Paul Warns Against Sexual Immorality – 1 Cor 5-6

In chapter 5, Paul addresses reports of sexual immorality among the church members at Corinth. Paul tells them in verse 1 that word has reached him of one among them who is engaged in incest with what is presumably his step-mother (Paul would simply have said “his mother” if that were the case). They were in the midst of, and converted to Christianity from, a pagan society that tolerated – even celebrated sexual immorality and idolatry. Yet Paul states that immorality of this nature is “not tolerated even among pagans” (both Greek and Roman cultures condemned incest).

Corinth-Paul finds it amazing that the church there has problems with people full of pride (verse 2), and that many are boasting (verse 6) about their gifts and their capable teachers, while they tolerate and say nothing about one of their own being involved in such scandalous immorality! Verse 5 simply means that instead of acting as if everything is normal with such a man in their midst, they must distance themselves from him in the proper manner. The key phrase is “so that his spirit may be saved.” By not correcting him and behaving as if he is doing no wrong, the church there is neglecting his very soul (not to mention the fact that the public nature of his sin is known to others outside the congregation, thus harming the church).

He continues emphasis on sexual immorality in chapter six, reminding them that they were different from the worldly people they once were, saying:

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person osins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

1 Cor 3, 1 Cor 4, 1 Cor 5, 1 Cor 6, 1 Cor 7

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Divisions At Corinth – 1 Cor 3-4

In chapters three and four, Paul speaks to the division that has occurred with the Christians at Corinth. On the one hand, some were apparently claiming to be “followers” of Paul, and others of Apollos. It seems that some were still questioning Paul’s apostleship. In chapter three, he tells them that he had “fed” them with milk rather than solid food because they were not ready for it. Their bickering made it apparent that they were still not ready for “solid food” because they evidently were still having trouble with the basics of Christianity. Christ, he tells them is the foundation, and he, Apollos, and anyone else who teaches them only builds on that foundation.

English: the beginning of the 1. Epistle to th...

English: the beginning of the 1. Epistle to the Corinthians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verse 17 of chapter four, he reminds them that he had sent Timothy to reinforce the teaching that he had begun with them. he urges them to listen to him; and he assures them that he will be returning. He wants them to work out these problems before he returns, and not allow those who are teaching error to overcome them in the mean time.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

1 Cor 3, 1 Cor 4, 1 Cor 5, 1 Cor 6, 1 Cor 7

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Spirit From God – 1 Cor 1-2

As he did in his letters to the Romans, Colossians, Galatians and Ephesians, Paul opens the first letter to the Corinthians in his greeting with the declaration of his apostleship being given by the will of God – not by his own assertion.  As with the Galatians, it appears that some false teachers had called his apostleship into question at Corinth (1 Corinthians 9:1, 2 Cor 11:4-5, 2 Cor 12:11-13).  he reminds them that they are sanctified (set apart) from the world in Christ Jesus, as are all Christians.  He recognizes their God-given talents, and emphasizes the spiritual gifts that they had been blessed with by God by being “called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (verses 4-9).

English: the beginning of the 1. Epistle to th...

English: the beginning of the 1. Epistle to the Corinthians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So the problems at Corinth were not caused by ignorance of the word of God, or by a lack of intelligence.  We will see that their problems, as is often the case today, stem from such age-old problems as envy, pride, jealousy, and lust.  Some people have taken verse 17 to be stating that baptism is not necessary.  But if that were the case, why would he have baptized anyone (as he gives some of the many examples of doing so in the preceding verses)!  Paul himself makes clear the importance of baptism in other scripture, such as Romans 6:3-5, Ephesians 2:5-6, and Ephesians 4:4-6, as did Jesus in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). Verses 10-17 is addressing the divisions that had been reported to Paul (we do not know who Chloe was, but probably was one of their members).  Barclay said in his commentary that the word he uses to describe them “…is the word for rents in a garment.  The Corinthian Church is in danger of becoming as unsightly as a torn garment.”

