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Posts tagged ‘Way of God’

A Look of the Expositor Bible at The Ordeal of questions {Matthew 22:15-46 }

II —The Ordeal of questions. {#Mt 22:15-46 }

The open challenge has failed; but more subtle weapons may succeed. The Pharisees have found it of no avail to confront their enemy; but they may still be able to entangle Him. They will at all events try. They will spring upon Him some hard questions, of such a kind that, answering on the spur of the moment, He will be sure to compromise Himself.

1. The first shall be one of those semi-political semi-religious questions on which feeling is running high — the lawfulness or unlawfulness of paying tribute to Caesar. The old Pharisees who had challenged His authority keep in the background, that the sinister purpose of the question may not appear; but they are represented by some of their disciples who, coming fresh upon the scene and addressing Jesus m terms of respect and appreciation, may readily pass for guileless inquirers. They were accompanied by some Herodians, whose divergence of view on the point made it all the more natural that they should join with Pharisees in asking the question; for it might fairly be considered that they had been disputing with one another in regard to it, and had concluded to submit the question to His decision as to one who would be sure to know the truth and fearless to tell it. So together they come with the request:

“Master, we know that Thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest Thou for any man: for Thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest Thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?”

But they cannot impose upon Him:

“Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?”

Having thus unmasked them, without a moment’s hesitation He answers them. They had expected a “yes” or a “no”—a “yes” which would have set the people against Him, or better still a “no” which would have put Him at the mercy of the government. But, avoiding Scylla on the one hand, and Charybdis on the other, He makes straight for His goal by asking for a piece of coin and calling attention to Caesar’s stamp upon it. Those who use Caesar’s coin should not refuse to pay Caesar’s tribute; but, while the relation which with their own acquiescence they sustain to the Roman emperor implied corresponding obligations in the sphere it covered, this did not at all interfere with what is due to the King of kings and Lord of lords, in Whose image we all are made, and Whose superscription every one of us bears:

“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Thus He not only avoids the net they had spread for Him, and gives them the very best answer to their question, but, in doing so, He lays down a great principle of far-reaching application and permanent value respecting the difficult and much-to-be-vexed question as to the relations between Church and State. “O answer full of miracle!” as one had said. No wonder that

“when they had heard these words they marvelled, and left Him, and went their way.”

2. Next come forward certain Sadducees. That the Pharisees had an understanding with them also seems likely from what is said both in ver. 15, which seems a general introduction to the series of questions, and in ver. 34, from which it would appear that they were somewhere out of sight, waiting to hear the result of this new attack. Though the alliance seems a strange one, it is not the first time that common hostility to the Christ of God has drawn together the two great rival parties. {see #Mt 16:1 } If we are right in supposing them to be in combination now, it is a remarkable illustration of the deep hostility of the Pharisees that they should not only combine with the Sadducees against Him, as they had done before, but that they should look with complacency on their using against Him a weapon which threatened one of their own doctrines. For the object of the attack was to cast ridicule on the doctrine of the resurrection, which assuredly the Pharisees did not deny.

The difficulty they raise is of the same kind as those which are painfully familiar in these days, when men of coarse minds and fleshly imaginations show by their crude objections their incapacity even to think on spiritual themes. The case they supposed was one they knew He could not find fault with so far as this world was concerned, for everything was done in accordance with the letter of the law of Moses, the inference being that whatever confusion there was in it must belong to what they would call His figment of the resurrection:

“In the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.”

It is worthy of note that our Lord’s-answer is much less stern than in the former case. These men were not hypocrites. They were scornful, perhaps flippant; but they were not intentionally dishonest. The difficulty they felt was due to the coarseness of their minds, but it was a real difficulty to them. Our Lord accordingly gives them a kindly answer, not denouncing them, but calmly showing them where they are wrong:

“Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”

Ye know not the power of God, or ye would not suppose that the life to come, would be a mere repetition of the life that now is, with all its fleshly conditions the same as now. That there is continuity of life is of course implied in the very idea of resurrection, but true life resides not in the flesh, but in the spirit, and therefore the continuity will be a spiritual continuity; and the power of God will effect such changes on the body itself that it will rise out of its fleshly condition into a state of being like that of the angels of God. The thought is the same as that which was afterwards expanded by the apostle Paul in such passages as #Ro 8:5-11, 1Co 15:35-54.

