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!
It’s amazing how even simple daily chores and tasks can be so very different day-by-day when we are connected to other people. Our lives can have set schedules and predefined plans, but once you add in the “other person” factor, everything we plan and do suddenly changes. Our “set schedule” suddenly becomes a possible plan or a good idea or a guarantee of what WON’T happen. This is the case while Jesus is ministering as well.
Jesus ministers to a leaper, and all is normal… or as normal as they can be when you heal a leaper with a touch. Then along comes a Centurion, a solider, many of whom dislike and mistreat the Jewish people. Only this one is asking Jesus for help. Not only does Jesus help him, but Jesus then turns around and says that He has not seen such faith in all of Israel! Next we see people desiring to be His disciples, but then Jesus pushes them away. What kind of teacher doesn’t want students?
After a long day, Jesus and His disciples head out in a boat and cross the sea. Suddenly a tempest strikes and it looks like they will all drown. When His disciples wake Him to help with the boat, He rebukes them. Then He rebukes the storm and it immediately stops!
They all reach the other side only to run into a pair of men who are demon possessed and who have been driving people out of the region. They free them from the demons only to be driven out of the region by the rest of the people BECAUSE they freed these men from being held captive by demons! (I have my own theories as to why they kicked them out, but i’m not going to say them here and now.)
When you minister day by day directly with people, these are the kinds of unusual days and situations you are going to run into. If you are in the ministry, and your schedule is well defined and set. If you don’t have days where your plans and schedule are messed up by people, then i would wonder if you you are “ministering”, or if you are “doing the ministry”. If you are doing the ministry I would challenge you to consider what your call and purpose is.
Jesus did not sit in an office all day. He was hands on, and if we are to be like Him, we need to reconsider what it means to “minister” to the flock.
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.
It’s interesting to me to see not only the life and lives of the scriptures coming to life, but also the arguments and debates.
This first book of the New Testament is clearly written for Jewish people. This is seen from the very beginning of the very first chapter. Matthew 1 begins with a genealogy for Jesus the Messiah that sets up Joseph the husband of Mary as a direct descendant of David and Abraham. This genealogy serves at least a dual purpose. 1) It shows that Jesus has every right and privilege of being King David’s direct descendant. And, 2) It takes a step toward proving that Jesus is indeed the Messiah by showing the fulfillment of prophecy through this genealogy. It is the history of a Jew for Jews.
One of the debates that comes up is about the genealogy itself. According to Matthew’s depiction of the genealogy there are 14 generations defined from Abraham to David, 14 generations defined from David to the fall of, and 14 generations defined between the captivity and Jesus the Messiah. It’s a great pictorial representation, but it’s not without its issues. For instance, there appear to be discrepancies between this listing and the listing in the book of Luke, but my issues are more direct than that. How can there be 14 generations between Abraham and David?
When i go through this genealogy I see “Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.” That’s 4 generations between the time of Moses and the time of David. 1) Salmon to Boaz 2) Boaz to Obed 3) Obed to Jesse 4) Jesse to David. So according to this listing, all that happened between Moses bringing the people to the Jordan River in the end of Deuteronomy to David being anointed King by Samuel occurred within that 4 generation time span. That includes all of the book of Joshua (very feasible as it would have been done within one generation), and all of Judges (not so feasible?).
That’s where i get a bit more skeptical. Just looking at Judges 10 we see numerous minor Judges who served for a number of decades, died then another judge arose and judged Israel, and died and the people sinned again and are afflicted for decades again before we hear of another judge arising. Then when Samuel is born, the word of the Lord appears to have been scarce for a long time and he serves as Judge and priest for a long time before ever anointing David. That’s just a sampling of the issue. There’s still Deborah & Barak, Sampson, Gideon, etc. How could all of that fit into 4 generations?
Considering that all my life and experience with God / YHWH has shown me beyond a doubt that the scriptures truly are written by the inspiration of God and are infallible, how do i reconcile this and other difficult questions? The answer to this and other quandaries is much more simple and elegant than we may think. I have my answers / solutions to the puzzle, but what are yours? 😉
Most of the sacrifices previously mentioned have been for the individual. Whether it was a burnt offering, or a peace offering, or a wave offering, or a grain offering. Each person would bring their sacrifice to the tabernacle to cover their own sins or for themselves and their families. However, the day of atonement is different.
The day of atonement is very special in comparison to the other “daily” sacrifices. The day of atonement occurs once per year on the 10th day of the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. It is a time when all of the congregation of Israel was to get together at the tabernacle / temple for a special sacrifice for all. The day of atonement is about bringing cleansing to the high priest and his family; to the tabernacle, alter and tools of worship; and to the congregation of Israel as a whole. It’s about purifying and bringing all to right. It’s kind of like rebooting or restoring a computer. It cleans out the system and gives a fresh start.
This is very important over the succeeding centuries, and if it had been done and taken seriously as it should have been, it would have gone a long way to help prevent the corruption and downfall of the nations of Israel and Judah. Yet it didn’t.
This principle still applies today. While it is important for each individual to come to repentance before the LORD, and that seems to be a lost art. Even more so the repentance of the nation. How often do we take responsibility for the sins of the nation. How often do we come to YHWH in worship of Him and seeking not only forgiveness and healing for our own sins but for those of our nation. How often do we take responsibility for the decisions and direction of the nation. It is something that the leaders of the nation especially are to do, but that the people of the nation need to pursue and take accountability for as well. It is our nation and our responsibility.
Rev. John Camiolo