2:1-12 – recognizing in small things great potential – do we do that? Not even Christians!
3:10-11 – the passage (one of them) Ivan alerted me to that was instrumental in turning my life upside down.
3:12 – wheat and chaff – the things that are life-giving and touch on reality are all that concerned Christ – the rest is only for fanning away! Oh for that breeze that sorts and edits, that spirit that discerns reality and truth – in the church.
3:13-17 – baptism of Jesus seems to shift the emphasis from that of repentance and forgiveness to dedication to aspirations and ideals and demands of a new life of righteousness. The former is there, but its significance would depend greatly on the individual's sense of guilt and how much of it had already been worked through etc. Christ might also have been acutely aware of his involvement in the social sin we are all caught up in – and that's whether or not personal/individual sin was involved. Was this a departure from and dissociation from the communal sin we are involved in – at least in spirit and intent? How does that relate to us and our use of baptism? Our intent? Our dedication? Heart, soul, mind, and strength? Etc.
4:4 – socio-economic reform and solutions still fail to satisfy man's deepest needs. Choose to respond by giving and living that word that truly satisfies – do we?
4:5-7 – watch – don't deliberately violate his laws and thereby test him.
4:23 – teaching, and preaching and curing – his three gifts? Limited himself to very small task – known throughout.
5:4 – sorrowful – peculiarity sensitive to the distress caused by personal and collective sin – greed, envy, etc. tie in with 3:13-17 baptism?
5:4 – comfort – "call to the side of" – God who accepts, forgives and offers the realm of justice and truth and immortal life. Ours is to proclaim the good news that he desires man's presence.
5:5 – here he dares to state that the world will ultimately be peopled by people exemplifying his spirit – meekness versus pride.
5:6 – the blessedness of an unfulfilled aspiration! It's the intent of life that's of supreme importance in God's eyes. Here, that principle of humanity and equity – justice be spread in the life on this earth.
5:7 – response to tragedy and pain is important. To run, to isolate oneself, or to enter in with compassion and respond to the needs? The latter course is mercy in action – it is blessed.
5:8 – in the Old Testament, heart equals total personality (one third of the time), a few times emotional side of personality, the bulk of the time (two thirds) intellectual and volitional – here total personality – purity, integrity, absence of low aims, singleness of purpose – they see God whenever he manifests himself in life.
5:9 – peacemakers have the above characteristics; is a reconciler as Christ was; seeks to create harmony in all parts of life – these get the privileges of Sonship in God's family. Blessed!
5:12 – reward – much in excess of the "value" of our "deserving" – we treat our "reward" as a "right"!
5:12 – rejoice – the prophets were a joyful band!
5:22-40 – pay up your debts etc. to make for a smooth running society
2:16 – "up to two years" Jesus likely two years or so when this happened? (IB)
3:6 – they came to John the Baptist – way out in the sticks – to confess their sins – that's a thought-provoking statement.
3:8 – fruit of repentance – it should show, not just be so many claims and forms.
3:12 – the church didn't drop the baptism with water when it received the Holy Spirit – the water became a symbol of the baptism by the Holy Spirit this increasingly raises questions for me:
- maintain Child baptism?
- Insist on adult water baptism?
- Insist on, and work on, baptism of the Holy Spirit and make other secondary?
- What did Christ intend?
3:15 – "conform to what God requires" – a theme in Matthew – to what extent is this portrayed as part of a polemical twisting by his philosophy – obedience to the law etc.?
5:39 – overcome evil with good – take the offensive.
5:43 –Agape – God loves us in this way – works for our benefit – but not necessarily philos? That disturbs me – God may not be all that fussy about us in some senses, but he cares for us – at once overwhelming and discomforting.
4:12 – Jesus started after John was arrested – was there a split between these two and did he stay quiet until John was often scene? Where do John's questions from prison fit in? Did John abhor Jesus association with sinners and outcasts?
4:15 – "heathen Galilee" – Matthew's Gospel ends with the launching of mission to the whole world, but for now it is to the Jews.
4:17 – "is at hand", is so near that signs of it are cropping up already – not yet completely under God's rule, but it's very close. Signs of it found in Christ's life and work.
4:18 – in John we see that they had met through John the Baptist – was there a break and then re-association after John the Baptist was out of the scene? – they followed him.
4:23 – teaching – done mostly in the synagogues – inside the Jewish institutions of the day.
5:1 – on the mountain – to get away with his disciples not to gain a vantage point! There is a time for retreats. Not called a sermon, drawn from "Q." and "M." material.
5:4 – blessed – who bewail the present state of God's kingdom – shall be comforted by his kingdom coming – regarding question raised in the church.
5:13f – salt and light – first spoken to Jewish church – be "a light to the Gentiles" a rebuke – he in context of the church.
5:18 – originally perhaps a statement of irony to the Jews who would rather that heaven and earth pass away before the law gets altered.
