and glory to them. There is a triumph, but at their expense.

For Jesus, by contrast, anyone who does the will of his Father is his 'brother and sister and mother'. He offers a new basis for relationships, a new kind of family, a new kind of society. It is no longer racial or national or ethnic differences and interests that set criteria for belonging. As Paul says later, there is no longer Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free. Our citizenship is now elsewhere, the equality we share established on a completely new foundation. The Father of Jesus, seen in the fuller light of the revelation brought by the Son, is the God of all people.

There is a second link between the two readings today: 'Moses stretched out his hand and said ...'; 'Jesus stretched out his hand and said ...'. Moses is the messiah (to use a later term), the saviour of the people, leading them out of slavery and on towards the promised land. Jesus is the new Moses come to lead all people, through the passing over that is his death and resurrection, on towards the promised kingdom.

Stretching out his hands in a sign of power and authority, Moses divides the waters of the Red Sea so that the people can cross over in safety. Stretching out his hands in a sign of power and authority, Jesus includes in his embrace all those who do the will of his Father. Later, stretching out his hands in a sign of obedience and submission to the Father's will, he embraces the cross, the means by which he gathers to himself a people from east and west, north and south. Lifted up from the earth, he draws all people to himself, and to the Father.

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