By John Loum Introduction In general, you find that in Middle Eastern and African cultures food quite often is used in a time for fellowship, a symbol of hospitality and the welcome of a stranger. In our text, though, we see how the devil uses food to advance his attack on Jesus; something he thought ..
By David L. Adams The Text as Text The text is in overall good condition, and the few substantive issues do not materially affect the overall interpretation of the passage. In verse 25 the words “or what you will drink” are of questionable authenticity (but cf. v. 31 where they are clearly original). Similarly, in ..
By William Utech Matthew wanted his Jewish readers to know and believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah and therefore shows him fulfilling Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus is portrayed as the climax of God’s grace to his people and to the world. This grace is complete and universal. For example, four non-Israelite women are included ..
By Wally Becker This passage is part of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5 through 7. Although, at first glance, the verses in our text appear to be totally law, they need to be seen in the greater context of the life of a Christian—living in response to the gospel. Jesus is not describing ..
by Jeffrey A. Gibbs The Text’s Limits: A Strong Suggestion Although the lectionary has put together 5:13–16 and 5:17–20, I would strongly suggest separating them. A very solid case can be made for the view that 5:13–16 adhere closely to the Beatitudes (5:3–12). On the other hand, 5:17–20 introduce a new and significant topic in ..
by Tom Egger In this pericope, Jesus is proclaiming the blessings of his reign to those gathered around him on the mountain. His words address a repentant, lowly people with the assurance of God’s presence and reign over them (in Jesus: Immanuel) and the promise of eschatological blessings. These blessings which are yet to come ..
by Bruce M. Hartung How rich can a text be? How many options can one text give a preacher? The richness of options is almost overwhelming as God speaks to us as preachers and to his people. Following his temptation, Jesus begins his Galilean ministry. In summary and rapid-fire form, Matthew ushers in Jesus’s work. ..
by Bruce Schuchard Because They Have Seen? Seeing is believing. Or so the saying goes. In the gospel of John, however, there is much to be said for the suggestion that what the gospel is meaning to extol is hearing not seeing. If one is to see what only the mind and the heart—what only ..
by Dale A. Meyer Still Waters Run Deep Introduction: Over time you get to know some people well enough to know how they’ll react. You have a good idea how friends, family, and co-workers will react in certain situations. Some people you know keep a calm composure on the outside but inside are deeply intense. ..
by William W. Schumacher So soon after the sometimes sentimental scenes of the infant Jesus we cherish at Christmas, this unique account of Jesus as a twelve-year-old boy accelerates us toward the mature ministry of the Savior. The sense of leaving infancy behind and jumping ahead toward Jesus’s mission is integral to the text (rather ..
by Travis J. Scholl Talk about good news, bad news. The day after Christmas (“On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”), and already the evangelist has swept up the holy family to Egypt, and Herod is massacring the innocents of Bethlehem. Of course, as much as the news might wake ..
by Paul Robinson We were driving home from a Wednesday evening Advent service when my three-year-old daughter announced from her car seat, “I’m afraid of angels.” Her mother and I, in mild shock that our daughter should express such a sentiment, asked, “Why are you afraid of angels?” “I’m afraid they’ll talk to me,” she ..
by Jeffrey A. Kloha Textual Notes Two phrases are problematic in this text. First, Jesus seems to diminish John in verse 11. So who is the “greatest?” Greatness in the kingdom is the opposite of what is considered greatness outside of it. The greatest are those who serve (Mt 20:26; 23:11) but above all—directly answering ..
by Jeffrey A. Gibbs Historically Specific Theology Matthew begins by writing, “and in those days.” Recalling that chapter divisions are later additions and (sometimes) unhelpful, I would encourage the following understanding: there is no “break” between chapters 2 and 3. Even though we know that there is a gap of several decades, Matthew’s narrative flows ..
by Travis J. Scholl Socrates summed up the first principle of philosophers everywhere: to know that we don’t know. And perhaps the “not knowing” is what makes the future so maddening. Everything about it is unknown. Except for this: “… your Lord is coming” (v. 42). Yet, even then, despite the prognostications of a thousand, ..