Category Archives: New Testament

Matthew – Conclusion

It looks like i got ahead of myself.  I went and did the word cloud before i finished the last post!

I finished the book of Matthew, and i need to give my post-copy impressions.  This is kind of hard for me as i haven’t really noticed a difference in my view and attitude about the book since i did the work.  So there aren’t really any “BIG” new impressions.  I knew going into this that Matthew is a book for the Jews.  It was written to  a Jewish audience in order to make clear the events that occurred and to make a clear case for Jesus, the Christ.  You can see this as you go through Matthew’s gospel.  In the very first chapter you see Jesus genealogy and how He is a clear descendant of David.  Also, throughout the book there have been numerous purposeful reference back to the (O.T.) Scriptures, and especially referring to Jesus fulfilling the prophesies about the coming Messiah / Christ.  But all this i knew ahead of time.  And I really wanted to get a new impression after having finished this book.

Although, the more i process all of this, and the more I think about it, the more i do have a bit of a different outlook on it.  One thing that i have liked about posting about Matthew has been the chapter titles.  I really put a lot of thought into my chapter / section titles, and it can be pretty frustrating when i just can’t find the right descriptor that communicates about not just one section of the chapter, but the whole thing.  The nice thing about Matthew, is that the author kept everything neat and clean.  At the same time that Matthew talks about Jesus healing the blind man so he can see, you also get Jesus reprimanding the Pharisees and talking about how even though they have eyes, they just can’t see (ch. 20).  You can also see this in Chapter 16 – Response.  In the beginning of the chapter we see the Pharisees starting to get fed up with Jesus.  So they respond to Him by attempting to test / trick Him, but it fails.  Jesus responds to them in ways that blow them away so badly that they decide not to ever do that again.  So first we have the Pharisees’s response to Jesus, then His response towards them, then finally Jesus asks Peter for his response to who people say He is.  It’s all very beautiful the way it’s all laid out.  Each and every section / chapter seems to have its own theme, which in turn just makes it all the more fun, seeing / finding those common themes.

In all honesty, I’m definitely pretty glad that i made the jump to Matthew at this time, and I think that interspersing the NT books in with the OT books will continue, for the time being!  Well, that’s been my thoughts on Matthew, and I’m glad to share them.  I hope you get half as much out of my notes as i have by doing the project.

God bless, and onward to Numbers!   Woo Hoo!

Rev. John

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Matthew – Word Cloud

It’s that time again!  The book of Matthew has been finished.  So now we have these fun Word Clouds compromised of all the words from all of the posts.

As seems to be tradition, we have a light background version and a dark background version.  Keep in mind, the vertical version is my intended version.  But obviously vertical does not necessarily mean work as wallpaper for most people’s monitors.  So we also have the flipped, horizontal version.  Enjoy!

P.S. I give a shout out to Wordle for the word cloud image maker!

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Matthew 28 – The End Begins

Part 1 of all of time and life has ended.  Part 2 now begins.  Christ has risen.  He has risen indeed.  This is an interesting rendition of this his-story.  It is short and sweet.  It hits the highlights of the main story.  It tells of the reactions of the guards and the religious leaders, and it tells of the directions given to the disciples.

It’s at these directions that i want to dwell.  I learned something a long time ago.  It is something that has changed my outlook on this great commission.  It’s may not be super deep and life redefining, but it is an interesting revelation none-the-less.

First off, I love how Christ starts this.  It is classic YHWH.  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  (You) Go therefore…”  It’s just like when God spoke to Moses, “I am going to free My people Israel… now you go and tell Pharaoh to let My people go!”  YHWH says He is going to do it, then He tells us to.  It’s great!

My big note relates to vs 19-20.  Jesus tells the disciples to go and make disciples… baptizing in the name of the Father and of the the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…  Yet, when you look at the scriptures talking about the disciples baptizing in Acts, these are the statements you get (2:38) Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  (8:14-16) Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Nowhere else does it give an account of what is said during the baptism.

What you notice here is that there is nowhere in these or any other accounts in which it is said that they baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  In the accounts of water baptism the people are baptized in the name of Jesus, the Christ.  Yet when we baptize, WE say, “…in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  Why?  Because in the book of Matthew, Christ tells us to.  But, isn’t that what He told the disciples as well?  Is there something we’re missing here or was it something the disciples were neglecting?