In verses 18-31, Paul ironically speaks quite eloquently, as he decries the foolishness of pride.  He declares the folly of men who think themselves wise, and speech that is eloquent but empty.  There was no shortage of philosophers in their Greco-Roman society nor, therefore, those who were “wise in their own eyes.”  He points out that not many of the saints at Corinth had been powerful, or of noble birth, or wise by worldly standards.  But God, through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, had given even those who were considered foolish, weak, lowly or despised the blessing over the “wise” or “strong” or “powerful,” who choose not to believe – so that no human being has the right to boast about anything other than Christ Jesus.  Verse 19 is quoted from Isaiah 29:14.  Verse 20’s rhetorical question is a timeless illustration of the impudence of human confidence in their superior intelligence – “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

In chapter two, Paul spends some time renouncing the tendency to preach the gospel with lofty or pretentious speech, conforming to the ways of the ways of  pretentious Greek philosophers. It was the Spirit from God that they had received, he told them — not the spirit of the world.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 26, Matt 27, Matt 28, 1 Cor 1, 1 Cor 2

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection – Matt 27-28

When morning came, the Sanhedrin had Jesus taken to Pilate.  When Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he had a change of heart, and took the thirty pieces of silver back to them, saying that he had betrayed innocent blood.  But they are unimpressed.  So he threw it down in the temple and went and hanged himself.  Remorse, as we see, does not always include repentance.  The Sanhedrin has no problem with lies and the murder of an innocent man, but they want no part of this blood money, so they use it to buy a potter’s field.  The scripture that this fulfilled, referred to in verses 9-10, is from both Jeremiah 19:1-13 and Zechariah 11:11-13.

Munkácsy Mihály: Krisztus Pilátus előtt

Munkácsy Mihály: Krisztus Pilátus előtt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus answers Pilate’s question of whether He was a king, but remains silent about the charges against Him.  We find in verse 20 that the chief priests and elders persuaded the people to choose Barabbas when Pilate offered to free one of them.  Fearing a riot, Pilate resigns himself to the will of the crowd, but uses the physical act of washing hands to declare his innocence of “this man’s blood.”  “Having scourged Jesus” is mentioned in passing, but this Roman form of flogging was anything but incidental.  It was a brutally painful beating with a whip weighted with sharp pieces of bone and metal. It was designed to lacerate, often exposing bone and intestines.  Crucifixion was an agonizing and tortuous death, but this beating would be equally painful.  A good article on this scourging can be found at this link.

He was mocked and spit upon, stripped and made to wear a crown made of thorns.  Then he was led away to be crucified.  They made a man named Simon of Cyrene to carry His cross, and when they reached Golgatha (which means Place of a Skull), they tried to give him wine mixed with gall (a very bitter herb that could also be poisonous) to drink.  It was intended to dull the sense of pain, but it was God’s will that He should suffer.  As they crucified Him, “they divided his garments among them by casting lots” – referring to Psalm 22:18.  Verses 36-44 detail the continued derision, mocking and reviling inflicted on Him as He suffered.

Crucifixion was a slow and excruciatingly painful method of inflicting death, and there are many stories of the cruelty of Roman soldiers experimenting with different poses for crucified victims (Josephus, “Jewish War” 5.449–551).  Hanging by one’s arms caused great difficulty in breathing, only alleviated by the victim pushing up with their feet in order to take the weight off of the arms. But that caused severe pain in the feet, arms, legs, and back, making the exhausted victim slump down again, only to be barely able to breathe again. Finally, he would mercifully die of asphyxiation, if he had not already died as a result of the cumulative effects of the multiple physical traumas inflicted.

In verse 45, there was darkness all over the land from the 6th hour until the ninth hour (about noon to 3:00).  About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” meaning, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  This is from Psalm 22:1.  This is one of the most puzzling verses in the Bible.  Jesus knows what is happening, and why He is doing it. One explanation that has been posed is that because Jesus did in fact become sin, at this moment Jesus felt the presence of God turn away from Him as He was dying.  Jesus then gave up the spirit with another cry.

Joseph of Arimathaea Seeks Pilate to Beg Permi...

Joseph of Arimathaea Seeks Pilate to Beg Permission to Remove the Body of Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then in verse 51, the curtain of the Temple was torn from top to bottom.  It was between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, and was woven from 72 twisted plaits of 24 threads a piece. It was 60 feet high and 30 feet wide. No one was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place behind the curtain except the high priest, and then only on the Day of Atonement.  Being torn in two represents the removal of the separation between God and the people.  A high priest was no longer needed – Jesus is our high priest now.  More elaboration of this event, and what it symbolized, is in Hebrews 9:11–10:22.  Then the earth shook (Palestine sits on a major seismic rift), rocks were split, and tombs were opened.  As Matthew often groups events together topically, he then jumps ahead here in verse 53 to events after the resurrection, as many of the saints were raised and came out of the tombs to appear to many in the city.  We are not told whether they were taken to heaven after these eyewitnesses received these visits.  But clearly, God wanted many witnesses to understand the profoundly momentous significance of what had happened.