Ye know not the Scriptures, or you would find in the writings of Moses from which you quote, and to which you attach supreme importance, evidence enough of the great doctrine you deny.

“Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?”

Here, again, Jesus not only answers the Sadducees, but puts the great and all-important doctrine of the life to come and the resurrection of the body on its deepest foundation. There are those who have expressed astonishment that He did not quote from some of the later prophets, where He could have found passages much clearer and more to the point: but not only was it desirable that, as they had based their question on Moses, He should give His answer from the same source; but in doing so He has put the great truth on a permanent and universal basis; for the argument rests not on the authority of Moses, nor, as some have supposed, upon the present tense “I am,” but on the relation between God and His people. The thought is that such a relation between mortal man and the eternal God as is implied in the declaration

“I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”

is itself a guarantee of immortality. Not for the spirit only, for it is not as spirits merely, but as men that we are taken into relation to the living God; and that relation, being of God, must share His immortality:

“God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

The thought is put in a very striking way in a well-known passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews:

“But now they the patriarchs desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.”

Our Lord’s answer suggests the best way of assuring ourselves of this glorious hope. Let God be real to us, and life and immortality will be real too. If we would escape the doubts of old Sadducee and new Agnostic, we must be much with God, and strengthen more and more the ties which bind us to Him.

3. The next attempt of the Pharisees is on an entirely new line. They have found that they cannot impose upon Him by sending pretended inquirers to question Him. But they have managed to lay their hands on a real inquirer now — one of themselves, a student of the law, who is exercised on a question much discussed, arid to which very different answers are given; they will suggest to him to carry his question to Jesus and see what He will say to it. That this was the real state of the case appears from the fuller account in St. Mark’s Gospel. When, then, St. Matthew speaks of him as asking Jesus a question, “tempting Him,” we are not to impute the same sinister motives as actuated those who sent him. He also was in a certain sense tempting Jesus — i.e., putting Him to the test, but with no sinister motive, with a real desire to find out the truth, and probably also to find out if this Jesus was one who could really help an inquirer after truth. In this spirit, then, he asks the question,

“Which is the great commandment in the law?”

The answer our Lord immediately gives is now so familiar that it is difficult to realise how great a thing it was to give it for the first time. True, He takes it from the Scriptures; but think what command of the Scriptures is involved in this prompt reply. The passages quoted lie far apart — the one in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, the other in the nineteenth of Leviticus in quite an obscure corner; and nowhere are they spoken of as the first and second commandments, nor indeed were they regarded as commandments in the usually understood sense of the word. When we consider all this we recognise what from one point of view might be called a miracle of genius, and from another a flash of inspiration, in the instantaneous selection of these two passages, and bringing them together so as to furnish a summary of the law and the prophets beyond all praise which the veriest unbeliever, if only he have a mind to appreciate that which is excellent, must recognise as worthy of being written in letters of light. That one short answer to a sudden question—asked indeed by a true man, but really sprung upon Him by His enemies who were watching for His halting—is of more value in morals than all the writings of all the ethical philosophers, from Socrates to Herbert Spencer.

It is now time to question the questioners. The opportunity is most favourable. They are gathered together to hear what He will say to their last attempt to entangle Him. Once more He has not only met the difficulty, but has done so in such a way as to make the truth on the subject in dispute shine with the very light of heaven. There could not, then, be a better opportunity of turning their thoughts in a direction which might lead them, if possible in spite of themselves, into the light of God.

