"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Matthew & JTMEE Notes

I think I will start recording some thoughts from the Gospel According to Matthew - things that stand out to me from those chapters. I recently finished John and used teachings that I recalled from that book while commenting on other blogs, but I've gotten the impression that John doesn't count since it's different from the synoptic gospels and "is the only one that says Jesus is God." So Matthew it is ... a good place to start since it begins the New Testament as compiled in the Bible.

So those notes will follow shortly.

However, I wanted to record a few more things from Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey. I've written a number of posts inspired by this wonderful book. It's 426 pages of rich cultural studies of Jesus' life and teachings. I am so glad Amazon.com suggested it for me! :-)

These are things that didn't make it to individual posts, but short notes from various chapters that I wanted to record nonetheless. I compiled these in a Gmail draft as I read through this book.
This is part 1 of 2.

From the chapter ...

"The Blind Man and Zacchaeus" -- "costly grace" and reaching out to both the oppressed and oppressor; Zacchaeus was considered unclean so for Jesus to stay at his house meant eating Z's defiled food and sleeping in Z's defiled guest bed yet for Jesus defilement came from within and He reached out in love towards this man who had oppressed his community and Jesus took upon the crowd's anger by doing so -- and Zacchaeus was changed!

I love how Jesus' willingness to show grace and love changed Zacchaeus' life!

"The Call of Peter" -- Jesus needed Peter to help Him, needed Peter's skill as a experienced fisherman; also note that "this account does not take place in a synagogue with a hushed crowd listening to an eloquent exposition of a favorite psalm. Instead, the crowd presses around Jesus on a smelly landing with tired fishermen nearby cleaning their empty nets after a long, fruitless night. Jesus enters the world of the people rather than expecting them to step out of that world and come to him." (pg. 139)

I love that last line. It's so true of Jesus. He was both in the synagogues and out among the people meeting them where they were.

"The Inauguration of Jesus' Ministry" -- Jesus "refused to endorse the narrow nationalism of his own community," "the universality of the message is affirmed" (both Jews and Gentiles are recipients of grace), "equality between women and men in the kingdom is clearly affirmed" and more. This is based on Jesus' speech recorded in Luke 4:16-31.

Just plain good stuff!

"The Woman in the House of Simon the Pharisee" -- I enjoyed the notes on feet and women's hair in that culture. How feet were considered defiled (see footnote on pg. 246) and how women's hair was viewed. It made me appreciate what this lady did by washing Jesus' feet with her tears and hair and touching him. It also made me appreciate the compassion of Jesus who could have further made her into an outcast by reprimanding her for such appalling behavior. Pages 248-250 speak of women's hair and how it was viewed and continues to be viewed in conservative societies. Wonderful chapter!

I remember enjoying this chapter incredibly much!

"The Parable of the Great Banquet" -- "The obedient servant becomes a witness for his master and takes the invitation to the outcasts. This action on his part widens his vision and excites him. In the process he notes the empty tables and starts to fill them. His participation as a messenger of the generous invitation creates its own new vision and the will to participate in fulfilling it." pg. 320

I love the reminder of how the one giving the banquet "reprocesses his anger into grace." pg.417

If you have any comments, questions or thoughts concerning anything shared, please let me hear them!


Wrestling said...

Whoops, is that a reference to something I've said about John? Sorry - I don't mean any offense!

The book I read by Sanders left John out as largely un-historical. But Ehrman is discussing John a bit more. None of this is my own view though... I still want to read all 4. :)

I enjoyed your quotes in this post. Definitely want to read the gospels soon!

Susanne said...

Sarah, it's not only you and it didn't offend AT ALL. In fact I thought of putting smiley faces in that section to show I meant it all lighthearted and good. :) I just want to investigate the other gospels since they differ from John (which I'd just read when we were talking on your blog.)

Maybe you can read and discuss Matthew with me. The chapters are not very long like a normal book generally. Regardless I hope you read my notes and make your own comments and counter-thoughts when I write my own.