In verse 57, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came to Pilate that evening to request Jesus’ body.  He took the body and wrapped it in a linen shroud and placed it in his own tomb.  This fulfilled Isaiah 53:9.  Then he rolled a big stone in front of the entrance.  Then the chief priests, remembering how he had said that he would rise after 3 days, went to Pilate voicing their fears that Jesus’ disciples might come and steal the body.  So he gave them a guard of soldiers, and they sealed the tomb and stood guard.

After the resurrection, Jesus – as He had told the disciples in Matthew 26:32 that He would meet them there – would be with them at the Sea of Galilee, and at a mountain there that He directs them to. But several other events occur before and after this, the details of which are interspersed throughout the gospels in Luke 24 and John 20. And events in a single chapter are in some cases separated by days, and even weeks, as Jesus remained for forty days before the ascension.)

Then some of the guard that had been on watch at the tomb went to the chief priests to tell them what had happened. After deliberating, they gave money to the guards to have them say that His disciples had come and stolen the body while they were asleep, promising to keep them out of trouble if word got back to Pilate. Their acts of unbelief in the face of these eyewitness accounts is stunning, but such was their love for power that they would not let it be jeopardized.

Jesus meets His apostles in verse 16 on the mountain in Galilee that He had directed them to. In verses 18-20, Jesus gives the eleven chosen ones the Great Commission – to go and make disciples of ALL nations “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Jesus has confirmed that His Kingdom is open to everyone. Because this is the end of Matthew, some confuse this event with the time of the ascension. But that comes later at at a different mountain – Mount Olivet, after they returned to Jerusalem.

 

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 26, Matt 27, Matt 28, 1 Cor 1, 1 Cor 2

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Last Supper – Matt 26

We now move to Matthew’s account of the last supper and Jesus’ arrest.  Since the audience of the gospel of Matthew is the Jews, it makes sense that he would give full attention to certain details of the trial before the Sanhedrin.  Unlike John, who gives the event in more chronological order, Matthew includes the account of the anointing of Jesus by Mary (sister of Lazarus) here in verses 6-13.   he also gives us the details in verses 14-16 of Judas’ conspiracy with, and payment from, the chief priests for his promise to deliver Him.  We also read in verses 17-20 of Jesus sending disciples to a “certain man” to prepare to have Passover at his house.

But it is in verses 3-5 that we read of chief priests and the elders plotting in Caiaphas’ palace to  “arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.”  They were fearful of arresting Jesus openly because of His popularity; and the Feast of Unleavened Bread brought thousands of Pilgrims to the city.  The last thing they wanted was an uprising.  In verses 20-25, Jesus foretells His betrayal by one of them, culminating in an actual exchange between Jesus and Judas.  What was it like to be told by the son of God that it would be better if His betrayer had never been born – knowing that you had already begun that process?  And Jesus’ confirmation that He knew in verse 25 must have been chilling, especially after the fact.

Peter's Denial by Rembrandt, 1660. Jesus is sh...

Peter’s Denial by Rembrandt, 1660. Jesus is shown in the upper right hand corner, his hands bound behind him, turning to look at Peter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verses 26-29, Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper.  The Passover, begun so long ago in Exodus 12 with the sacrifice of a lamb had pointed to this day.  Now this memorial would remind us of the sacrifice of “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  Verse 28 (“…this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” is the fulfilling also of the new covenant promise of Jeremiah 31:31-34.

The hymn that they sung in verse 30 is most likely Psalm 113-118, which is known as the Hallel (meaning “praise”).  The scripture Jesus quotes in verse 31 is from Zechariah 13:7, telling the disciples that they will all fall away that very night.  He also predicts Peter’s denial, at which point they all declare that they will remain with Him even if they must die.  His prayer in Gethsemane occurs in verses 36-44.  The traditional site for this now holds the “Church of All Nations” (or “Basilica of the Agony”), which was built over a 4th century Byzantine church.  Note Jesus’ sorrow and fervent petition to God in verses 38-39.  Although He was divine, for our benefit He had the same emotions any man would have knowing the suffering that He was about to endure.

