Browsing articles tagged with " Matthew"
Jan 20, 2011

Matthew 17:24-18:5

Today’s Reading is Matthew 17:24-18:5.
Since Matthew mainly draws from three sources: Mark, Q and special material, I want to focus on the latter today. The author of the Gospel has cameo appearances in his own works. We know he is totally familiar with the fishermen community of Galilee. Today “Matthew” introduces us to the pride of an industry he loves. The story of the coin in the fish’s mouth is a myth of origin advertising the Sea of Galilee’s signature “St. Peter’s fish”:

Jan 19, 2011

Matthew 17:1-23

Today’s Reading is Matthew 17:1-23 – the Transfiguration of Jesus.

That is a rather strange scene that obviously has something to do with Jesus’ identity and authority. The oldest account is to be found in Mark 9. The Gospel of Mark is known for being the origin of the Messianic Secret.

Now here is why the Transfiguration is important and what it does:
Mark allows the Messiah to go public from here on out. The scene is followed by Exorcising a boy with many witnesses to Jesus’ power. Now the world can see Jesus as Lord.

Jan 19, 2011

Matthew 16:1-28

Yesterday’s Reading was Matthew 16:1-28.
To me it raises two interesting issues:

First, who is Peter?
Jesus calling Simon the rock still leaves him an unlikely symbol of stability. While he was one of the first disciples called and served as the spokesman for the group, Peter is also the exemplar of “little faith” in Matthew 14, will soon have Jesus say to him, “Get behind me, Satan,” and will eventually deny Jesus three times. In light of the Easter event, then, Peter became an exemplar of the forgiven sinner.

Second, how about binding and loosing?
The saying is not a new one, but a paraphrase of Matthew 18:18 where it is applied to all of Jesus’ disciples. Basically he gives them the same authority that rabbis have, in virtue of their ordination, the power of deciding disputes relating to the Law.

Jan 17, 2011

Matthew 11:20-30

Today’s Reading Matthew 11:20-30 is all about the towns where Jesus had performed most of his miracles. There is two pairs that stand out:

Chorazin and Bethsaida are part of the Holy Land. Jesus would have reason to expect more acceptance there than anywhere else. Not so! His ministry is mostly rejected among his own.

Tyre and Sidon are Lebanese towns. Back then and still nowadays that has meant: enemy’s country! But Jesus seems to be content with the people’s attitude there. Very interesting how Jesus’ expectations are not met.

His message is one that is supposed to take away the burden of religious duty:
“For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.” One should think the message of unconditional love could easily be accepted. Well, what do you know.

Jan 16, 2011

Sermon Podcast: Possibilities Unfolding

Listen to a sermon by the Rev. Daniel Haas titled “Possibilities Unfolding” based on Matthew 3:13-17. It was delivered at Provo Community United Church of Christ on January 16th 2011.

Jan 16, 2011

Matthew 11:1-19

In today’s reading Matthew 11:1-19 Jesus gives a sobering overview of how people react to God’s word: You won’t listen anyway!

LOOK: There have been all these prophets of old from Isaiah to John and you wouldn’t listen. Whether they preach joy or doom. It doesn’t matter you. God has tried it all and nothing makes sense: “We played wedding music for you, but you wouldn’t dance! We sang funeral songs, but you wouldn’t cry!” That’s what church work feels like at times. People rejected John, eventually decapitated him. People rejected Jesus, eventually crucified him. That’s how messengers of the good news are received.

BUT: All that does not matter, because “God’s wisdom (…) is shown to be true by its results.” Good is gonna prevail in the end, whether we like it or not.

Jan 15, 2011

Matthew 10:26-42

Today’s passage Matthew 10:26-42 starts: “So do not be afraid of people. Whatever is now covered up will be uncovered, and every secret will be made known.”
Information about the upcoming birth of the Messiah have leaked. Commenter Kim quotes Karl Barth’s stance against all secret policies and secret diplomacy. Jesus is God’s own WikiLeaks and the one truth that leaks over and over again is: There is no reason to be afraid!

Back in June 2008 I preached about the evangelical aspect of this passage under the title “Spread the Love”.

Jan 14, 2011

Matthew 10:1-25

Today’s passage is Matthew 10:1-25.
Verses 16-20 are Matthew’s pep-talk for the members of his congregation. They are not Jesus’ words and not directed at the people around him. It’s a leader encouraging his group to hang in there. Discipleship is one of the main issues in the Gospel according to Matthew. That is what makes it applicable to any time and situation. A strong witness is required. Imagine Luther standing before the Diet of Worms:

Jan 13, 2011

Matthew 9:18-38

Today’s reading is Matthew 9:18-38.
Three things I found noteworthy:
1. There is so much need for healing in the world.
2. Jesus can’t do it all by himself, but needs us to help him.
3. It makes sense to scrutinize miracles. The Pharisees were critical for good reason with so many nut-jobs all over the place claiming to heal in the name of Jesus. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Jan 12, 2011

Matthew 9:1-17

Today’s passage Matthew 9:1-17 is a perfect makeover of Mark 2:1-22. That is not surprising since Matthew draws a good deal of his material from Mark:

One major difference is striking though: Mark calls the tax-collector “Levi” whereas Matthew inserts himself into the story. Alfred Hitchcock famously followed this example.

At this point in Jesus’ ministry, disputes commence:
Verse 3: Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, “This man is speaking blasphemy!” These scribes judge Jesus without even talking to him.
Verse 11: Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?” These Pharisees engage in a real conversation with Jesus and his disciples, because he was certainly close if not even part of their tradition.