5:21f – anger – violation of God's will for man (which is "reconciliation"). The parable is an example – he reconciled on the way to his court!
5:33f – "vows" are to God, "oaths "are to men.
5:38f – good taking the offensive and overcoming evil, not the negative passive resistance – be creative! Challenge by grace not retaliation. "Give freely to those who beg/borrow" is also of the same spirit – overwhelm with love. Ultimate standard of obedience is in joining with God in spirit and task – pouring rain and sun on all regardless of their moral worth.
6:12 – debts – forgiveness for breaking obligations and shirking responsibilities.
6:13 – deliverance from the time of testing just prior to the end of the world that we are to pray to be spared – one theory – it doesn't ring true.
6:24f – our concentration on material things is a cop-out from dealing with persons (____?) Especially women.
7:24 – but what of a man that... back to the problem of radical obedience – which here connects with the problem of hypocrisy.
6:19f – I bet it works – but who has the guts to let go?
6:28 – i.e. "is life to be fulfilled with concern over the length of it here?" – and yet how much concern that takes up.
8:7f – authority – understood and implemented.
8:13 – be it done for you as you have believed – our faith has the same effect (?) "Moving Mountains" – he says such to us.
8:8-13 – we can bring such a lot of things that are sick and broken to Christ and ask him to heal – "Lord heal my sick Union" – "be it done for you as you have believed".
7:4 – "then you will see to..." ones who take the board out (have God take it out) can see to take it out – they understand.
8:17 – our need today – drive out the demons that are holding sway in our world – what the world is calling out for and what we as church has to give – if we will – drove them out with a word. It's not that the very thing we tend to withhold as reverse hypocrites who desire to blend with the world.
8:20 – "Son of Man" – these may be impressive tricks, but I am a man. And those who fallow will bring in the kingdom – they will resemble "a man" not "the beast" which amply describes current political entities.
8:18-22 – the first of the volunteers – as we are – but then as he did, we back off the obligations of discipleship and try to be "stay-at-home" Christians.
8:22-7 – "explanations" – disciples as dupes and Jesus as a fraud. God's authority at work through Jesus (_____? One lots of things) – we're to work under such authority.
– we tend to play awfully easy with an awful lot of power – we have a lot of gall! When we see electronics people working with high-voltage – the work is characterized by extreme care – when we see Christians play with the spiritual power of God, it is characterized by extreme carelessness. Not in the sense of animistic "power" and ways of dealing with it – just in a overabundance of self-confidence in the face of the Almighty. We abuse his love!
8:33 – why did they reject him? – economic loss of the pigs? Fear of power which we play so loose with that we don't even know enough to be frightened? Did they prefer economic well-being over "demon possession" of the two men?
9:2 – "are forgiven" – announces God's forgiveness rather than forgiving himself – but that implies invoking God's authority – hence its blasphemy! Yet we figure that's the least we can do – share the good news.
9:2 – "saw their faith" in bringing the sick to Christ – as with us and our faith? Who do we bring?
9:2-8 – forgiveness as connected with health – we would prefer to "treat" the symptoms and physical side of disease and forget the spiritual part of man and even when dealing with man's nonphysical side, so often we prefer to leave God and his forgiveness out of it – see also Tillich’s "forgetting and remembering" – and God's use of both.
9:13 – "I don't need God, I got all this faith", "I don't need God, look how good I am already" – both are pretty self-satisfied and certain, and both have missed the boat.
7:15 – "false teachers" regarding teaching in schools – can have some application where concerning truth.
7:21f – words to the minister – doing God's work and being seen as such, and yet not really being about God's business – and words to the entire church – Church connection with sheep/wolves as leaders.
7:28 – the____? Would____? His____? And reality. (Hard to read the writing)
8:9 – I too am under authority – both are under authority and give orders (have authority) – a comparison not a contrast (as suggested by Abington commentary).
9:36 – does the sight of the plight of people move us to pity and response, or to condemnation and rejection? People are to belong to the flock, under the Shepherd – which they (in this scene as in much of life) do not have – "harassed and helpless". He needs co-workers (change image to harvest) – [collection time in the church: "sheep shearing time"!]
10:5 – lost sheep – slack Jews whom the in-group wrote off – we do this too, the group on the fringe "not worth bothering about". Does his formula for attack on this group apply to our approach to the fringe?
10:7 – actions and words – do what Christ was already doing – a good summary here. The actions indicate the means of God's reign.
10:15 – corporate rejection and the judgment – just be done with them and let God deal with them – homes, towns.
10:20 – the Spirit speaking in you – if from the age when arrests were part of Christian life, all the more powerful!
10:26 – all appearances deceive for the present only – you're on solid ground in what I teach (when you do and say it) but all else is off base – hang in and don't let men deceive you – you bet your life.
