As we did last week, we’ll focus on the instructions we receive from Jesus concerning how we respond and live in light of the temporal nature of this world’s systems. As you read through the passage, pay attention to the places where Jesus gives specific instructions to his disciples and consider how those instructions would apply to our lives in this present world.
So, here's the second instalment of the Wonderwhat (reboot) podcast. In this episode R&R talk more about Eastgate history, as well as upcoming events-and of course some baseball news.
We’ll be starting chapter 24 of Matthew’s gospel this Sunday reading the first 14 verses. Needless to say, this will not be a teaching which tells us when the world will end. What we’ll learn from Jesus is that there is a presupposition of the world’s ending. It’s how we live in the time we have that’s truly important.
v1-3 give us the overall heading of this section. Jesus predicts the end of something – what is it? The disciples ask him when this will happen, and what sign to look for to signal his coming. Do you find that odd? He’s right in front of them – why are they asking about his coming? They didn’t expect him to leave – what were they talking about? The word “coming” in the Greek is “parousia” – the arrival of a king. They are asking when he’ll be revealed as King and bring the present, broken world to it’s conclusion. They don’t realize it, but they are asking two different questions. What then, are the two subjects in view in this section?
Jesus describes things that sound like current events to us and could be alarming – except for what Jesus says in v6. What are these events, in his view?
Instead of giving his disciples a straight forward answer about when these things would happen – what does Jesus say to his disciples as instruction? (hint: v4, v6, v13)
Before things really end, what is happening according to v14? What is our mission then, in light of the end? How does knowing when the end may come have any bearing on what our mission is? Does it change? If not, what does that tell us? If so, how?
In this chapter, Jesus sort of goes all Gordon Ramsay on the Pharisees and Scribes! As you read the entire rebuke that Jesus gives to the religious leaders of his day – what is the overarching theme that you pick up on? What do you believe he reserves his scorn for?
It would be very easy to keep this text isolated to the temple leadership of Jesus’ day, but that would be a mistake. In what ways can you pick up on parallels between the religious culture of Jesus’ day, and our present day Evangelical culture? If you were able to communicate a warning to our church from this text, what would be the most important part of Jesus’ rebuke you’d apply?
We’ll be reading about a group of people, the Sadducees, who were themselves cynical of any notion of life after death. We’ll be reading Matthew 22:23-46.
The Sadducees pose a riddle to Jesus about a hypothetical conundrum which could occur in a resurrection of the dead in a case of levirate marriage. It’s a silly question – and Jesus seems to give a dismissive answer – but in reality, he uses the situation to express an important truth about God’s purpose with humanity. What is the emphasis of v32? What does that tell us about God’s intentions for those who will believe him?
After the Sadducees fail, the Pharisees send in a lawyer. Not that kind of lawyer – but one who was an expert in Jewish law. He asks a very common question debated by the rabbis throughout the history of Israel. What commandment is of supreme importance to God? In Jesus’ answer – what priority to we discover? How does his tethering of the WHOLE law to these two commandments reveal what God’s primary interest is for us as his followers?
In what ways do you find Jesus’ answer comforting? In what ways do you find it challenging? How can we more faithfully embrace and express the primacy of love?
Looking forward to exploring this together on Sunday! See you then!
So, Bradley started this podcast some time ago and did a great job, but ran out of extra time to keep it going, so we're going to give it a shot! It's a reboot, though, so it will probably vary a bit from the old style. We will also try to add links to the old podcast episodes as we can-
Here's some notes from this podcast for you reference:
In this episode, Rob talks about NT Wright's book, The Day the Revolution Started, you can get it here.
Also, we talk a lot about how Eastgate began, the full story is in Rob's book here.
“Unknown” – Colours of Melancholia
“Tramp’s Song” – Jimmie Oder
“Surfing” – Tojamura 7
In our text this week Jesus will be answering a trickquestion posed once again by the Pharisees, regarding taxes. He’ll be talking about our responsibility to the kingdoms of men and also pointing out our more significant debt to the kingdom of heaven. We’ll see how, according to him, they’re very much interrelated.. Matthew 22:15-22
What is the biggest, most elaborate party you’ve ever been invited to? Did you enjoy yourself or was it challenging to be there?
No matter how big the party was that you attended, I can guarantee it didn’t hold a candle to ancient royal feasts. They were known to last up the 10 days. Even into the medieval period, England and France threw a joint party that lasted for 17 days in a huge field, where everyone was given coats woven with silk and gold.
This Sunday we’ll read a story told by Jesus about a party thrown by a king who gets snubbed. It’s a curious story, not without it’s critics. We’ll be reading Matthew 22:1-14.
Who do you believe the king is in this story? Who is the son? Who do you believe the people snubbing the invitation represent? Who do you think the replacement invitees are? If you said, respectively, “God, Jesus, the Religious Leaders, the church”, you would be in the company of the majority of those who interpret this parable. I agree with them too. There are other views about who is representing whom, but they aren’t as convincing to me, given the context and theme that has been rolling along since chapter 21 began.