The question Jesus asks (vv. 41-45) is undoubtedly a puzzling one for them; but it is no mere Scripture conundrum. The difficulty in which it lands them is one which, if only they would honestly face it, would be the means of removing the veil from their eyes, and leading them, ere it is too late, to welcome the Son of David come in the name of the Lord to save them. They fully accepted the psalm to which He referred as a psalm of David concerning the. Messiah. If, then, they would honestly read that psalm they would see that the Messiah when He comes must be, not a mere earthly monarch, as David was, but a heavenly monarch, one who should sit on the throne of God and bring into subjection the enemies of the kingdom of heaven. If only they would take their ideas of the Christ from the Scriptures which were their boast, they could not fail to see Him standing now before them. For we must remember that they had not only the words He spoke to guide them. They had before them the Messiah Himself, with the light of heaven in His eye, with the love of God in His face; and had they had any love for the light, they would have recognised Him then — they would have seen in Him, whom they had often heard of as David’s Son, the Lord of David, and therefore the Lord of the Temple, and the heavenly King of Israel. But they love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil: therefore their hearts remain unchanged, the eyes of their spirit unopened; they are only abashed and silenced:

“No man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”

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Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

Matthew 22:7-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Invitations after City’s Destruction

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 22:15-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Caesar’s Things and God’s Things

Matthew 22:23-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sadducees Question on the Resurrection

Matthew 22:29-33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Resurrection Proof from Moses

Matthew 22:34-40 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Which Is the Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:41-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus Asks a Trump Question

Additional readings to Matthew 22:41-46

A Look of the Expositor Bible at The Marriage Feast {Matthew 22:1-14 }

With child and righteousness greater than the law

The last few weeks in many denominations they looked at a time of remembrance of the coming on earth of the Messiah. At the end of the month many Christians use the birthday of the goddess of light and creation, to celebrate the birth of Christ (who was born in 4 bCE October 17) This birth is the beginning of the New World whereof the evangelist John is talking about when he looks at that new period like at the beginning of everything new, or the Bereshith (Bereshit or Bereishit), the Genesis. In the Genesis book by Moses you may find God Speaking and by speaking or uttering His Word, everything came into being. In the same way spoke God and the child came into being.

“In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (NWT) (John 1:1)

English: The story of the Eden Garden. The tem...

The story of the Eden Garden. The temptation of Adam & Eve by the devil. Pedestal of the statue of Madonna with Child, western portal (of the Virgin), of Notre-Dame de Paris, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Word, which was spoken before everything existed had also spoken in the Garden of Eden. That was a time long before Abraham. As such God His Word came unto the 1° Adam and promised to provide a solution for his misstep. Adam and Eve came to hear the first promise for their descendants. Later the Word of God would come to other offspring, who at their turn also told the world to look out for that Saviour or Messiah.

Not the evangelist John his work was placed first in the Books of the New Covenant. Matthew got the honour to open the New Testament. His account of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:18-25 has one primary concern: to establish the identity and mission of Jesus from the very beginning of his story. For the evangelist Matthew, who came to know the Nazarene Jeshua early in his public life, this special teacher no doubt is the Messiah or Christ (see Matthew 1:18), the agent of God who will establish God’s kingdom and save his people from their sins (see Matthew 1:21).

Lots of people do want to find a very special person and a very special story. Because they can not find that in the Bible they started creating several stories to make their evening of remembrance much greater.

"Annunciation", fresco (ca. 1371) by...

“Annunciation”, fresco (ca. 1371) by Jacopo di Cione (ca.1325-after 1390)(?), interior of the façade of the basilica of San Marco in Florence, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The evangelist Matthew brings a very human story involving a young couple: Joseph and Myriam or Miriam, by most English speaking people known as Mary (others know her as Maria, or Blessed Virgin Mary). Mary gets a message which may have been very strange for her and any other human being. The messenger of God, an angel pronounces that she has found great favour with God. We do find a simple village girl through whom God decides to work His plan of redemption.

“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,” (Luke 1:26 NIV)

“The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.” (Luke 1:28-29 NIV)

“And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34 ASV)

From the evangelist and apostle Matthew we come to know she got to know the workman Joseph and also in Luke is written:

“to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” (Luke 1:27 NIV)

“The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”” (Luke 1:28 NIV)

“18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:18-19 NIV)

Matthew grounds his lofty message about Jesus’ identity and mission as the Christ in the earthiness and complexities of human life. It doesn’t get much earthier than a pregnancy out of wedlock; put that together with the fact that the young couple had not yet had sex and you have the makings of a real potboiler. This young girl could be killed for what she got herself into. Regardless of the cost to her societally, she is willing to submit to God’s will for her life. For her the wrath of the Law and the weight of the village’s condemnation have no value opposite the message she got from a celestial being. Though she did not get stoned because most rabbis required a lesser penalty, including divorce and public shaming. The public shaming may have come over the fiancée of labourer Joseph who was still willing to take her as her bride.

