Browsing articles tagged with " Matthew"
Jan 11, 2011

Matthew 8:18-34

There will be two posts today, because I missed yesterday’s reading Matthew 8:18-34.
Matthew is still working on making sure his audience gets the message that with the coming of Jesus, the kingdom of God has come: “What kind of man is this?” they said. “Even the winds and the waves obey him!” It’s pretty much like in the beginning.
Matthew is also still working on making sure his audience gets the message that Jesus is faithful to the Jewish tradition: Gadara is in the Decapolis still – where the gentiles live. That’s why there is pigs in this story. Not only does Jesus cast out demons but he also disposes of a non-kosher herd of pigs, killing two birds with one stone.

Jan 10, 2011

Matthew 8:1-17

Today’s passage Matthew 8:1-17 has three healing stories:
1. The Leper
2. The Centurion
3. Peter’s mother-in-law

1. The Healing of the Leper is interesting because Jesus tells the man to get the healing on the record: Go to the religious authorities and have your life restored. Even this radical preacher-healer is highly interested in playing by the rules of the Jewish tradition. This way the former Leper can get his life back, not just get rid of his disease.

2. The Centurion is one of those instances where Jesus crosses a line that used to be unthinkable: extending God’s healing touch to an enemy of God’s people. Love your enemy is so much more radical than love your neighbor.

3. The third healing is a good insight for my Catholic friends: Peter is considered to be the first Bishop of Rome, or as you would say Pope. Now he had a mother-in-law. That means he was married. So the first Pope was married. Which is no surprise because clerical celibacy was not decided on until the 4th century. Nothing sacred about it.

Jan 9, 2011

Matthew 4:12-25

Today’s story is Matthew 4:12-25.

Jesus walks in the footsteps of John the Baptist. Interestingly enough we do not hear of Jesus ever baptizing anyone. Obviously Baptism is not all that important to Jesus. He does continue John’s preaching but he runs away from Nazareth to Capernaum. That is exactly what his disciples will be doing once he is arrested and killed.

At the lake running into his first two disciples strange things happen: Why would they without the sign of a doubt forfeit their livelihood and give up their families? Jesus asks them to give up their jobs and not provide for their families anymore. That is not a preacher encouraging decent behavior – he’s a radical. Family values – none. Work ethic – none. Kingdom of heaven – everything!

And then the story sounds pretty much like the story of a pop star with groupies and everything. So Jesus continues John’s ministry just a whole lot more successful. All of a sudden something amazing happens: “Large crowds followed him from Galilee and the Ten Towns, from Jerusalem, Judea, and the land on the other side of the Jordan.” Jesus’ ministry gains traction not only in northern Israel but also the Judean south. Jesus reuniting the kingdom of Israel and Judah for the first time since King David.

Even more amazing is the fact that people from the Decapolis join him. Jesus ministers to non-Jews, pagans, heathens, Romans. Unthinkable in his day and age. John would not have approved. That is a radical message of inclusion: Those strangers, foreigners, enemies, people that look and speak different from us, God’s chosen people, they should be included in the kingdom of heaven, even with their views of sexuality? – YES!

Jan 8, 2011

Matthew 3:1-17

Today’s Reading is Matthew 3:1-17
During Jesus’ time there were many many preachers calling for repentance like John. In every day and age you have people that are expecting the end of time to come soon so they need to join Isaiah in his call. Jesus comes to end that. He is the final revelation. (Barmen 1) With his appearance God has said everything and showed everything. Jesus tells John: “Let it be so for now. For in this way we shall do all that God requires.” Jesus sharing our common lot, repenting on our behalf, paying for our sins, that is all it requires. The baptism of John is one of repentance which is no longer necessary in Christ Jesus. A Christian baptism is there to “remind you and assure you that Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross is for you personally”. Then a voice said from heaven, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased.” in Christ that is true for all of us as well – no John necessary.

Jan 6, 2011

Matthew 2:1-15

Find today’s passage here. The Sunday after Christmas I preached about Matthew 2:13-23 asking: Now What? That reflection applies to today’s verses as well. I used PARDeS to dig even deeper into the different aspects of this piece. Interesting stuff.

Jan 5, 2011

Matthew 1:1-25

Find today’s passage here. Since I just preached about it a couple of weeks ago, may I refer you to the sermon titled “Love”.

Jan 4, 2011

Romans 10:5-17

Today’s Reading is Romans 10:5-17.

Verses 5-8 remind us to not focus on a distant future or fate or a place up in heaven or down in hell but to only look and live right here, right now. Jesus said the same thing in his sermon on the mount: “So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.” (Matthew 6:34)

Verse 12 makes clear that God’s salvation is for everyone, no exceptions. A modern-day version of “Jews and Gentiles” would include people of all races, gender identities and faith traditions. Radical inclusion is the only option for a faith community truely based in God’s extravagant love. Once you start to reject certain people, this is what you get:

Verse 17 has been the sad basis for one of the silliest exclusions churches have erected: It was held that the hearing-impaired could not be saved because they were not able to acoustically perceive the good news. Our little human minds cannot even begin to grasp the all-encompassing love of God: No exceptions!