12 January 2011

Matthew 24-25

Jesus continues with the rest of the Matthean Apocalypse (chs 23-25) in today's readings. Even as Jesus' life is drawing to a close, he is still taking the time to teach his disciples and all who will come and listen about the end times.

Listen to what Jesus says in 24.12-13, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved." Jesus tells his disciples that as the end times draw nearer and nearer, love will begin to shrivel up and grow cold. Does it sometimes feel like there is less love in the world now than say 10, 20, or 50 years ago?

In 24.36 Jesus says, "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." The day that the world will come to an end is not known to anyone - so stop worrying about December 2012 or any other day some human is telling you that the world will end - they don't really know - only God does!

The "Parable of the Ten Virgins" is steeped in Jewish wedding tradition that gets lost on many modern Christian audiences, but would have made perfect sense to Matthew's Jewish audience when first read. I would encourage you to do some research on Jewish wedding traditions to see how this parable is teaching preparation for the coming of Christ.

The "Parable of the Talents" is another fun parable when it comes to understanding how different people are gifted with different abilities, but we are all held accountable for what we did with what we were given, not necessarily the results of our actions.

The "Sheep and the Goats" closes out the readings for today and this is one of those passages that hits at the heart of Jesus' gospel message - acting on our convictions means acting for the "least of these".

What verse(s) stuck out the most to you in Matthew 24-25?

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