Matthew portrays Joseph as a righteous man who confronted a significant dilemma. Him at first in love with this young Essene girl, had to face a very devote Jew who seemed to have been unfaithful to him. Most people usually understand the description of Joseph as “righteous” to mean that he was a good man, a kind man. But Joseph’s “righteousness” in this context has a specific meaning: it refers to Joseph’s thorough adherence to the law, the Torah. Joseph was also a devout, practising Jew. His decision to divorce Mary was the right one according to the law.

Matthew tells us that while Joseph had decided to sever his relationship with Mary, in accordance with the law and the custom of his time, he had decided to do this so “quietly,” evidently to reduce Mary’s public disgrace. Joseph had found a way to be faithful to the requirements of the law, but to do so in a respectful and sensitive manner. Joseph struck a remarkable balance between righteousness and compassion.

In the Torah were given many examples of how strange God’s ways might be for man. More than once appeared celestial beings to man to turn their coarse. This disappointed workman also came to hear an angel of God in a dream. Believing in the truth of his dream he abandoned adherence to the law by accepting the angel’s exhortation to take Mary as his wife. In this extraordinary situation, Joseph’s righteousness transcended the letter of the law. For Joseph, being righteous no longer meant blind, literal adherence to the Torah; the instruction from the angel trumped the law. The imminent arrival of Jesus somehow transformed the righteousness expected of Joseph. This is a theme that Jesus would articulate again and again later in this Gospel: there is a righteousness greater than the law.

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Preceding articles:

Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament

Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:26-38 – Gabriel’s Appearance to Mary

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

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Literature of interest:

  1. With God All Things Are Possible
  2. Message from the family tree in the Tanakh
  3. Why do we need a ransom?
  4. A promise given in the Garden of Eden
  5. The Seed Of The Woman Bruised
  6. Written to recognise the Promissed One
  7. OT prophesies and the NT fulfilment of them
  8. Prophets making excuses
  9. Belief of the things that God has promised
  10. About a man who changed history of humankind
  11. Which man is mentioned most often in the Bible? Jesus, Moses, Abraham or David?
  12. Together tasting a great promise
  13. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  14. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  15. Virgin Mary’s girdle
  16. The Gabriel Revelation Real or forgery
  17. Who was Jesus?
  18. Jesus and his God
  19. The Christ, the anointed of God
  20. Around pre-existence of Christ
  21. A season of gifts
  22. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  23. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  24. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  25. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  26. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  27. Jesus begotten Son of God #4 Promised Prophet and Saviour
  28. Jesus begotten Son of God #5 Apostle, High Priest and King
  29. Jesus begotten Son of God #6 Anointed Son of God, Adam and Abraham
  30. Jesus begotten Son of God #7 A matter of the Future
  31. Jesus begotten Son of God #8 Found Divinely Created not Incarnated
  32. Jesus begotten Son of God #9 Two millennia ago conceived or begotten
  33. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  34. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  35. Jesus begotten Son of God #15 Son of God Originating in Mary
  36. Jesus begotten Son of God #17 Adam, Eve, Mary and Christianity’s central figure
  37. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  38. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #14 Prayer #12 The other name
  39. God has visited His people
  40. Jesus spitting image of his father
  41. A man with an outstanding personality
  42. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  43. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  44. The Beginning of the life of Jesus Christ
  45. What Jesus did: First things first
  46. Servant of his Father
  47. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  48. A Messiah to die
  49. Impaled until death overtook him
  50. Cursed is the one hung on a tree
  51. Atonement and the race been bought
  52. Jesus three days in hell
  53. What Jesus Did – Misleading around the Messiah and the final assessment
  54. Christ having glory
  55. Words in the world
  56. Ignorance of Today’s Youth (and Adults)
  57. God or a god