Judas betrays Him with a kiss in verse 49.  We know from John 18:10-11 that it was Peter that cut off the ear of one of Jesus’ captors (Malchus) in verse 51.  When Jesus rebukes him, He says “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”  (we sing the song “He could have called Ten Thousand Angels”).  Jesus was of course  not going to call for help, but a Roman legion was 6,000 – so twelve of them would be 72,000.  As predicted, all of His disciples fled the scene.

Matthew skips past the meeting with Annas (John 18:12-14, 19-24) and begins next with the appearance before Caiaphas the High Priest and the Council (the Sanhedrin).  They had many witnesses coming forward, but none would give the false testimony they wanted in order to have Him put to death until at last two came and, in verse 61, misquoted Jesus’ actual statement of John 2:19-21.  He remained silent, making no correction,  when Caiaphas questioned Him about it.  But when asked if He was the Christ, He confirmed it with the Greek expression “you have said so” that He had also used with Judas in verse 25.  Then He added that they would see him at the right hand of “Power.”  Caiaphas declared this to be blasphemy, and they spit on Him and slapped Him, saying that He deserved death.  The outcome was assured now.

Peter’s denial in verses 69-74 went just as Jesus had said; and remembering the words of the Lord, Peter’s grief was intense.  Though this apostle would come to understand the necessity of what Jesus was to endure, we can only try to imagine the guilt he would bear.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 26, Matt 27, Matt 28, 1 Cor 1, 1 Cor 2

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Olivet Discourse – Matt 24-25

Chapters 24 and 25 are known as the Olivet discourse (Verse 3 – “As he sat on the Mount of Olives…”); and chapter 24 is the source of much discussion and confusion. The disciples were impressed with the buildings of the temple, and pointed them out to Jesus. But He tells them in verse 2 that “there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Now the total destruction of this temple was such a dramatic thing to envision, that the only thing they could think of to associate it with was the end of the world. So their question to Jesus was when all of these things would happen.

The key to understanding this chapter (as is the case with all scripture) is to first examine the context, and then apply what follows using your God-given logic. In chapter 23, Jesus had just delivered a very vocal rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees in the temple, calling them the “sons of those who murdered the prophets,” and saying “you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” He finishes up in verses 37-38 with His broken-hear-ted lament for the coming fate of Jerusalem:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate.”

English: Mount of Olives, from Sherover-Hass-G...

English: Mount of Olives, from Sherover-Hass-Goldman promenade in East Talpiot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verses 4-35 of chapter 24, Jesus tells them privately of the fate that awaits Jerusalem, as well as what will become of them (they will be persecuted and put to death). he even tells them of things that will happen before that Roman army does its work in AD 70 – many examples of which Josephus and other historians confirm. If these verses were speaking of the end of the world rather than the destruction of Jerusalem, it would not matter if it was in the winter (verse 20) – much less, what day it was! In verse 34, He tells them that all of these things will happen during their generation. It is not until verse 36 that Jesus begins speaking of the final judgment – “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” The apocalyptic language throughout the chapter is what makes it difficult to separate. But such imagery when the scripture prophesies destruction is common (see Isaiah 13:10-13 and Ezekiel 32:7-8, for example). It is helpful to relate the chapter to Luke’s account in chapter 21, particularly as Matthew 24:15-16 relate to Luke 21:20-21.

Chapter 25 continues the theme of being prepared that Jesus began in the latter part of chapter 24.  No matter how many times Jesus says in scripture that no one knows what day or hour He will come, still people try to predict it even to this day.   The first parable especially emphasizes the importance of always being prepared.

The parable of the talents stresses that we have the responsibility for our own spiritual  growth, and for sharing it with others.  The “talent” in New Testament times was a fairly large amount of money.  The parallel for us is not so much any “talent” we might have as it is just using our abilities productively.  The Lord does not want us to be idle in His Kingdom.  Verse 32 (“Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”) continues the theme from Matthew 24:40-41.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 21, Matt 22, Matt 23, Matt 24, Matt 25

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Jesus Excoriates the Pharisees – Matt 22-23

The parable of the wedding feast in chapter 22 is a difficult passage in some respects. All of the “players” obviously are representative of God and the people of the world who are “invited” into His kingdom. And it all makes perfect sense until you get to the part where the guest is found with no wedding garment. While it may appear that all of these “secondary” guests were just rounded up and brought in, the fact is that they had been invited (verse 9), which infers that they did the necessary to appear at the wedding feast in proper attire. The guest with no wedding garment could not answer how he had gotten in without one because he had no excuse for not being prepared. He had tried to slip in without doing what he knew he should do.

