I am a person who enjoys life-long learning on a variety of subjects. I particularly enjoy learning in-depth about scriptures, including from an historical context, a linguistic context, a spiritual context, and a social context. I have found that the most authentic understanding of a writing is to understand it (as much as possible) through the lens of the original writer, the circumstances they were facing in the time period from which they wrote and the people to whom they were writing, for that is where the heart, purpose, hoped for outcome, and purest intent finds its seed for propagation (telling forward the truth of the gospel). Scholars who study the scriptures are the most reliable sources of this type of information.
It is my understanding that Matthew’s Gospel was written to the Hebrew people to encourage them to place their faith in God that Jesus of Nazareth was and is God’s promised Messiah. Matthew wrote in a particular style for this very specific purpose. His gospel is written in mirror form of the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament in the Christian Bible): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Matthew’s gospel is written in 5 parts as well.
For more information I encourage you to read a commentary such as: The Interpreter’s Bible, Interpretation Commentary, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, John Calvin’s Commentary, or The Reformation Commentary. There is a long list of commentaries available. If you are a member of Cornerstone and would like more information, Pastor Jen is willing to lend you a commentary. Please speak with her directly.
My personal reflections are updated every Tuesday with reflections on the previous week’s readings. I will leave up the reflections for the current month beginning with the most recent. If you would care to read Jen’s Jottings from previous months, please contact her(firstname.lastname@example.org) and she is happy to email you the archived materials.
May God’s Word bless and feed you this day and each day you carry these thoughts with you in mind and spirit.
Love in Christ, Pastor Jen
April 6, 2021 Matthew 10:13-33
Jesus held nothing back from his disciples. He was very open about what they could expect if they chose to pursue discipleship with him. And the list was unpleasant: your sibling will work toward your death; people will want to kill you; you will be held in low esteem; you will need to run away; a child of faith will rise up against their parents; you will be imprisoned and handed over; you will be dragged into court. Even in the midst of such animosity and persecution, a student of the way of Jesus living is to love: “love your enemy, pray for those who persecute you; turn the other cheek; walk the extra mile (Matt 5:38-48).” Jesus taught followers to “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even [those outside the faith] do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt. 5:43-48).”
Jesus sends those who choose to be followers. Jesus gives us authority to carry out the ministries to which Jesus calls us to attend (see Mt. 10:5ff). As we go throughout the day we are to proclaim God’s good news that the kingdom of heaven is not far off but is here presently. This is the news we are to share without fear of retribution. The kingdom of God is love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
As you and I do our tasks throughout the day, as we interact with people each day, while we are working to achieve goals with our co-workers - we are to carry ourselves as a follower of Jesus. We accept gentle reminders from our brothers and sisters in Christ when we stumble and we get back on track. We set healthy personal boundaries to ward off compassion fatigue and burnout. We learn about psychology and its integrated existence with the soul. So that … an action clause that leads to an active responsive outcome … so that, we can be like Jesus and love one another as we have been shown love; and, so that, we can be like lambs among wolves.
Go in peace my friends to love and serve your Lord, Jesus the Christ, with deep regard ~ Pastor Jen