Jesus compares the kingdom of God to an elaborate party. How does that fit within your pictures of what God’s kingdom is like? How does it match up with images of people with wings sitting on clouds and playing harps? Which is more appealing to you?
Has someone ever taken something that belonged to you – or at least you felt belonged to you? How did that make you feel?
Have you ever been in charge of something and someone else starts stepping all over your authority? What feelings does that incur? What do you want to do? We’re going to be thinking about things like that This Sunday as we continue our study in Matthew, reading chapter 21:33-46.
Jesus tells a parable that traditionally is referred to as “the parable of the wicked tenants”…but it could be more accurately called “the story of the renters from hell”.
Read the parable over. Who do the vinedressers who are renting the property represent? Who would they represent as we try to understand this parable for our own lives?
Who does the Landowner represent? What do we learn from about Him from His responses to the growing tensions?
What was the last straw in this stand-off? What drove the Landowner to action? What can we learn from this story about our own lives and the choices and responses we have?
It will be a challenging, yet encouraging study, I think.
Ever start to pick up a perfectly beautiful piece of fruit to take a bite, only to realize that it’s made of plastic – a prop, for display only. I have a frustrating story to share on Sunday about things that are for display only when you’re trying to purchase something. That’s one kind of frustration. A religion that is for display purposes only is another kind of frustration. That’s going to be the theme of our study this week.
The passage we’ll be reading this Sunday are another one of Jesus’ image flips. We’ll be reading Matthew 20:17-28.
In v17-19, Jesus gives his third prediction of what fate awaits him in Jerusalem. This forecast is the most explicit, even including the detail of flogging and crucifixion. Based on the section that is coming up, we know that the disciples don’t get what he’s talking about. They are still assuming Jesus will be taking up a sword, assembling an army and overthrowing the powers that be. Instead of that, Jesus predicts his own death. Based on that, what do we understand the greatest expression of God’s power to be? From Sydney Carton to Harry Potter, humanity seems to intuit the power of self-sacrificial love. How does this impact the mission of the church? How should it define our main activity?
After Jesus gives this revelation, two of his disciples, Jimmy and Jack, get their mom to ask for special privileges when Jesus ascends his throne. Given what he’s just described his throne to look like, they really have no clue what they are asking for...
N.T. Wright, in his “Everyone” commentary on Matthew, shares a story, in typical British fashion, about a fox hunt he had witnessed as a boy (this is not to endorse such a thing, just his account). He described the riders in red coats atop of fine brown horses that blew trumpets and led the way for hunting dogs and riders who were less dashing on more humble horses. As they charged around chasing the fox, the clever animal hid in the bushes and back-tracked after the riders had all passed him. Suddenly, those at the back of the procession looked back to the hill they had just come from and saw the fox behind them. They blew their own trumpet to turn the group around, and suddenly those who were on humble mounts were at the front of the pack, while those on the fine horses were bringing up the rear.
He used that as an illustration of how God, in a very fox-like way, turns the pursuits of life and faith around so that the ones we assumed had it all are suddenly the ones needing to catch up. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. That’s going to be a concept we’ll be considering in our study this weekend.
I remember once finding a track of a live version of a song that I really like by one of my favorite bands. Live versions of songs aren’t always that enjoyable to me, but they do carry an intensity that is never fully captured in a recording session. Anyway, as I played the recording I found myself immediately disoriented. Instead of the opening I was accustomed to, the drum started hammering out a strange and unfamiliar syncopation. I assumed this was the end of another song and the one I expected would start soon, but to my great surprise, I realized that it was in fact the song I was looking for. The band had simply changed the rhythm which had the effect of reforming the melody. The lyrics, instead of being their normal staccato were drawn out in harmonies. It was the same song but it was presented completely differently that what I anticipated and had come to expect. The band had turned the song upside down for me and it was like hearing it all with fresh ears.
One thing that has characterized Jesus’ ministry as we’ve read about it in the gospel of Matthew is the unexpected way in which he takes the world and turns it upside down. Or, we really should say, right side up. Where all of the expectations and norms have pointed in one direction, Jesus comes along and turns the signs completely around. Like the band I mentioned – he played the right song, but in ways that nobody could have anticipated.
In this section, Jesus moves from the larger circle of community interaction and responsibility to the closer circle of marriage. Jesus, in countering a test posed to him by the Pharisees, reveals his heart concerning the theology of marriage. It’s original purpose and intent and our responsibilities to that purpose.
Hang in there….we’ll get through this.
One thing that I’ve learned about church over the last 20 years is that it’s full of humans. Now that I’ve impressed you with my observational skills, let me just point out that whenever you get a group of humans together, you will inevitably find conflict. The church is no different. “Conflict in church? Meh, there you go, the church is full of hypocrites!” “No…it’s not full, there’s room for one more, c’mon in!”
Here’s the thing. Jesus seemed to anticipate our propensity for conflict, which prompted him to give the instructions we'll be covering in our study through Matthew: Ch 18:15-35.
February 12, 2017 We’re coming to a section in our study of Matthew where Jesus is going to give us some instruction as to how to handle ourselves in community...