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Showing posts from January, 2015

Discipleship

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As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.  Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.  Matthew …

Wilderness

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Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  Matthew 4:1
Quick review: Matthew begins with a genealogy, the deep roots of Jesus' family tree, including people whose halos did not shine the brightest.  He moves on to shining a light on Joseph, Jesus' adoptive father, who swims against cultural and religious expectations by dismissing Mary quietly.  By doing that Joesph takes on the shame of a broken relationship, since people would assume the baby Mary carried was his and he was not taking responsibility.  For this Matthew calls him "righteous," which stretches our understanding of that word.  Then, we get visitors from the East, who knock on Herod's door, causing a nervous Herod to go into hyper mode when he hears that there is a "King of the Jews".  When the Wise Ones leave for home by a road that did not pass by Herod's palace, Herod inflicts infanticide on people, creating misery and pain and reminding us o…

That is what happened when the Wise Ones left??!

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Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”  When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under  Matthew 2:13-16
I am sure one of the reactions to reading the above passage is to question whether you want to keep reading this blog today.  "Gee thanks for this uplifting reminder."  Or maybe you never realized that after the Wise One's depart, King Herod, who was not the most emotionally stable king, let his rage and fear turn tow…

Matthew Review

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Where do you begin telling a great story?  Of course, you begin at the beginning.  But sometimes it can be hard to know where that beginning place is.  If I tell you about being born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that is my beginning.  But it is NOT the beginning of my parents relationship.  And my parents relationship is NOT the beginning of their life either.  They had a story before they met.  They have stories of dating and marrying and having my older brother before I was even a glimmer in their eye.  Beginnings matter.  Each of the four Gospels begin in a different way.  Mark jumps in with both feet and we are taken to the edge of the Jordan River with John the baptizer.  John gives one of the most beautiful poems that ties Jesus' life with the beginning of Creation.  Both Matthew and Luke decide to focus on Jesus' birth...each in their own unique ways.  Luke is the more familiar, the one quoted in the beloved Charlie Brown Christmas Special.  Matthew's version is a bit mo…

The Gospel of Matthew Overview

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Quick question, what is your history with the Gospel of Matthew?  For some reading this blog, you have images of Matthew being the one to tell us about the Wise Ones coming to visit Jesus or you might think of Matthew as being the gospel where parables end with people being "thrown into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth."  Such an uplifting way to end a story.  Or maybe you don't have any preconceived images of Matthew.  Perhaps it is not a book you've spent much time with in your life.
The church I serve is starting on a journey of reading Matthew and over the coming months I am going to make comments on passages that I am not preaching on in worship on this blog.  My hope and prayer is that over the coming months through sermons and posts you might become better acquainted with Matthew (who is depicted in the icon above through the imagination of an artist...while it is not a selfie, it is one way of giving Matthew a face).
Matthew is…