English: Jesus disputes with the Pharisees. Fr...

English: Jesus disputes with the Pharisees. French School. In the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. Print 3861. From “An Illustrated Commentary on the Gospel of Mark” by Phillip Medhurst. Section Q. disputes with the establishment. Mark 10:2-12, 11:27-33, 12:13-27, 12:35-37. http://pdfcast.org/pdf/an-illustrated-commentary-by-phillip-medhurst-on-the-gospel-of-mark-section-q-to-r (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In chapter 23, Jesus continues relentlessly, pronouncing seven “woes” on the Pharisees and scribes. These 36 verses are his longest recorded criticism of these religious leaders. they are specific, and encompass a range of hypocrisy and downright evil behavior that leaves no doubt that Jesus is completely condemning them. It would not be any stretch of the imagination to believe that this likely “pushed them over the edge” where their intent toward Jesus was concerned.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 21, Matt 22, Matt 23, Matt 24, Matt 25

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Obedient Son – Matt 21

In chapter 21, cane into Jerusalem in the “triumphal entry,” cleansed the temple, and cursed he fig tree. Then in verse 23, the Pharisees challenged His authority, asking by what authority He did the things that He did. Jesus proposed that they tell Him by what authority John the baptist did his baptisms, and they would not answer, fearing the crowds if they said that it was not from heaven. Jesus then told them that He would not answer their question about His authority then.

Saint John the Baptist and the Pharisees

Saint John the Baptist and the Pharisees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then He told a parable of two son, who were each told be their father to go work in the vineyard. The first one said that he would not, but later decided to do it. The second said that he would do it, but never did. Jesus compared the tax collectors and prostitutes to the first son, saying that they would go into the kingdom of God before the Pharisees, who He compared to the second son. The Pharisees put on an appearance of obedience to God, but their works belied that public claim they gave to righteousness.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 21, Matt 22, Matt 23, Matt 24, Matt 25

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Rich Young Man – Matt 19-20

In chapter 19, the Pharisees try to pin Jesus down on divorce. In verse 9, Jesus makes the very unpopular statement “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” There have been many creative ways devised to wiggle out of and around that verse. But there is no way to dismiss the fact that God takes the marriage vow very seriously, and expects it to be honored.

Christ and The Pharisees

Christ and The Pharisees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rich young man, who came to Jesus in verse 16, was looking for Jesus to tell him how to get eternal life, as if it were something that he could earn. And it’s true that the fact that you cannot earn it is part of the lesson here. But Jesus told him that he needed to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor. But why? We can surmise from the text that the problem Jesus saw in the young man’s life was that of greed and covetousness. His possessions were his idols.

The lesson of the laborers in the vineyard in chapter 20 is often missed. It is easy for those who have followed Jesus for a long time to begin to think they are more deserving than those who come later. Jesus makes it clear that what matters is that they come at all.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 16, Matt 17, Matt 18, Matt 19, Matt 20

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Angels Watching? – Matt 17-18

Chapter 17 contains the story of the transfiguration, with Moses and Elijah appearing to symbolize the transition from “Moses and the prophets” to the new covenant. At the end of the chapter, when Jesus and the disciples came to Capernaum,  verse 24 says that the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter to inquire whether Jesus would pay the tax. Every man over 20 years of age had to pay a tax during the yearly census for the support of the tabernacle. But Jesus already knew what Peter’s conversation had been about when he came inside. Jesus’ question was “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” Of course, Jesus did provide means for the tax to be paid. But his point was that the temple was the house of God, and Jesus is His son.

The Transfiguration Lodovico Carracci 1594

The Transfiguration Lodovico Carracci 1594 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chapter 18 is a chapter full of lessons about temptation and forgiveness. But verse 10 is the source of much discussion and even some puzzlement. Don’t be distracted by the absence of verse 11 in some versions. The verse is not found in the best early manuscripts, and is widely thought to have been included by mistake for Luke 19:10.  But verse 10 of this chapter has Jesus telling the disciples “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” The verse does not mean that every one has his own guardian angel. The context tells us the apostles that they are to watch over the “sheep.” Angels are given whatever “duties” God may assign for them, it’s true. And we cannot fully understand what their role is in every situation. But it is a mistake to teach people that everyone has their own. If that were truly the case, some of them could be said to not be doing a very good job, don’t you think?

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 16, Matt 17, Matt 18, Matt 19, Matt 20

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.