Skip to main content

Matthew 11:25-12:29 #eebc2018

One of the challenges we have in reading the Bible comes from something added to the text as a helpful tool: the chapter and verse markings. Apart from the Psalms, there are no divisions like this within the original text. The Psalms are all individual, and the strange case of the titles is for a post on the Psalms.

The chapter divisions, if we are not careful, can lead us to make a separation that does not belong. For example, in this section of text, the well-known phrase "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30) is in a different chapter from the events of chapter 12 where Jesus both reasserts the importance of the Sabbath and clears out the additions that the Pharisees had added to it.

If we do not read carefully, we will make an artificial and unhelpful division between those two sections and miss an important point. Take a look at how these go together: Jesus promises a burden but one that is restful. The Sabbath, under the structures of the cultural situation, was anything but restful. There were many details to follow--but there was no way around it!

Jesus re-emphasizes the idea of mercy, rather than stringent legalities, as worship. Which, when the Gospel breaks out into the Gentile world, will also push against the Roman world. The Roman world ran constantly, with never a break or moment to pull back. A Sabbath of mercy would be a challenge to their system, and being people who participated and encouraged others to rest would have been a challenge to that world.

Then we see a natural break: Matthew 12:15 where it speaks of His withdrawal from the crowds. Here is a natural shift in the events, a place where one segment of the story fades into another. Matthew cites Isaiah 42 and applies it to Jesus. This passage speaks of the Servant of YHWH, and talks of His compassion.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…