Through the Bible, July 14

Reading: No scheduled reading

Thoughts and Reflections: With no reading scheduled for today you might want to catch up on reading if you’ve fallen behind. Otherwise, here are some thoughts taken from this previous weeks readings.

  1. Readily recognized is the fact that Matthew along with Mark and Luke are very similar in their approach to telling the story of Jesus. Much of the material regarding His life and ministry is repeated among these three yet also with definite differences.  Due to this fact, these three are referred to as the “Synoptic Gospels” (synoptic being a term meaning similar or “see together”).   Some people have seen this as problematic and hence a discussion of the “synoptic problem.”

I like to think of it this way: think of a large building with three individuals standing on three different sides of the building and each one is writing a description of it from their vantage point.  While each would describe many of the very same things (height, colors, textures, architectural styles, etc.), each would also have some different things to say than the others (lighting and shadows, relationship to other buildings on each side, perhaps features unique to that side of the structure, etc.).  In the same way three writers describing the same life and ministry but with unique audiences, emphases, and purposes in mind would result with many similarities yet some distinct differences.  I fail to see a problem.

  1. Modern readers of Matthew’s Gospel sometimes wonder at the arrangement of the material he presents. One possibility is the fact that the first recipients of this likely did not read it, but rather heard it being read.  Unlike our own times when written copies—and now even digital copies—are readily available, one of the writer’s goals was to be memorable, literally.  Grouping Jesus teachings together (as with the parables in chapter 13) and miracle accounts together and opposition accounts together aided in memory.

Devotional Thought:

Sometimes Association with Jesus Just Isn’t Right

Does it not seem that it would be right that when God worked in this world—the world He designed and made, the world over which He rules as sovereign Lord—that everything would go just right?  It would go smoothly, good and right would always prevail; you know, the good guys would always win?

It doesn’t work that way, does it?  Even with the life and ministry of Jesus, things did not always go well for those associated with Jesus.

Think about John the Baptist, the great forerunner of Jesus.  Here’s the man who fulfilled prophecy, the one who came in the spirit of Elijah, the one to whom throngs of people gathered in the wilderness to hear him preach and be baptized by him, the one who would “make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (Lk. 1:17). What happened to him?  Herod had him beheaded in prison (Matt. 14:10).

That hardly seems right.  And that’s because it’s not.  Remember when Jesus was born and Herod the Great (the father of the one who had John beheaded) in an effort eliminate this supposed threat (the one born “king of the Jews”) had the all the male children two-years-old and younger in the district of Bethlehem killed (Matt. 2:16)?  There’s nothing right about that either.

Yes, God is in control and He is Lord of heaven and earth, but He has allowed Satan to function in this world.  He has allowed for sin and wickedness to have their affect.  “We know that…the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).

God is right.  His way is right.  His will and word and Son are right.  This world—the one in which we live, the one that serves as our home in this physical, temporal life—is not right, nor should we expect it to be.

The time will come, though, when God will make all things right.

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