Summary: It is important to remember, when following the Revised Common Lectionary cycle, that this cycle and these readings do relate to each other.
It is important to remember, when following the Revised Common Lectionary cycle, that this cycle and these readings do relate to each other. This week, Miss Justine’s reading helped us to witness the peaceful passing of the first Hebrew leadership baton from Moses to Joshua, setting the stage for the Israelites to take possession of The Land. Sister Mary-Ann read the only psalm written by Moses, a prayer, most likely written around the same time that the Hebrews were arriving at The Land as a transition from the past to the future. Miss Justine then read from the second part of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which is one of Paul’s earlier epistles, and we were again reminded of the fundamentals of Christianity and our origins that go all the way back to Moses and Joshua. Finally, Sister Mary-Ann wrapped everything up in a bow with her Gospel reading. Here, Christ schooled His detractors not once, but twice: first with an elementary-school level Bible Study and then with a quick reminder of His own authority.
Someone said once, “I don’t trust the Republicans and I don’t trust the Democrats; but what I really don’t trust is a Republican and a Democrat working together.” Okay, that someone was me, but come on, when you really think about it, if they stopped fighting each other, they could team up against something else. With literally the Bible as the only place in our lives where we can feel safe from fear and conquest, everything else in our lives are a challenge. This week, a certain governor’s race came to my attention as theweek.com published “UTAH'S DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR RELEASE JOINT AD URGING CIVILITY AND A FAIR ELECTION” and I felt a shot of redemption in a dismal news cycle.
The more we here about this election or that nomination or those people on that side of the isle, the more we pray for an easier way. But we know, because Christ told us on multiple occasions that it’s not this life that is going to be easy; this life is going to be tribulation after tribulation if we chose to follow Him and live in His Holy Name. But the life to come when this one is over will hold us to known of our earthly fears. No virus, no election, no masks and/or sanitizer ever again (does that not remind you of “No more pencils, no more books… no more teachers’ dirty looks”?)!
They were coming at Christ from all sides; the Sanhedrin, in the allegorical form of the Pharisees/Sadducees (or more modern Democrat/Republican [or Republican/Democrat if you please] equivalent) attacked Him separately and then ganged up on Him. And not only did they gang up on Christ, they sent a lawyer after Him to try and switch Him up. I wonder if it will work. Let us pray…
Over the past few weeks, we have walked with Matthew and the other Disciples, and witnessed through his detailed account, his Master baffle and bewilder and betwixt the most learned of the learned. He spoke of the PARABLE OF THE WEDDING BANQUET and explained how what we wore on the inside was more important that the trappings the world sees. In other words, it does not matter how attractive, well dressed, or a tangent thing in the physical world, what matters is how clean and well-kept our heart is, as a vessel for the Holy Spirit.
Then, we witnessed through Matthews eyes the IMPERIAL TAXATION QUESTION, as the Pharisees buttered his Master up with faint and false praise, only to then challenge His views so that they could get Him on tax evasion; they tossed Him a denarius, which was worth about a penny, and demanded He basically give them a lesson in microeconomics. Of course, Jesus did not fall for this trap and flat-out agrees that Caesar has the right to demand taxes. But the interesting thing is we should recognize here is that this is being told to us by a former tax collector himself. What Matthew might not have realized at the time is that his Teacher was not only talking about coinage; He was also referring to the old tithe laws, whereby the Hebrews (and eventually the Jews) were to bring a tithe, 10% of their harvest. In other words, give to God what is God’s (which includes but is not limited to everything) and give to Caesar the trinkets of man’s world.
What we did not read together is the parable of the MARRIAGE AT THE RESURRECTION. But it’s important to know (please read it on your own or together with me sometime) that it was the Sadducees who were getting into the act this time and they were challenging Jesus’ theological understand, and assumedly teachings, regarding resurrection. Now, this is curious since that faction did not believe in the resurrection or even study certain books of Scripture. So, Jesus speaks to them in a language they will understand and highlight why they do not understand what they, themselves, teach. There is a huge difference between an earthly marriage and a heavenly marriage. He goes just short of dismissing them and saying that in heaven the only relationship that matters is the one between ourselves and the Lord Jesus Christ. He saves that for His next lesson, which we just heard Sister Mary-Ann read a few minutes ago. So, let’s examine that for a while.