Monday, February 6, 2012

Matthew 21

The Triumphal Entry

So Jesus is coming to Jerusalem, and on the way, he has his disciples go to a nearby village to get a donkey and a colt. He did this to fulfill a prophecy that the king will come mounted on a donkey and a colt.

This so perfectly illustrates my issue with the prophecy stuff. Jesus knew of this prophecy so he specifically asked for a donkey and a colt to fulfill it. If you are trying to fulfill a prophecy it seems so much less remarkable. If you are unaware of a prophecy and keep fulfilling it that might be interesting.

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Jesus goes to the temple and kicks out all the people making profit in the church. Then the blind and lame came to him in the church and got healed.

Church should be for worship not for profit. Seems good. How do you square this with megachurches and televangelists?

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

Jesus tries to get something to eat from a fig tree, he sees there are no figs on it, so he curses the tree and it withers on the spot.

That seems like an overreaction

The disciples see this happen and ask how he did it. He says if they have faith and do not doubt, they can do the same thing, they can even say to a mountain "be taken up and thrown into the sea" and it will happen. "whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith."

Does anyone really believe this is true? I think a lot of things are prayed for without doubt and don't come true. Do you honestly believe that everyone who has died of cancer (for example) has not had a single person praying for them who had no doubt?

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

The priests in the temple ask him where he gets his authority from. He asks them whether the baptism of John came from heaven or from man. They think from man, but refuse to speak because the crowd thinks John was a prophet, so they just keep quiet.

The Parable of the Two Sons

A man has 2 sons and asks them to go work in the vineyard. One son says he won't go but changes his mind and goes to work. The other says he will be doesn't go work. Jesus asks the crowd which son did the will of the father. The crowd responds the first. Then Jesus says the tax collectors and prostitutes will go into the kingdom of heaven before you because they believed John the Baptist but you did not.

This passage seems strange to me, he tells a story about 2 people doing a task or not, then compares it to believing something or not.

The Parable of the Tenants

A master of a house planted a vineyard and set it up very well. Then he hired some tenants to tend it while he was away. When it was time for the harvest he sent some servants to get the fruit and the tenants killed them. He sent more servants and they got killed as well, then he sent his son and they killed him. He then says the kingdom of God is like this, it will be taken away from them and given to those who produce the fruit.

I'm not a fan of this story at all. I get the idea of "the people producing should benefit from their work". If the situation is they do the work and get none of the benefits that is clearly bad. But should the guy who owns the place and did all the work to set it up get nothing? Also, what about the whole "thou shalt not kill" thing, the heroes in his story are murderers.


  1. The triumphal entry. This prophecy refers to

    Zechariah 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

    Seems fair enough.. However, if you read the next few verses.. (10-13)

    " I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 11 As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. 13 For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow. I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and wield you like a warrior's sword."

    To me, the prophecy sounds more like a kingly ruler with an earthly kingdom and physical armys. I don't think Jesus really had either, to my knowledge. If you want to stretch it to some extended metaphor I think it might work. When it comes to the animals, was Jesus mounted on both at the same time? In Mark 11:7, and Luke 14:35 say just a colt. John 12:14 says just a "young ass."

    Jesus and the money changers or "bling bling." I think someone else said something about the bible not being a "liner" stories with Jesus and things being out of order are okay. This would be a good example if that is the case. In John 2:11-16 he has his temper tantrum at the beginning of his ministry. Here, it occurs on the day of his entry, but in Mark 11:1-17 its the day after his triumphal entry. Story wise, I think its a good one. Churches really shouldn't be raking in all the money that they do and should be using it to help people. Jesus did say where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there. While its nice to have a big house for Jesus, it really should be helping the poor. On the other hand, I think about the story where the anointing oil is more important than the poor and Jesus says "yeah, the poor will always be with you."

  2. The Fig Tree. I think its kind of a douchy thing for Jesus to curse a fig tree for not having fruit while it wasn't in season. It's not the tree's fault. I know its not the intended metaphor, but to me I see it like God coming and sending me to hell for not believing, even though he made me this way. One minor thing to note, in Mark 11:13-14 and 20-21 the tree actually withered overnight or the following morning. I once saw a hilarious image of a guy holding up a sign that had this verse and said "GOD HATES FIGS!". I hate a few other verses in noted where Figs are mentioned in the bible.. Apparently God wasn't too fond of them.

    Psalms 105:33 "He struck down their vines and fig trees, and shattered the trees of their country"

    Jeremiah 24:2-3 "One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. And the LORD said to me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" I said, "Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.""

    Jeremiah 29:17 "'Thus says the LORD of hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten."

    (The same story from Mark)

    Hosea 2:12 "And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, of which she said, 'These are my wages, which my lovers have given me.' I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall devour them."

    But I also have a note from 2 Kings 20:7 where figs are used to cure a boil. I realize that figs are a common(?) type of tree for that place in the world. So who knows?

    Parable of the two sons. I think this has to do with "people who are all talk" verses people who go out and actually "do God's work." I think he is saying that people that go do God's work are better than people that just talk about it and never do. I think from a believers point of view, its a good message.

    Parable of the Tenants. I think he is saying, you Christians better meet your quota! Just kidding of course. In the story, do the tenants he hired know the servants? I mean if someone came around asking me for money, how do they know he's not an impostor or a thief? They probably didn't want to give their money to strangers and then have to suffer the wrath of the landlord for giving away his money. Of course, it didn't matter.. I know by asking questions about the parable I'm "missing the point."
    I think its an allegory for the tenants (us) being given the earth, and eventually the kingdom of heaven. We've killed prophets like Jesus and John the Baptist. God is going to be angry and will burn those that did so, even if it was a part of his "divine plan." If this is the metaphor, which I believe it is, its not a real good one.

    I hope my ramblings made some sort of sense.

  3. I like your take on the 2 sons.

    The tenants thing, saying we are the tenants for the kingdom of heaven at least makes sense I guess.

    As for the fig tree, are you referring to this?

  4. The tenants. I'm not really satisfied with my explanation, but I'm pretty sure that's where he was going with that. It's probably not one of Christ's best analogies, but it will do I guess.

    It wasn't the same thing, but I like your post better with the peeps. X-D


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