Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thoughts on Matthew

I'm reading through the Gospels as an intentional way to prepare my heart and mind for Easter. One book per night, noting what stands out to me. Here are my thoughts on Matthew.

1:6 Immanuel - God with us. How must Mary have felt as she watched "God with us" die? How do you go on living having lost not only your child, but (seemingly) left to live the rest of your life void of the tangible presence of God?

2:16-18 How does a community ever thrive again after experiencing something as horrific and devastating as infanticide? "weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more". Oh the agony. How bleak life must have been for all of Bethlehem. And if Jesus had made it back, he would have grown up in a community without any other little boys in his age range. Better to have become a Nazarene (vs. 23), but Bethlehem, oh heart aches for you.

4:16 I need to dig out a map to see if "the light has dawned for those living in the shadow of death" at all refers to the occupants of Bethlehem.

8:17 I know this is a fulfillment of prophecy, but I'm wondering if this is at all literal. Did His life experience here on earth actually become physically and emotionally heavier as he healed the sick. We talk about Him taking on the sins of the world in His death on the cross. What if He was internally picking them up and carrying not just our sins but the infirmities and diseases of everyone He healed and had significant moments with? How much did encountering someone with true faith and belief encourage Him?

10:8 Freely you have received, freely give. This should be the tag line of every church's "connections/service" department.

10:1-42 Quite the pep talk. I wouldn't have even known where to start processing it had I been the recipient (much less the SPOUSE of a recipient). It would be interesting to know who the "little ones" were Christ referred to in vs. 42.

11:12 Phenomenal verse I've never noticed IN MY LIFE before now. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. That is some good preaching right there. Worthy of a deeper study at some point.

11:30 How could He possibly have described His burden as "light" knowing what was to come? Comparatively speaking it was light?

13:58 Christ doesn't do many miracles in a faith vacuum.

14:13 Christ seems broken by the beheading of His cousin. A moment of psychological humanity on display.

16:5-12 I have no recollection of ever hearing/focusing on Christ's comments about the "yeast" either. Interesting.

16:21 Jesus begins to predict His death.

20:17 Christ lays out in DETAIL what He will have to experience. He knows He'll be raised to life. Knowing the end of the story must aid in some way (personally) when He supplies these details.

23 Christ seems to be overflowing with frustration.

26:36 My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow...

27:51 One of my "favorite" parts of the crucifixion narrative.

28:16-20 The Great Commission seems completely out of place as an ending to this book. Perhaps experiencing the death (and resurrection) of Christ somehow impaired Matthew from being able to tell His story. After painstakingly recording parable upon parable, great amounts of conversation seem to be missing between Christ's resurrection and The Great Commission.

Personal Point of Recognition: My identity as a mother, and my extremely high stress load at the moment has a major impact on what I'm picking out in Matthew.