10:27 – tantalizing – you must repeat in broad daylight... what you heard in the dark. Whispered... shout. It smacks of meaning but only part clicks in – the first, and I don't do it.
9:14f – note that Jesus takes the initiative, versus Peter asking that he heal her.
8:25 (9?) – "Lord, we are sinking", the cry of the country church... then they sink.
8:34 (9?) – one hardship in dealing as "Christian" in the world is the economic loss involved – tough for us all. Do we have the same reaction to Christ?
10:37 – discipleship will cause conflicts in family life – especially in Hebrew life where family life is so central. "Life" itself cannot take that central role in our values, important as it is – what demands!
10:40f – the response of the world to Christ and to his followers cannot be separated – either way!
11:2f – John expects a judgmental Christ – Christ portrays a redemptive role – (in many ways) cf. John 3:16, 17. Yet we pick up the judgment in following Christ, not so much the redemptive. Christ seems to have known what John's hang-up was!
9:2f – "their faith" similar to the officer asking on behalf of the kid at home.
9:13 – regarding – tie up good teachers etc. in administration etc. versus letting them get involved.
11:20 – the same for our towns and cities – we have much preaching and many miraculous things in the way of redemptive acts – and still hostility and rejection! Christ is having the same trouble today.
11:25f – poor in spirit. Cf. the attitude against the "in group of ________ (withheld)" and those who copout by pleading ignorance.
12:19 – Quiet personal approach, helping the stumbling, not snuffing them out.
12:20b, 21 – "until he leads justice on to victory" a tantalizing tidbit – the nations shall put their hope in him – cf. Micah – "do justice".
12:28 – when demons out, the kingdom of God has been established in that part – but cf. later (verse 43) where the people didn't take God in and mature in that relationship, leaving a tidy void!
12:29 – Satan is in control the world, Christ's task is to bind him resulting in the fullness of God's power eventually.
12:31f – there should be no problem in discerning the active agent in any works!
12:38f – don't seek signs, heed the message! Jonah socked it to them without a sign – likewise here – Jesus Christ has greater message and wisdom – take heed! Cf. ______ (withheld) prayer group and signs of the coming of the Spirit.
12:43 – here applied to Israel – likely personal at first and Matthew used it differently.
12:46-50 – here redefines the ultimate relationship – those seeking to do God's will – more enduring and more important.
10:1 – go – skip the talk and hit the action.
13:1f – much seed planting will be wasted effort but what does "take" will be multiplied many fold beyond all expectation – and makes the wasted effort seem insignificant – so true in God's realm.
13:24 – better – "it is with the kingdom of God as it is with this incident:"
11:2f – the place of rewards – if Jesus wasn't judgmental enough for John – things are to sustain life not a reward for good guys – rain falls on the good and the bad – we join John's view of Messiahship if we take the reward system (?). A stumbling block (?).
11:17 – playing wedding/funeral
11:19 – wisdom – seeing the world as God sees, not as people see.
13:41 – according to Matthew – the kingdom of the son is the church (versus the kingdom of the father equals the new age) and is a mixture of good and bad – it's not the church's job to sort that out – Christ will do it in the end.
13:42, 43 – but who will stand on that day but by the forgiving love of God?
13:44 – for sheer joy – the fruit of the Spirit is... joy. And as a result all else takes second place – supreme value lies in being part of the kingdom of God.
13:47f – again – there's a mixture in the church – and will be till the last day.
13:52 – even Matthew is a way ahead of most of us preacher-types – we just draw so much from the old stories – so little from the new – "become a learner in the kingdom of heaven – all people?
13:54-8 – seeing only the material and not the spiritual part of life is a chronic problem because we "think and believe" we know all there is to know in familiarity. Do we do this to those around us, and fail to see the hand of God in the activities of people?
11:25-30 – Christ's self-portrait.
12:14 – they are plotting a man's demise – Christ is planning a man's health – which is better?
14:13 – he withdrew privately on hearing of his cousins murder – forewarned of his own fate? Mourning? Feeling the need for a still small voice?
15:6 and 9 – out of respect for your tradition – our tradition is secondary to life and Scripture and the Spirit – yet we tend to make it primary. Lip service and heart service, vane worship, commandments of men – "doctrines" only. Cf. comments of _____ at _______ (withheld) – "sacrilege" to eat prior to communion – he did take water as a boy prior to first communion – resulted in guilt – "sacrilege" is really in changing a commandment of men into the preached gospel of life.
15:13 – then what's the relation of this to the wheat and tares type of thing? "Leave them alone" ignore them? A critique of institutions originally not a polemic against.
15:12 – every minister gets it from the flock!
15:19f –... but if your heart is there? Many today put some from this list in the "hand-washing" category – who's to say?
15:21f – the sacrament of the inconvenient. God speaks to Christ? The mission is to be extended to wherever it encounters faith.
