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!