Thursday, January 26, 2017

Parashah Messiah: Stop Trusting in Egypt

Haftarah Reading: Va’era (Ezekiel 28:25-29:21)
Gospel Reading: John 6:22-40
Commentary by: David Wilber

The Haftarah reading this week consists of several prophecies against Egypt. The Lord declared through the prophet Ezekiel that He would bring the land to desolation and scatter the Egyptians among the nations. Then, after forty years, He would regather them and establish them as a lowly kingdom.

Why does God punish Egypt in this passage? There are two reasons given: First, Egypt’s arrogance. The Pharaoh king of Egypt, who is called the great crocodile (29:3), said, “The Nile is mine, and I made it” (29:3, 9). The Nile is a symbol of the riches and prosperity of Egypt. Thus, God punished them for boasting in their own strength. Second, Egypt’s unreliability. Israel had an alliance with Egypt, yet Egypt was “a staff of reed” to Israel, which broke when Israel tried to lean upon it (29:6-7). God punished Egypt for being a fickle friend to Israel.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Parashah Messiah: Fruitful Seeds

Haftarah Portion: Shemot (Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:3-30, 36-43
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

The flying seeds land in the soft soil. With sunlight and rain, the seeds send out spidery roots that push their way through the yielding yet anchoring earth. Green heads spring up, gaining strength as the roots dig deeper and deeper. After a long season of growth, the thick, healthy stalks of wheat hang their heavy heads. Their task is over; their fruit is ready; all that remains is for the farmer to come and reap . . .
In the days to come Jacob will take root,
Israel will blossom and sprout,
And they will fill the whole world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6, NASB)
In that day the Lord will start His threshing from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt, and you will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. (Isaiah 27:12)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Parashah Messiah: Death Defeated

Haftarah Portion: Vayechi (1 Kings 2:1-12)
Gospel Reading: Acts 2
Commentary by: Matthew Day

If there was anytime in which we were close to the Messianic age, it was during the reigns of David and Solomon. The Scriptures describe this as a time when the sons of Israel had multiplied like stars and like the sands of the sea (1 Kings 4:20). They lived in peace and security, "every man under his vine and under his fig tree" (1 Kings 4:25 ESV). This was the height of Israel's reign, the fulfillment of all the promises contained in the Torah. From here, the Torah should have gone forth from Zion, the nations should have come up to Jerusalem, and the world should have entered an unending golden age of peace. The Messianic era should have descended upon man. God should have looked down upon our faithfulness and swept away sorrow and death forever. What happened?

David died.