11 January 2011

Matthew 21-23

These three chapters begin our journey through the last week of Jesus' life in the Gospel of Matthew, beginning with what we now call "Palm Sunday" or Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (21.1-11).

OK, this is one of those "Bible-nerd things," but take a close look at 21.5 (a quote from Zechariah 9.9) and tell me how many animal(s) the king is supposed to ride upon.

Notice the language that is used to describe Jesus as he is entering Jerusalem: "king," "Son of David," "he who comes in the name of the Lord," and "the prophet from Nazareth." What images come to mind when reading these descriptors? What do you think the people are expecting from Jesus when they use terms like these? Do you think Jesus actually fulfills the roles these names put him in?

In the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) Jesus turns over the tables in the Temple as he is living his last week on earth. When does John's Gospel place this event? It is one of the events that each Gospel writer includes, but context and timing are everything with this one.

Chapter 22 includes a passage I refer to often in leading the church (and indeed preached a whole series on back in September): the Great Commandment. I am such a fan of these verses that I had them inscribed on the back of my first iPod. I truly believe that if we loved God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength it would be virtually impossible not to love others as ourselves.

Today's third chapter begins what is known in academic circles as the Matthean Apocalypse - Matthew 23-25. The Seven Woes (23.13-39) are quite descriptive in their view of those who would stand in the way of God's justice reigning on the earth. Jesus' words for false teachers, hypocrites, the Pharisees, the scribes, and many others cut to the bone and sear with anger. Read at your own risk!

What verse(s) stuck out most to you in Matthew 21-23?

1 comment:

Jackie said...

Great, now I have an account, this should be fun. Thanks