Epistles of Thomas

September 21, 2008

Matthew 19-21

Filed under: New Testament — Thomas @ 21:57
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In chapter 19 Jesus once again talks about divorce (Mt 5:31) when he is asked by the Pharisees “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” There is some debate over whether “any and every reason” should be thought of as a reference to a scholarly debate or literally means “any reason whatsoever.” [David Instone-Brewer argues that it is the former]. Regardless of the source of their question Jesus’ answer seems very clear – Moses only permitted divorce because “your hearts were hard” and he appeals to the creation account as the source and character of marriage. Marriage was created by God to last a lifetime.

What is the price of perfection (19:21)? Is it different for each of us? 19:27 is a logical next question from Peter who has given up everything to follow Jesus. He is wondering what these treasures in heaven are. He is promised a spot among the judges of Israel. We are not among the 12 disciples but we are promised many good things. How do you respond to the parable of the workers in the vineyard? Is it fair that some worked all day and received the same daily wage as those who worked only an hour? Who determines fairness?

How did the disciples respond to Jesus’ pronouncement that “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave” (20:26f)? Do you think they began to compete to see who could serve the best?!? At 21:21 he promises that if they believe they can throw “this mountain” into the sea. Is this a different mountain? What’s his point? What is the way or righteousness (21:32)? Why were the prostitutes and tax collectors entering the kingdom before the religious leaders? What do these two groups represent? When the Pharisees and chief priests realised he was talking about them why was their response to arrest him rather than repent (21:45f)?

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