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  • Be Thankful: 5 Things God Has Given Us We Should Thank Him For (authorbrianlknack.wordpress.com)
    Be Thankful God Gave Us Life  –  Not only did he breathe the breath of life into us that we might become a living soul but he has given us New Life in the New Covenant through the blood of His son Jesus! God put us here for a purpose and that purpose is to live for Him and experience the joy of His presence every day. For those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives God has also given to us the gift of Eternal Life in Him!
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    Because God loved us so much, He didn’t want us to continue to drift away from Him in our selfish, self-centered existence. He loved us so much that He gave us the gift of His Son, Jesus, to be the way back to Him. That gift is the best, most amazing, most expensive, most valuable gift ever given, and it was given to us. He loved us enough to give us Jesus.
  • Focus On God (christianmotivations.weebly.com)
    the Bible teaches us that the flesh (since we are all born in sin through the fall of Adam and Eve) is enmity against God.
  • The Tense of Life – Future Perfect (cerkas.wordpress.com)
    In truth, time is but a fabrication and rationalization of our minds in an attempt to avoid confusion and chaos.  Simply, time helps us comprehend our existence within the limits of our knowledge.
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    The true beauty of Christianity, however, is that by being born again via Baptism, we are cleansed from sin’s blemish on our soul and are blessed to have the opportunity to live this earthly life in God’s Light, striving to become like Him, understanding that at times, we will falter and sin.  And in the wisdom of our Creator, He provided a mechanism for us to redeem ourselves of sins via repentance, along with his Grace via forgiveness.
  • Why does God make a way for us to return to paradise? (christianitymatters.com)
    Because we are mostly focused on the negative, we think a lot about why things are bad and messed up in this world but we spend little time thinking about why God makes a way for us to return to paradise.
  • Found By Grace (ponderingtheheartofjesus.com)
    When people can’t talk about difficulties together, they tend to avoid just like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden when they realized they had sinned against God.
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    Have you trusted in the mediator Jesus as your Savior from the wages of sin? God is pursuing you and inviting you to be reconciled to Him right now, this Christmas.
  • Oh, Christmas Tree! (atimetoshare.wordpress.com)
    We are introduced to two trees in the Genesis account of creation – the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The first inhabitants were given the Tree of life for food.  The other one they ate from in hopes of becoming as wise as God.
  • History of Christmas Trees part 1 (joannerambling.wordpress.com)
    In 1584, the historian Balthasar Russow wrote about a tradition, in Riga, of a decorated fir tree in the market square where the young men “went with a flock of maidens and women, first sang and danced there and then set the tree aflame”. There’s a record of a small tree in Breman, Germany from 1570. It is described as a tree decorated with “apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers”. It was displayed in a ‘guild-house’ (the meeting place for a society of business men in the city).
  • Come Together (dbethandrews.wordpress.com)
    There are a lot of people in recent days talking about what divides us as a nation and how to bring some sort of reconciliation between people. We have all seen the protests and the anger and hurt. We have seen grief and sadness and bitterness and distrust – and all our protesting and postulating and town-hall meetings only seem to make the chasm wider. In this season of Christmas, this time when there should be “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14) and we should “love one another” (John 13:34) we see everything but. How did we become such an angry society? What is the root of our discord? And how do we reclaim the peace we’ve lost?
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    God gave Jesus as His gift to humanity to reconcile the creation with the Creator. To bring us peace. And when we are restored to God, when we have peace with God, we can then be restored in our human relationships and have peace with one another. But not until we first receive the gift of Jesus into our lives.
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    Peace that Never Ends
    God offers peace in our “dark night of the soul,” bringing His light to the night that surrounds us.
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    One day, and I think not so very far away, Jesus Christ will return, and bring with Him the fulfillment of God’s promise of peace. He will come, not as the baby in the manger, but as the victorious King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He will come with power and authority.  He will bring an end to evil and wickedness.  He will bring punishment to those who love evil and hatred and corruption – to all who rejected Him in this life.
  • The Bible and Mythology (ezracommentary.wordpress.com)
    Myths are stories that people make up to explain various aspects of life and to express worldview, how we see and interpret the world. There are myths about the world and the creation of the sea. There are myths to explain where man and woman came from. Some myths are about the islands and how they came to be populated. There are myths that try to explain good and evil. Other myths have to do with how man and woman are to relate to one another and to each other’s families. There are myths about children and the consequences of disobedience. There are myths about the afterlife, what happens to a person and where he goes when he dies.