The more I’ve studied this, the more I’m convinced that we’re missing something here.  For instance, no where in the great commission does it say anything about coming to God in repentance, or even to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s not there.  But when you do look at what the disciples did, there was more to the story than just water baptism.  Acts 2:38 says, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”  There are three parts to this.  1) Repent  2) Water baptism in the name of Jesus, and 3) Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  So how are these connected to being baptized in the name of…

In order to understand that, you have to understand what baptism is.  Baptism is in essence the representation of a death, a burial, and a resurrection (what Christ did for us).  In water baptism you “die” are “buried” in the water (hence not sprinkled), and are “resurrected again into new life.  When we are water baptized it is a physical representation of what, that we have already done?  It is a physical representation of our repentance… 1) death of self 2) burial in God / YHWH’s grace, and 3) resurrection as a new man.  Thus repentance is a baptism.  Water baptism is an outward baptism expressing what we have already done in our heart, and baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism of the Holy Spirit’s power.  Thus it is baptism in the name (name represents power) of the Father (repentance) and of the Son (water baptism), and the Holy Spirit (the HS’s empowerment for the building up of the saints for the work of service).

So what does this mean for us?

 

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Matthew 27 – 2 – The Beginning Ends

I have a hard time writing about this section.  I don’t know why.  It is such a rich section of the scripture with beauty, majesty, & strength.  I look at this section of scripture and it seems like time is slowing down and almost coming to a standstill.  Like if you could be there, you could almost see every drop of blood and hear the cry of every vulture.  It’s almost like every bit and piece of reality is slowed down and magnified.  Like all of life and time itself has been preparing for this moment and is now holding its breath in anxious anticipation of this, the very moment that it exists for.  Distantly, in the background, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” ringing through all of reality.  The flutter of the wings of a bird; the racing heartbeat of a little boy; the sound of the laughter of the roman soldiers slowing down as a moment is extended into five.  It is almost deep and primal, and then… it is done!

Jesus, the Christ, has died!  The heaven’s mourn.  The Father / YHWH tears His veil, as the priest had torn his robes only hours before.  The very earth and rocks cry out.  They expel the very bodies of the dead righteous, just as the blood of righteous Able called out to YHWH from the ground that had swallowed him up from the hands of Cain.

Nothing else matters in all of history and time, as what happens in that very moment when “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

… except maybe what happens on the third day

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Matthew 27 – 1 – Trials

Wow!  These Jewish leaders!  They seem like such bitter and angry people!

Judas comes and seeks remorse and a restitution of sorts for his involvement in this situation.  He knows he is wrong and that he is at fault.  So he comes in remorse and repentance, and they basically say, “Yup!  You da man!  You are at fault and in judgment, and we’re not lifting a finger  to help you.”

They bring Jesus before the secular, gentile law because they cannot sentence Him to death on their own.  If they could have avoided Pilate and dealing with the spited gentiles, they would have.  Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, they could not sentence Jesus to death on their own.  Pilate, having dealt with these Jews before, had some major issues with what was going on.  He knew that the Pharisees and religious leaders were doing this because they were so angry and bitter, and they hated Jesus for what He did and stood for.

Pilate knows that this is a sham trial, and he tries to stop it.  But what God / YHWH has put into place, Pilate certainly cannot stop.  So Pilate does what he can to help end this fiasco, but to no avail!  He risks a riot and if that happens again, he could lose his jurisdiction and even his life if Caesar is in a foul mood when he hears of it.   His wife even sends him a message telling him to have nothing to do with this man because of a dream she has, but in all truth, there is nothing that he can truly do to stop it.  It’s all going forward like a train wreck, and all he can do is stand back and watch.  “Let it be…”

It’s sad when i consider the Pharisees.  They go through all of this work and trouble.  Why?  Because they truly believe that Jesus is a threat to God / YHWH; because they are constantly trying to fight the Roman invasion and raping and pillaging of their culture, religion, and people and are taking it out on Jesus; or because their pride has been hurt hurt by this teacher that makes them look like fools and idiots when they are the most dedicated and learned men of their times?  Here are “men of God” doing everything that they can to destroy what they should be rejoicing to have.  The Pharisees have spent all of their lives pursuing the truth the only way they know and have been taught how.  Now this young upstart turns around, is attempting to destroy so much of what they have worked so hard to build, and the only way to stop him is to break the very laws that they have spent their lives dedicated to studying, understanding, living and teaching.  I look at that, and I come to the conclusion… “If not but for the grace of God, there go I”

Christ is on trial, but the trial is not His.  It is theirs.  It is mine.  They have been placed in the balance and have been found lacking.  Yet, if not for a 2000 years difference, and they could have been me.  “If not but for the grace of God…”

Rev.  John

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Matthew 26 – 2 – Revenge of the Pharisees

Preparations have been made and the time has come.  There is only to wait, and rest, and meet the promised fate.  Jesus takes the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  The disciples, having had a very busy week, having just completed a big meal, and being unaware of what is about to happen simply cannot keep their eyes open to pray.  Thus Jesus last moments alone with his disciples end up with Him being truly alone.  Just Him speaking with His Father, YHWH.

