Dear Road Mappers,
Hello sweet loved ones. Thanks for your patience, it's been some crazy weeks on the other side of the world here! But nevertheless, let's get at it.
We've been going deeper into the gospel of Matthew and this week we will continue that! To begin let's read Matthew 11-13, this will take us through the third and fourth books of Matthew.
Going into the third book of Matthew: Hidden Revelation we will look at a few parables, healing on the Sabbath, and the conflict of John the Baptist.
TEACHING, CONTROVERSY, AND PARABLES
Controversy: chapter 11
The first controversy was between Jesus and John's disciples in 11:2-24. John the Baptist had been imprisoned by Herod because he rebuked Herod for violating the Torah(The Law, the first five books of Moses, Genesis-Deuteronomy) by marrying his sister-in-law. The advice Jesus gave John in 11:4-6, “...tell John what you see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” suggests that John must be content without a miracle of deliverance from prison.
A large part of understanding this gospel is understanding the four major Jewish sects:
- Middle-class separatists
- Lay theologians
- The Pharisees upheld both the Oral and the Written Torah
- They were closely allied with the scribes(the copiers of the spoken words of people)
- And they were linked with the synagogues
- They set high value on apocalyptic literature
- Thought that the priesthood was corrupt and saw themselves as the true Israel in exile
- Upper-class and mostly priests
- They upheld the importance and all in all supremacy of the written Torah
- They were the primary influence on the Sanhedrin(the ancient Jewish court system, an assembly of men) and the second temple
- They didn't believe in the resurrection and angels
- They were known as 'Freedom-Fighters'
- They upheld the Maccabean idealism
- They stood against and opposed Rome in an act of respect and obedience to the Torah, or “Zeal for the Torah”
- A main part in the first and second Jewish revolts
In the beginning of chapter 12, we see controversy of Jesus healing on the Sabbath, before getting weary or frustrated why people would get mad at Jesus for healing on the Sabbath we must gain a better understanding of what the Sabbath meant to the original readers of Matthew.
The heart of the Sabbath:
- The Torah(written law)
- The five books of Moses
- The Torah was the oldest and the most sacred part of the Holy Scriptures
- When Jesus says, 'it is written' he is referring to The Torah(for example: 4:4, 7, 10 and many more scriptures)
- The Halakah(oral tradition)
- Halakah was derived from the Hebrew word for “to walk”
- The Halakah was believed to be from God but not included in The Torah
- The Sabbath regulations and rules typically fell into this category rather than The Torah itself
With this being said, Jesus fully supported The Torah, but he rejected the Halakah and counted it as non-binding human tradition, and not of The Torah.
- Jesus defended his disciples' breaking the Halakah by referring to irregularities of David and the priests(12:3-5; 1 Samuel 21:3-6, Numbers 28:9-10)
- Jesus appealed to the prophet Hosea, saying that God desired mercy and not tradition or ritual(12:7; Hosea 6:6)
- He gave himself the very distinguished title of “Lord of The Sabbath”(12:8)
- Jesus then declared it was lawful to “do good” on the Sabbath(12:12)
Jesus the Servant: 12:15-21
Matthew refers to a passage in Isaiah 42:1-4 here, speaking of one of the fulfillment’s of Jesus in a paraphrase. In Isaiah the Servant is at both times: “the whole” and “the one.” This was a big deal in Judaism, the relationship between the Servant and the Messiah: because both are seen to have the role of restoring broken relationships between Israel and God(Isaiah 49:5-6). However, we see in Isaiah that the suffering of Servant was not linked to atonement sufferings of the Messiah. Jesus and the disciples had to make this link clear to people. We have two persons to compare:
Reigning in Power
Son of God
The people had two different ideas of people: a Servant and a Messiah. One point that needed to be made was that these two were to be one: The Servant Messiah. To open the eyes of the people to see that Jesus was indeed both.
Here the controversy about Beelzebul brings up questions about the unforgivable sin: blaspheming the Holy Spirit(12:30-32). This is the act of rejecting the source of forgiveness while willingly and knowingly hardening your own heart toward God.
The “sign of Jonah” brought up a question about sign-seeking as not good enough ground for true faith(12:38-39).
When Jesus' family attempted to remove him it raised the question of natural(physical) ties versus spiritual ties(12:46-50).
The seven parables in this chapter have a focus on the kingdom and what God's rule will look like. Jesus taught that God's reign will look extremely different that what was commonly expected and popular among the people.
- Rather than in an apocalyptic burst, the kingdom will come gradually (Mustard Seed and Yeast)
- It will involve personal choice (Sower) and deep commitment (Hidden Treasure and Pearl)
- In the end, God would separate out of his kingdom those who do not belong (Weeds and Dragnet)
Some of these parables are even explained in the chapter as well, but the main point to remember is the kingdom to come and what it will actually look like. Jesus gives us an idea here.
That's it as far as the text goes this week.
Take your journal, write notes, write pictures God gives you, and ask questions.
Soon we will come to more practical ways to apply this to our lives!
Have any ideas already?
Share them! With me, with your friends, your family, or 29:11!
We always want to live out what we learn of God.
I pray that new revelations of Him will come up this week, for each and every one of you.
Much love and blessing,
All the glory to Him,
Forever and ever,