Thursday, March 27, 2014

#40daybible Day 24 (Matthew 19-25)

Day 24 covers Matthew 19-25.
  • This takes us all the way through the final End Times Sermon of Matthew.
  • Matthew 19 has Matthew's version of Jesus' teaching on divorce, with the Matthean exception of sexual immorality and Matthew's unique teaching on being "eunuchs" for the kingdom.
  • Matthew 19 also has Jesus teaching on how hard it is for a wealthy person to enter the kingdom of God. 
  • Matthew 20 has the Parable of the Day Laborers, where they all get paid the same no matter how much they have worked that day.
  • Matthew 21 has the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple, the Parable of the Tenants.
  • Matthew 21 also has the Parable of the Two Sons, which is a shorter version of the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke.
  • Matthew 22 has the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, which gives us a strong hint that the Gospel of Matthew was written after the destruction of Jerusalem. We would already have suspected such a date from the fact that Matthew used Mark, which is probably late 60s or even early 70s itself. But the way Matthew has edited the story to mention the king sending his army to burn the city of those first invited to the banquet seems a direct allusion to Jerusalem's destruction at the hands of the Romans in AD70.
  • Matthew 22 gives us the whole of Christian ethics: love God and love neighbor.
  • Matthew 23 gives us the harshest critique of the Pharisees. It is sometimes suggested that Matthew was written when the Pharisees were in the ascendancy of power after Jerusalem's destruction, giving Matthew reason to put them in their place.
  • We also find in Matthew 23 the main New Testament text from which you might teach tithing in the New Testament. It's not exactly a strong text.
  • Matthew has some unique material added on to Mark's end times sermon. The Parable of the Ten Virgins urges readiness for Christ's return. 
  • The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats suggests that our faith better lead to concrete action in helping others or we may not find ourselves justified before God in the Final Judgment. By the way, there is some similarity here to the judgment of the Son of Man in the Parables of 1 Enoch (the chapter after calls this elect one the Son of Man).
My passage for the day:
  • Matthew 23:24 has always stood out to me, "To strain out a gnat and swallow a camel." Too many people major on the minor. Jesus was about the important matters of the Law--"justice, mercy, and faithfulness." Any approach to the Bible that cannot distinguish the central matters of Scripture from the less central ones doesn't get Jesus and thus doesn't get the Bible.

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