It’s rather sad that Jesus, the Son of God, is being betrayed by one of His own.  These 12 disciples have followed Him for three years now.  They have seen the miracles He has done.  They have seen Him walk on water, heal the blind, cast out demons, raise the dead, and more.  They have heard Him teach.  They have heard all the stories about the Kingdom of Heaven, that it is at hand, what it is like,  the need for repentance, and what role they will play there.  They have even gone out and done and taught the same things with people healed at their hands.  Yet, one of their own.  One from the big 12 is in the process of betraying Him…  of betraying them all.  Yet there it is.  Not only does he betray Jesus, he betray’s Him with a kiss… and they all go tumbling down.  His disciples, including His closest three, all scatter.

What happens next is absolutely amazing.  The Pharisees, high priests and elders have Him arrested.  That’s a great idea!  Only they don’t exactly have their act together.  They are fumbling around trying to figure out what to charge Jesus with, and even bringing forward people bear false witness against Him (the 10th commandment).  Yet even with all of this, they still can’t seem to get their act together.  There seems to be a bit of a spirit of confusion about the place.  It takes Jesus Himself giving them the ammunition that they need before they are able to clearly bring a case against Him.

Meanwhile, Peter is watching all of this from the sidelines, full of fear of what is going to happen and what could happen to Him if he is caught.  In the process, he is caught.  People recognize him, and call him out.  So while Judas, the least of the Apostles, betray’s Judas to the Pharisees; Peter, the greatest of the Apostles deny’s Him for fear of the Pharisees.  It looks like the Pharisees are getting their revenge.

Yet, there is always hope…

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Matthew 26 – 1 – Preparation (Last Supper)

Well, I’m a few days further behind on my writing than on my copying.  I’m actually in Matthew 27 today in my copy work, but I’m writing about the beginning of Matthew 26.

Time seems to be speeding up here.  Final preparations are being made.  Jesus is where He often seems to be.  He is with His flock; at the home of Simon the leper.  A woman comes and pours out over his head a vial of very costly perfume.  This is so very significant in so many ways.  This kind of vial of perfume is often used as a life savings.  When a person has extra money that he / she wants to save long term (for when they are old / retired) they would invest it in perfumes and burying spices.  It held it’s value well, and was less likely to be stolen than Roman coin.  When this woman pours this perfume / burial incense & spices out on Jesus, she is giving up her best, her future for Him.  She is preparing Him for burial, and trusting God to provide for her future.  This is a huge sacrifice on her part, and everyone knows it.  Thus what she has done is remembered.

Next we see Judas preparing as well.  The Passover meal is coming, and he goes to the chief priests to sell out his master.  He takes the silver, and provides the direction to allow the leaders to take out their wrath through the destruction of something beautiful.

Finally, we come to an extremely important event.  One that is celebrated at least monthly in churches around the world.  The last supper and communion.  It’s funny that we use this official word “Communion” for this process.  What is communion?  Communion can be defined as: “The sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings”.  It is two or more people coming together for a common purpose to share / celebrate together with one another.  It is a process of celebration, joy, hope, sharing, and intimacy.  When i think of taking part in communion at church, i do not think of celebration, joy, hope, sharing, or intimacy.  It is more like seriousness, melancholy, monotony, dividing up, and self-focus.  That’s not to say that it is those things, but that certainly is what it seems like at times.

This Last Supper is that final time that Jesus has to share and be in relationship with His disciples.  He knows that this is His last chance to just be able to relax and spend time with them.  Imagine what it would be like if you knew that your next meal would be the last meal you would spend with your family.  The last chance you had to really BE with them, and enjoy their company.  Would you want it to be remembered as a stuffy occasion in which everyone passes around little tiny crackers and little tiny cups of juice and they sit there holding their little  tiny cups trying not to spill them and stain the carpet?  There are a whole lot of things that the church does really well, but I really think that we miss the target on this one.

Celebrate communion with someone today.

 

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

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