    So myths are stories which attempt to explain life and its meaning. They often share wisdom as to how we should live and relate to others and to the world around us. Myths are meant for teaching so that the wisdom can be transmitted from one generation to another.

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

LK3:3 And so John went into all the surrounding regions of the Jordan [river], preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,[1] LK3:4 just as it has been written in the bible[2] of the prophet Isaiah’s words: “A voice crying in the desert:[3] ‘Prepare the way of YHWH![4] Make His paths straight!’ LK3:5 Every valley will be filled in, and every mountain and hill will be leveled off. The crooked will be straightened and the rough smoothed out. LK3:6 All flesh will see the salvation of The God.” [Isaiah 40:3-5 LXX]


[1] Sins: Against the Law of Moses.

[2] Bible: Or, book, scroll, writings. The Greek is BIBLO.

[3] A voice crying in the desert: The source is Isaiah 40:3-5. Compare Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3.

  • Commentaries for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year A (stjoeofoblog.wordpress.com)
    Historical-Cultural Context. The Gospel reading in light of 1st century Mediterranean culture.
    Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background to the readings.
  • 8th December, Gospel Reading (Matthew 3:1-12) (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)
    In due course John the Baptist appeared; he preached in the wilderness of Judaea and this was his message: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
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    if you are repentant, produce the appropriate fruit, and do not presume to tell yourselves, “We have Abraham for our father,” because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones. Even now the axe is laid to the roots of the trees, so that any tree which fails to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire.
  • Isaiah 40:3 (jasondrenning.wordpress.com)
    The prophet had some reference to the return of the Jews from Babylon. But this is a small event, compared with that pointed out by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, when John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of Christ into the world (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; John 1:23). When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and barriers removed.
  • In those days: the kingdom at hand (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Matthew 3:1–12 describes John’s preparation for Jesus (also see Mark 1:2–8; Luke 3:1–18; John 1:19–28). Although we normally call him “the Baptist,” Matt 3:1-12 does not focus on his baptizing activity as much as on other aspects of his ministry: John as Preacher/Prophet, and John as the Forerunner to Jesus.

    Contrary to today’s popular misconceptions, biblical prophets do not merely or even primarily “predict” the future. Rather they “speak on behalf of God” (Greek pro-phemi), and they do this through both their words and their actions. Thus, John not only talks like a prophet (preaching a message of repentance), but he also acts like one (as Matthew describes his clothing and diet in the desert). John not only calls all people in general to repent, but he has particularly harsh words for some of the more “religious” people, challenging them to show their repentance in their actions, to “produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance” (3:8), as all other biblical prophets also did.

  • What’s Cooking? (ianritchie.wordpress.com)
    The great yearning for greater fairness in government has been with the human race for a long time. So it was also in the time of the prophet Isaiah, over 720 years Before Christ. If you read through the first ten chapters of the book of Isaiah, you read about injustice and unrighteousness in both the chosen nation and all the “other nations.” And we read about a lot of violence and destruction, a lot of gloom, and doom, both in what was then the present, and what was to come.
  • In those days: some notes (friarmusings.wordpress.com)
    Repent: the biblical idea of repentance involves a willingness to turn one’s life around in the sense of a complete re-orientation. the kingdom of heaven is at hand: “heaven” (literally, “the heavens”) is a substitute for the name “God” that was avoided by devout Jews of the time out of reverence. The expression “the kingdom of heaven” occurs only in the gospel of Matthew. It means the effective rule of God over his people. In its fullness it includes not only human obedience to God’s word, but the triumph of God over physical evils, supremely over death. In the expectation found in Jewish apocalyptic, the kingdom was to be ushered in by a judgment in which sinners would be condemned and perish, an expectation shared by the Baptist. This was modified in Christian understanding where the kingdom was seen as being established in stages, culminating with the parousia of Jesus.
  • December 8 (stmarkssa.wordpress.com)
  • Getting ready for Advent 2 (revdavidyonker.wordpress.com)
  • Second Sunday of Advent 8.12.13 Matthew 3.1-12 (preachersfriend.wordpress.com)
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