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Matthew 11 – Reactions

When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.”  When i read this, I take it as Jesus instructing and sending out the disciples and while they are sent out to do the work of ministry, He is going to their home cities to teach and preach.  It seems almost like a mentality of, “You go take care of these places and meanwhile I have your back.  I am going to make sure your families and friends are taken care of. ”  It’s like His reaction to their stepping out is to take care of those they care about.

Meanwhile, John the Baptist, the one who recognized Jesus conception from the womb and leapt in his mother’s womb at His presence, the one who prepared the way for Jesus, the one who told Jesus that he couldn’t baptize Him because he was not even worthy to untie His sandals, the one who heard the voice of God (YHWH) speaking and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Jesus, the one who said, “He must increase, and I must decrease”, that John; He has set for too long and has come to the point of wondering and doubting that which He had previously known beyond a shadow of a doubt.  So he sends his disciples, the ones that are left, to Jesus to ask if He is the one.  Jesus reaction is not one of disgust that John is even asking such a thing and reacting in such a way, but His reaction is to tell them to observe and report.  That that is the answer for John’s doubt.  There is no criticism of John, only comfort.

Meanwhile, Jesus begins to respond to the reaction of the cities He has already been to.  He had preached, and taught, and healed, and done miracles, and called them to repentance, yet they had not.  They had continued doing what they knew was wrong and treating Jesus teaching like a passing fad.  So Jesus pronounces “Woe” on them.  They rejected the message, so that reaction is going to affect their standing on the judgment day.

Finally, Jesus calls for a reaction from the people.  The conclusion to the chapter is, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

So what is your and my reaction to His message?

 

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Matthew 1 – The People

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?  😉

 

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Exodus 28 – The Robes

As i began reading this chapter i began thinking about the purpose of the priestly garments and the relationship between man and God.  The question popped into my mind, “Does God need the priest to be dressed in special visually attractive garments?  Are these garments related to giving honor and glory to YHWH because He IS God, or are they aesthetically pleasing and more serve the purpose of giving the Israelites an identity of worship to YHWH?  Is it that elegant clothing somehow draws YHWH to the priests and His people more than plain clothing would?… I know, to some extent that sounds silly… Is it about giving YHWH glory and honor by bringing only the best into His presence? …like somehow He NEEDS that?  Or; is it like when God spoke aloud honored Christ before the disciples not for Christ’s sake, but for theirs?  Does this relate to God’s need for honor or glory, or the people’s need to be able to honor and glorify him through beautiful worship and sacrifice?

I thought it was a really interesting question and i really liked the direction that the question was leading.  It’s a question that was definitely worth pursuing even if i already had a good idea as to the answer.  Then i hit the end of verse two, and in all honesty i felt a little gipped.  There was the answer sitting right in front of me; “for glory AND for beauty”.  My reaction was, “Awe come on!  You’re just going to GIVE me the answer!  That’s no fun!”  I figured that the answer was probably going to somehow be both, but it’s just so much fun to process through.  At least i got to do it here.

The other thing i wanted to note really quickly is that the robes; the priestly garments seem to be given the same attention to detail and significance as the temple building itself.  It started to get me thinking about the parallels between the temple as the outward covering of the Glory of God, and the priestly garments as an outward covering bringing glory to the priest.

Well, that’s all for now!

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