Matthew 22:34-46, The Condemnation and the Hope

[October 26, 2014] The first half of today’s Gospel reading should be familiar to us all. Jesus summarizes God’s demand of us in two commandments, a summary that was already familiar to the Jews: Love God and love your neighbor (which we will explore a little more). The haphazard reader, however, might miss . . . → Read More: Matthew 22:34-46, The Condemnation and the Hope

Matthew 22:15-22, Paying God What Belongs to God

[October 19, 2014] Today’s Gospel text continues the theme of reckoning and accountability and judgment that began three Sundays ago. A new and very short phase of Jesus’ ministry began when he entered the city of Jerusalem with the Passover festival crowd of pilgrims on the tenth day of the Jewish month of . . . → Read More: Matthew 22:15-22, Paying God What Belongs to God

Matthew 22:1-14, The Wedding Invitation

[October 12, 2014] Let me try to be brief (I am tired and short on time this morning). The text we are considering is a continuation of Jesus’ response to the civic/religious leaders who came to question him with respect to his authority for acting the way he did when he came into . . . → Read More: Matthew 22:1-14, The Wedding Invitation

Matthew 21:33-46, The Accountability of Stewards

[October 5, 2014] Some commentaries and church curriculum materials ought to have the warning attached that they promote anti-Semitic prejudices. Jesus tells a damning parable here that is directed to the chief priests and scribes and members of the Sanhedrin concerning their stewardship of the Lord’s vineyard, and the fairly common interpretation of . . . → Read More: Matthew 21:33-46, The Accountability of Stewards

Matthew 21:23-32, Believing the Message of Jesus

[September 28, 2014] The lectionary now takes us past Palm Sunday to Jesus’ first confrontation with the leaders of Jerusalem, the city at the heart of Judaism, where was the holy Temple. On Palm Sunday Jesus entered the city by the Golden Gate in a parade that he had orchestrated. His followers, mostly, . . . → Read More: Matthew 21:23-32, Believing the Message of Jesus

Matthew 20:1-16, Envying the Johnny-Come-Latelies

[September 21, 2014] I struggled with trying to figure out the application of this parable. The last verse of chapter 19, “Many who are first will be last, and the last, first,” and the concluding verse here, 20:16, “Thus the last will be first, and the first, last,” frame the parable, and therefore . . . → Read More: Matthew 20:1-16, Envying the Johnny-Come-Latelies

Matthew 18:21-35, Forgiving One Another

[September 14, 2014] Last night I received news that one of the beloved in the congregation fell and broke her hip. I visited her last night and she has been on my mind and heart all night.

This morning we pick up Jesus’ teaching where we left off last week. He . . . → Read More: Matthew 18:21-35, Forgiving One Another

Matthew 18:15-20, On Not Stumbling the Little Ones

[September 7, 2014] We can know God abstractly, which has a limited usefulness, or we can know God in the mystery of the divine being, which humbles and opens our mind. In contemplating God as the Father, Jesus becomes the light of the Father, revealing the divine in a way that our own . . . → Read More: Matthew 18:15-20, On Not Stumbling the Little Ones

Matthew 16:21-28, The Cost of the Mission Jesus Sends Us On

[August 31, 2014] I’ve been away the last two Sundays—backpacking with my daughter and then, with my wife, driving her to college—and so this study follows the one of Matthew 14:22-33.

The section of Matthew we have been considering follows the parables in chapter 13 and continues up to Palm Sunday . . . → Read More: Matthew 16:21-28, The Cost of the Mission Jesus Sends Us On

Matthew 14:22-33, Coming to Jesus “across the Water”

[August 10, 2014] The last post was about Jesus’ altogether inclusive attitude towards the crowd for whom he performed a miraculous sign that demonstrated God’s generosity toward them in anticipation of the coming kingdom. Now Jesus departs from both the crowd and his band of disciples after he sent his disciples on . . . → Read More: Matthew 14:22-33, Coming to Jesus “across the Water”