Post covers readings of chapters Matthew 13-17
We start out with the Picnic’s – or as they are presented, the feeding of the 5000 and 4000. Obviously Jesus had a lot to teach the crowds who followed Him. Sometimes the crowds stayed as long as 3 days.[13:32] Matthew is the only Gospel that has two events of feeding the crowds. Some have tried to make this an anomaly and that there was only one occasion where the crowds were fed. We must remember not every witness has the same perspective, or details about a certain time frame. When we look at Matthew and the three times concern over food is brought up, we get the point that the disciples really didn’t understand, especially when Jesus talks about “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees” they take it that Jesus is talking about how that they for the third time did not bring anything to eat. [16:5-12] While I think that it is great to recount the events of feeding the multitude, we miss much of the meaning if we don’t include the Syro-Phoenician woman [a gentile woman], and her request for “crumbs off the table” – Jesus appears to be very insensitive towards the woman’s request to heal her daughter. [15:21-28] When we think that there was so much left over after each multitude feeding, why in this case would Jesus refuse to “feed her soul, need?” Jesus instructed the disciples to only go to the “house of Israel” with the Gospel. We know that the Jews for the most part rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Here this woman, as she understood her position as less than nothing, begged for the crumbs from the table. I think that Jesus saw in her the humility and brokenness that the Faith Displayed – compelled him to heal her. Again why is it that those whom Jesus came to “received Him not” [John 1:11] yet so many non-Jews saw Jesus as the Messiah He was?
Jesus taught in parables about the Kingdom of Heaven in chapter 13. The various similes identify those who will be in the Kingdom, and those that will not. Often we think that every member of a church will be in the Kingdom, not so – the parable of the Tares is a classic example of how Weeds and Seeds will mixed together in life until God separates them at the last judgment. In the parables the disciples have to keep asking Jesus what their meaning is all about. [He also tells them not to speak of the things they saw at His transfiguration – obviously the disciples while they were privileged to see – they lacked depth of understanding. The Kingdom is compared to a mustard seed that starts very small and when fully grown, is massive – the seed of faith is meant to grow in the believer. The parable of the pearl and treasure indicate the extreme value of the Kingdom. One would sell all they had to obtain it, the Kingdom is not valued very much today, for people have even denied their faith like Esau, who found it to be of no value.
The parable about the casting net full of fish, shows that just as the tares had unacceptable/fruitless plants that must be separated from the true harvest, so there are bad fish and good fish. Just as the Tares were allowed to co-exist with the good harvest, so the bad [evil of this world] will be mixed in our time on earth. The angels will do the work of separating the good from the bad at the resurrections.
As a side note, it was a heart breaking read to find that Jesus could not do much in His own hometown because there was too much familiarity with Him as “the carpenter’s son.
The nemesis group of Pharisees are always looking for something to proved that Jesus is the Christ, this will change later, for then they will look to accuse Him. It had to be a tough assignment to be a Pharisee without Hope – Nicodemus had a religion but not a relationship. [John 3]
Finally, it is exam day – who do men say that I am? While all the answers given are laudatory, they are all dead guys. But who do you say I am? Peter is notorious for speaking before thinking – “Thou Art The Christ” – yeah!!! A for the day, but an F for not understanding what he said. Jesus could not be the Christ and miss the Cross. Peter had a rough day at school. But don’t we do the same thing sometimes, we have the answer, but the answer never impacted our thinking and way of life?