You've "challenged" me to search more and that's GOOD for me!

Thanks for your comment, as always!


sanil said...

Very interesting notes. Thanks for sharing!

Carmen said...

Jesus enters the world of the people rather than expecting them to step out of that world and come to him." (pg. 139)

I LOVE this too!


I have to ask, are there really people who don't believe the book of John "counts"? Did I miss something? Hmm. I thought the Word of God was infallible.


I was just thinking last night how Jesus was so much more open and loving and concerned about women than the tone of the teachings that the Bible later takes. Even how The Church views women today.

I was thinking of the adulterous women He met. The one about to be stoned, the one at the well, the woman who interrupted Him teaching in the Synagogue because she wanted to be healed, the woman who washed Jesus' feet...WOW.

All of these situations, Jesus allowed these women to be close to Him, be seen with Him, and He spoke with them. Culturally and socially speaking, this was the wrong thing to do. It wasn't "protocol" ;P It wasn't acceptable but Jesus put aside what was the norm and met people where they were hurting.

I think we fail to be like Him to often and then make excuses for our behavior by hiding behind social norms or protocols or rules or expectations.

What an amazing man He was.

Wrestling said...

Good idea - I will read Matthew too and we can compare notes. Hopefully by the weekend I will have time to read it!

Susanne said...

Sanil, thanks for your comment!

Carmen, good to read your comment as always.

Well, not everyone believes the Bible is infallible or the Word of God. And some believe John is quite different than the other 3 and is the only one that shows Jesus as God. I thought I'd do a reading/study of Matthew and post notes on here. I hope you will join the reading and discussion. I'd love for everyone to feel free to do so. It will be a good chance to learn from each other.

I enjoyed what you wrote about Jesus and women. So you think the writings of Paul are more against women? I've heard others say that before, but I don't tend to agree personally. And I think I'm quite "feminist" so I don't say that lightly at all! I agree that the Church is more that way, however. As you said all those societal 'norms' and such.

Thanks much for your comments!

Sarah, that'd be great. I'm just studying the first three chapters currently. I hope you will feel free to add your comments, questions and concerns as we read through them together. :)

Looking forward to it!

Wrestling said...

According to historical-critical NT scholarship, Paul is not sexist at all! Apparently, 1 Corinthians 14:35-36 about women being silent in church was added by a later scribe - and they are very sure 1 Timothy was not written by Paul, which contains these choice verses: "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control." (2:11-15)

I feel very good about Paul knowing that his true view of women is the one reflected in Romans 16!

Susanne said...

Sarah, thanks for sharing that. I have always considered Paul pro-woman. I like him a lot and never understood people who thought he was sexist. I guess if they take those verses you mentioned, yes, but I just never had bad feelings about a man who mentioned women BY NAME who taught others and were helpful in the ministry. If he were sexist, it'd be all about men and no mention of women outside of existing to pleasure men and raise babies. Blah!

Carmen said...

I don't know that I have a negative view of Paul and women, I just think, generally speaking, the NT doesn't teach a whole lot, but that from cultural clues, we tend to see women weren't valued as much, nor were they important. That's not opinion, that's just how it was.

I guess my point was more that Jesus gave us a lot of examples of His interactions and that they don't line up with what was the usual in that time. That, I like.

My views on the verses about submission have been shaped by great teaching. I have no issues with submitting but I've also been taught those verses in the context of instruction being given to husbands AND wives, not just wives.

What men need most is respect. Women need to feel loved. I believe that's specifically why those verses address women submitting (and her husband feeling respect) and husbands being told to love their wives, as Christ loved the church. (He gave up His life).

It's quite fair, really. If the love my husband gives me is that selfless, why would I ever have an issue with submitting.

I don't begrudge Paul but I certainly don't think he understood marriage. I think Jesus spoke volumes about women through His actions no matter how few NT scriptures are about women.