16:3 – signs of the times – God is already beginning the in-breaking of the new age – signs are apparent!
13:24 – the days before crop-dusting!
14:3 – nowadays the clergy wouldn't do much about Harrod’s action – or perhaps would as a public figure but don't do it regarding the ordinary citizen.
14:9 – so common today – face-saving.
14:13 – he – alone – does he identify with John's death and bring home the reality of his own future?
– they – to him – response to grief – public grief – their presence confirm his own new public prominence
14:22 – disciples sent away to keep from picking up the crowds feelings about making him King.
14:22f – good regarding trust in Christ.
15:31 – rejoicing and dancing – "how long did that last?"
– Lose perspective? Temporarily? How about our stability? "Straight as telegraph poles and just about as attractive"
– in suffering and guilt etc. what do you know about life? – cf. Jesus struggle with sorrow Phoenician woman above.
16:19 – "heaven-type-bound things" we will bind.
16:17 and 23 – Peter on and off track – morally on an intellectually off – the latter can and will change with growth – the former is important.
16:13 – all strong stalwart people – he identifies with the suffering servant. He came across to others as "strong" in that role – not wishy-washy – gossip about Jesus!
16:18 and 23 – rock to build and stone to stumble.
17:1f – precedes Peter’s confession?
17:14 – must be a nuisance of an affliction.
17:27 – a humorous way of telling Peter to go fishing to pay the tax?
18:12f Cf. ________ (withheld): "the pubs belong to the devil".
18:15 – if only we would do that!
18:23f – we involve others in the consequences of our own sin/forgiveness – when we respond to them.
19:1 and 2 – leaving home – hard situation faced – do we?
19:16f – note his humility
– follow me – he sees some good in him which is foiled by the place of riches in his life, and becoming a problem for the young man.
19:25 – saved by grace – we all are.
19:27 – what am I going to get out of it? – typical ()
20:1-16 – "pay" or reward is not earned it's given as a gift. ()
– how we see ourselves in term of dollar worth – cf. women working/volunteer ()
– owner of the vineyard has no say anymore! ()
20:17f – service is what it's about – life-giving, literally and figuratively – all people.
21:21 – bush small, mountain large – all in the realm of the possibility of faith.
21:29 – cf. the road to hell is paid with good intentions.
21:33f – an attempt to save them from their own folly (crowd not accused here)
22:1 – no permanence without our continuing presence in spirit cf. Jehovah Witness emphasis.
22:5-6 – reasons not sins, but misplaced priorities in life – not a joyful banquet.
22:16 – flattery but what it says about Christ – and then he follows up with such a good answer.
22:15f – destructive or constructive questioning in dialogue – cf. in politics, economics, religious questions – from a position of assumed superiority.
22:21 – not always utter/or sometimes both/and perspective again.
22:15-22 and 23-33 – both groups come with wild self-confidence – none of the groups really stays to ask another. They don't even look for defence ahead of time because they are in offensive position. Cf. some social action projects!
22:32 – God is the God of the living both here and hereafter.
22:41f – the Lord of David not the son. Puts a hole in.
Chapter 23 – the problem of mixed motivations
23:23 – tithe 10% the pickles in your cupboard but neglect the weightier matters of the law.
23:27 – morality wipes out the need for ceremonial – cf. animism.
23:29f –tomb raising a poor type of memorial – better to live and emulate the valuable characteristics.
23:37f – "Jerusalem, Jerusalem " – the fate of towns and countries not just individuals.
24:27 – like lightning – seen all over at once will be his coming.
24:42ff – watch and care.
25:1 – lurching from crisis to crisis
25:14f – stress on using our gifts. Indifference of the moderately endowed man is majority of church people.
26:5, six – note the contrast in reactions.
26:13 – 'tis done for living versus for the dead – celebrate and point out while the guy is still alive.
27:6f – not wrong to use money from the church to corrupt Judas, but it is okay to use blood-money!
27:23 – the crowd – not a lone voice.
27:35 – the gamblers above and below.
28:8 – badly frightened – but his living presence, not a missing body, convinced them. Empty tomb really overplayed, maybe from a legend or a mistake – wrong to them?
28:19 – baptized into not in (in Greek language).
28:18 – doubt mixed with assurance of his presence – still today – very operative.
[A series of notes on church leadership from another source]
[8:34 – [extra page – later note] – just like Westman – try to remove the sick spirit Inhabiting some people which is interfering with the normal comings and goings of people (they avoid the place!) And if the results interfere with the pet activity of one of their people they say "take a hike", we'd rather be as we were... but he did leave them with no sick spirit... there's a difference! – post 1985]
[That is not quite true – I heard later that that the net result of the heave-ho was a general settling down of people around the place – it marked the end of the "pioneer stage" of the company, and the dominance of the "settlers" – glad to be of service – grin – October/2011]