Saturday, March 25, 2006

Matthew Class notes

These notes are from a weekly class I participated in during winter-spring 2001. We used the series The Present Word, which I believe was (is?) a Disciples of Christ/United Church of Christ publication.


Unit I. Beginnings: Birth and Ministry

January 22 – Time of Preparing

Introduction: Mark's Gospel, 70 C.E. – the only gospel the author actually calls "gospel!"
Mark's really into upholding Peter's ministry.
Matthew, circa 80 C.E.: tension between Paul and the early church fathers; Matthew also affirms Peter. "Jewish gospel" – back to Abraham. Matthew includes women in genealogy. Except for Ruth, these woman are "sordid sinners" – Matthew and Jesus' ministry of forgiveness and grace
Gospel versus Law
Matthew is the only gospel that uses ekklesia – 16:18; 18:17
Apocalyptic writing in Matthew – you'd be punished by God for what you're doing
Matthew's symbol: the Lion (of the Tribe of Judah)
Lots of historicism in Matthew, especially back to Isaiah
Both race and religion genealogy is critical for Jews; no women's names in OT genealogies
In Matthew's families all are equal, no one's a possession

January 29 – Time of Testing

Matthew 3: John baptizing – but John later questions if Jesus really is the Messiah: "Go and tell John…"
*Faith brings healing*
Elijah would return before the Messiah Matthew 3:1; Malachi 4:5
Pride is one of the greatest sins
Jesus' baptism is part of his later choosing the cross; he modeled humanity for us.
"Superior submitted to inferior"
Messiah himself enters into community
Dove becomes an important Christian symbol
Breath, wind in Hebrew & Greek can be perceived as fire: "breath of life"
What text was used to translate the Bible I'm using into English?
Paul – as a Roman citizen could demand to be tried in Rome
They thought Jesus would literally throw out Rome!
Jesus didn't come to start the Christian Church!
Matthew 4:1-17
"testing" rather than temptation; God does test us. Genesis 22:1 – God tested Abraham. We test God?
Spirit walks Jesus to time of testing – then 35 x 15 miles = area of devastation
John's baptism was not cleansing, but repenting
Jesus speaks out of OT, really important for Matthew
Jesus knew what we go through
Spectacular? Show everyone what we can do. Jesus has to come to terms with being part of the world, but remembers his citizenship – WOW!!!!!
Later Jesus says to Peter, "Get away from me, Satan." Keep your integrity when someone suggests what we don't believe God wants us to do. NO COMPROMISE in following God.
Satan's tests are relevant to our gifts and abilities! God's will our comfort…
Nicaea, 325 C.E.; Apostles Creed about 100 years later
Testing answered both Greeks and Hebrews.
Satan needs God's permission to tempt us and he never could do anything unless God allowed it.
Constant vigilance
Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ – temptation to have a 'normal' human life

February 5 – Time of Rejoicing

Jesus is connected to his history – important to Matthew
Women usually aren't part of a genealogy. But these took the future in their hands and acted upon it!
Tamar - – "Levirate" = right of a woman to bear a child in the husband's line! (In this case, in Judah's line…)
Joshua 2 – Rahab protected her family's lineage
Ruth – an outsider (Written in opposition to Nehemiah!)
Israel's history: opening itself up and closing itself off
Matthew's genealogy? Some class ideas
Tamar, Rahab, Ruth: all gentiles (only on woman's side)
Men in genealogy all are Israelites or was Matthew saying Jesus was for all?
Ministry for the whole world
Jesus for sinners – Jesus saves all sinners
Luke's genealogy includes Adam!
Matthew = take away female / male barrier: church was open
Matthew says "Jesus Christ" – "the" has disappeared
Esau isn't listed!
Historically, the woman often was the big influence behind her husband
God's intervention in these stories!!!
God uses anybody!!! Throughout the Bible!
Holy Spirit at Jesus' conception and baptism – Jesus sends the Spirit to us!
Engagement —> Betrothal (a writ you could get out of) —> Wedding
Woman had to be accused, or a man could simply walk away to get out of the wedding
No stable or anything in Matthew, but we know Joseph's "home" was Bethlehem.

February 12 – Time of Worshiping

Matthew 2 – in this chapter he lights Bethlehem. 70 C.E., the Jerusalem's destruction, and here, Bethlehem becomes important.
Jacob buried Rachel
Ruth lived with Boaz
David lived there
Magi never were called "Kings" until medieval times. Soothsayers, magicians, bearers of gifts. They want to see the real King! The 8th Century gave the Magi names!
Matthew lets us know people were ready for a king. To become unshackled from Rome. No Temple = "Where is God?"
2:4 – Chief Priests and Scribes predict where the baby will be born: Micah 5 – bureaucracy of the Church gives Jesus' birth location legitimacy!
2:11b gold – King
frankincense – Priest
myrrh – for burial
*Jesus comes to give us both life and death!*
[Snyder Act gave the vote to American Indians]
2:12 – Magi; 2:13 – Joseph; 2:19 – Joseph; 2:22 – Joseph: dreams. God communicates to people through dreams
2:11 – Magi worshiped Jesus – Magi – gentiles! Worshiped Jesus first! Journey of faith.
2:15b …"Out of Egypt did I call my Son."
2:16 – they might have been in Bethlehem as long as 2 years…???
2:18 –Vox in Ramah – Jeremiah relevant? OT, sounds good. "Only" about 20 kids were killed in this purge since Bethlehem is small.
Legends about Dismas, about a spider's web
Herod's Kingdom went to his 3 sons [Luke 3:1]
Homage, worship – same meaning
Wilderness, star experiences can be just a few hours or a few days, sometimes longer
Don't carry the anger! Offer it to God!
To tell the Christmas story we intermingle Matthew, Mark, Luke
God works through the obstacles of the world in giving us Jesus (and in our lives, too).
Whatever it takes!!!!!
Handout, page 18 – turning point when God claims control and then God works through her.
Initiative —> —> —> —>
..."God's love extends to those whom society condemns."
*Matthew is more interested in Jesus' name than in the story of Jesus' birth.*
D – 4; V – 6; D – 4: Hebrew numerical "14" emphasizes Davidic sonship
7, and multiply... 3, 7 are important in the Bible

