Thursday, May 6, 2010


Matthew 5-7

In chapter eleven, "after Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples," he went to preach and teach in the towns of Galilee and John sent his disciples to ask whether he was "the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" He told them to report to John what they "hear and see: he blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor." Later, he "began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent," telling that that "it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you." And he told all that "are weary and burdened" to come to him and "find rest for your souls."

In chapter twelve, when they saw him and his disciples picking grain on the Sabbath, the Pharisees challenged them with violating the law. Jesus compared it to what David had done "when he and his companions were hungry" and told them that "the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" and continued to confound them by healing a man with a shriveled hand. He drove a demon out of a man, and when people said that he drove out demons through the power of the devil, he proclaimed that "every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined...If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself." And he told them that good fruit came from good trees and bad fruit from bad trees. When asked for a miraculous sign by some of the teachers of the law and Pharisees, he told them that "none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." And he told his followers that "whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

Chapter thirteen begins with the parable of the sower, after which the disciples asked him why he spoke in parables. He quoted Isaiah, telling them that "this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them." He then explained the parable of the sower, then told them another parable, the parable of the weeds, then the parables of the mustard seed and of the yeast. He came to his hometown and taught in the synagogue and "they were amazed," asking, "isn't this the carpenter's son?" But he did not do many miracles there "because of their lack of faith."

Thoughts, questions, issues

  • As many times as I've read this, I don't remember as many healings as I notice this time. I don't know whether they've all kind of "run together" in the past or what.
  • One of the very explicit acknowledgements in the Gospels of Jesus' true identity and mission is here in this passage, when he talks about the "sign of the prophet Jonah - the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
  • One of the intellectually dishonest aspects of the Jesus Seminar people, and any of the "quests for the historical Jesus" is when they throw out statements like this as late additions. They do so on the grounds that it was added by believers to strengthen the case, but once they throw it out, they use it's absence to argue that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God. That is, they don't believe that Jesus was the Son of God, they claim that every statement he made which makes the claim is spurious, and then they turn around and use the "fact" that the statements are spurious to argue for their original position.

Psalms 50

I've read this before, but didn't remember it. I don't remember any of the psalms being like this, which is essentially a curse, a condemnation - "Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor, you who practice deceit. You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth." The note says "for the director of music," but it would seem to me that that has to mean something other than the obvious. I can believe this aimed at Saul or David, but it seems a lot of vitriol to be aimed at a (presumably essentially powerless) functionary. The target is called "you mighty man" and is said to "boast of evil...boast all day long." No, that's got to be David or Saul.

Psalm 52
For the director of music. A maskil of David. When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him: "David has gone to the house of Ahimelech."
1 Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man?
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?

2 Your tongue plots destruction;
it is like a sharpened razor,
you who practice deceit.

3 You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth.

4 You love every harmful word,
O you deceitful tongue!

5 Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living.

6 The righteous will see and fear;
they will laugh at him, saying,

7 "Here now is the man
who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
and grew strong by destroying others!"

8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God's unfailing love
for ever and ever.

9 I will praise you forever for what you have done;
in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

1 comment:

  1. You should equate the historical Ribi Yehoshua, who is mistakenly called Jzeus, with a Pharisee himself. The real man was Jew observing the Torah and teaching his students to do the same. The history is becoming revealed after 1700 some odd years of manipulation. You seem like you might be interested.