Words of Death and the Word of Life

Steven Rodriguez

Read: Exodus 20:18-21 Do not let God speak to us, or we will die. (v. 19 NRSV) In our Scripture today, we come to the end of the story of the Ten Commandments. The Lord has just spoken ten “words” that sketch what life with God looks like, a life full of love, peace, and wholeness. Earlier, before the Israelites knew what they were getting into, they said rashly, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exod. 19:8). …

Returning the Gaze of God

Steven Rodriguez

Read: Mark 10:17-22 Jesus, looking at him, loved him. (v. 21) God looks at you with love. Are you willing to seek his face, to return his gaze? In today’s passage, Jesus walks through the Ten Commandments by rote, listing them off like an imaginary checklist. You can almost see the rich man nodding his head with each commandment, his self-assurance growing with each mental check mark. But then Jesus asks the rich man to do the opposite of coveting. …

Free to Be Truthful

Steven Rodriguez

Read: Exodus 23:1-9 Do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd. (v. 2 NIV) In the movie Twelve Angry Men, a jury stands ready to condemn a boy to death. He has been accused of killing his father. Of the twelve men on the jury, eleven are convinced he is guilty, and only one man stands in their way. This twelfth man isn’t convinced that the boy is blameless; he just isn’t sure he’s guilty, and he doesn’t want …

The True Prophet in a World of False Witnesses

Steven Rodriguez

Read: Mark 14:55-72 And Jesus said, “I am.” (v. 62) Jesus Christ is the true witness who exposes the lies of the world. During his trial, Jesus fulfilled the ninth commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exod. 20:16). He witnessed to the truth of his self-revelation with just two simple words: “I am.” He told one of the biggest truths of all, that in Jesus Christ, God was with us in the flesh. He bore witness …

The Opposite of Adultery

Steven Rodriguez

Read: Ruth 1:1-18 Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. (v. 16 NIV) If the opposite of murder is laying down our lives for others, and the opposite of stealing is generosity, what’s the opposite of adultery? The most obvious opposite of “You shall not commit adultery” (Exod. 20:13) is covenant faithfulness in marriage. But perhaps we can extend this even further. If adultery is un-faith-fulness, then any move toward building trust, accountability, and …

The Opposite of Murder

Steven Rodriguez

Read: John 10:7-18 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (v. 10) Church reformer John Calvin said that every negative commandment has a positive opposite for us to do. If God says, “You shall not,” there’s probably a “You shall” for us to find and do. Most of us have no trouble following the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exod. 20:13), at least in its …