Unit II. Jesus' Teachings and Ministry

February 26 – Thinking about Commitment

Matthew 4:18-22; 9:9-13; 10:1-4
There's no timeline from the desert to the disciples – but we are called to discipleship!
Only Matthew and Mark say "fishers of people" – intent to make missionaries, witnesses
Jesus' testing in Mark is only 2 verses! 13 verses in Luke
Peter is called first and listed first
Matthew includes "dumb" stuff about Peter!
Peter, Andrew, James, John – immediate response, with no decision, no option of delaying
Chapter 9 – Matthew's call 9:13 – mercy, not sacrifice [cf. Amos]
Rome gave a bill to tax collector, about how much to bring in. Tax collector added his salary.
Matthew points out Jesus called sinners: where the need was greatest.
The people don't ask Jesus "why," they ask the disciples, but Jesus answers.
Pharisees wanted to preserve their own holiness, so they criticized Jesus.
Chapter 10 – Matthew's community definitely was egalitarian, practiced equality.
Disciples sent first to Israel – "12"
10:13 – greeting of peace was Asian – this was near East – "ANE." Dust from anywhere other than Israel is unclean. Time is short, move one!

March 5 – Thinking about Prayer

Matthew 6:1-15 prayer is greater than all good works!
Righteousness / religious acts in these verses.
Hypocrite = actor, not being honest about what you're doing
Prayer was a high priority in being Jesus.
We prioritize things in our lives with prayer
Lord's prayer as a model! "Address" for scripture. Confidence in prayer: God will act!
Matthew – 7 petitions in Lord's Prayer
Jesus was 1st with "Our Father"
Table in the Kingdom, daily bread
Forgiveness for what one owes, not for what is done to us.
*You won't always forgive everybody…*
Evil one:
Devil – slanderer – tears you down
Satan – adversary
1 Chronicles 29:11-12, end of Lord's Prayer

March 12 – Thinking about Wholeness

I missed class!

March 19 – Thinking about Jesus' Power

Matthew 12:22-32, 38-40 [12:22-45]
The idea that Jesus must be a devil is interesting. We sometimes try tearing things down that we don't understand!
And, "another sign." But they never refuted the healings…
12:24 – Beelzebub was a Canaanite god, worshiped as the prince of the devils.
Jews did exorcisms.
If the Pharisees have to renounce Jesus, then they renounce themselves.
12:29 – sin is against something strong, against the HS.
HS convicts us of sin.
12:27 – Heart-in-Mouth!
*Only remaining sign is death and resurrection! "I AM GOD'S SIGN!"
12:42 – "Queen of the South" – unknown
our words tell people who we are. Christianity is the only cure for evil.
12:32 – tie up strong man – put him in bondage

March 26 – Thinking about Rewards

Matthew 19:16-20:16
Getting close to Jerusalem, "Last-minute teachings"
17b-18a "...keep the commandments." "But which ones?"...
there's only being a Christian, not better or worse. Heart life!
The you have, the harder it is
The less you have, the easier it is
It's all relative. It didn't take a lot to be rich in those days.
Matthew 19:28-30 – Share in campaign, share in victory.
You always get back more than you give.
¡Surprises! In God's Kingdom
day laborers – don't just see this as an allegory (20:1-16)
San Ysidro day laborers
20:8 – bailiff = man in charge
The last group still had faith that there was time!
19:30 – first / last
20:20 – last / first
righteousness is pride?
—> just worry about yourself, not about others <— *All God gives is grace!!!* Workday was from 6 – 6 Nobody wants to feel like they're on the outside (Pharisees, etc., us ).
"Not Fair" doesn't' fit into God's Kingdom
Marginal income: last workers produce most income for the owner
No partial salvation, but endless grace!!!
[Photo Caravan at Wild Animal Park]

Unit III. Fulfillment of Jesus' Mission

April 23 – The Guidance of the Word

"Last drama of Jesus' Life"
Going to Jerusalem was like an Islamic Hajj
No palm leaves! 21:8 – branches...cut from trees
v.7 – "and he took his seat on them" JB
Matthew 21:5 <— —> ZCH 9:9 <— —> Isaiah 62:11
Matthew wanted to fulfill the prophecy
*crowd is jubilant only in Matthew!!!*
Christianity later looked at this as a week of humiliation
Semitic = Arab or Israeli
King of Peace rode a donkey
Jesus was greeted as a pilgrim (like the others)
Jesus wanted to cleanse God's house (Temple)
Court of Women —> Court of Israelites —> Court of Priests —> Temple itself
Silver coins of Tyre – Temple coinage – well-minted and dependable
Shekel – no graven image
Best and also the hardest to obtain; it was like getting foreign $$$
Hong Kong $$ or U.S. $$
Different provinces have their own $$
Doing business wasn't the problem, greed was!
[Richard Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land]
—> Jesus never was comfortable in Jerusalem <— Jesus healed in the Temple – no greater blasphemy: Psalm 8:2 "If a child is afraid to play in a person's home, that person is no good." Jesus is #6 in Islam [Mona Lisa is small!]

April 30 – The Joy of Being Prepared

May 7 – The Death in Our Behalf

May 14 – The Basis of Our Authority

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