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Tag Archives: Matthew

shake off the dust…

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 9:35-10:23, NRSV)

Jesus called the disciples to go and to share His message. And the instructions were clear. Take nothing with you, receive without payment and give without payment. Only wear what you need nothing more. When you enter a town find one place and dwell there while you are in that town. Give your peace to that place and if it will not accept your peace, take it back. And if they will not listen, shake the dust off your feet so you take none of that place with you and go on to those who will listen.

Seems a little harsh, but Jesus was trying to help the disciples I think. And He was saying if people won’t listen, it is ok, and it is there lose not yours. Do not get hung up on people not being perceptive to the message of grace, just move on to those who will be.

So when you encounter those who don’t want to hear the good news, just shake off the dust and move on…

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don’t be traditional!

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.’ (Matthew 9:14-17, NRSV)

I will admit this passage has always been a little strange to me.

You see I don’t make wine so I do not know the particulars of wine and how it ferments.

I do sew but have never sewn a new piece of fabric onto an old garment. However the new cloth would have to give more and wouldn’t so the garment could be worse off than if it had a hole…

But what is Jesus telling us here. This morning as I prayed and read this text, I was hit with the notion:

We can not put what God is doing into the traditional understanding we carry forward.

Now before you get worried I want to throw the baby out with the bath water let’s look at this…

You have to understand what I mean by tradition and traditional.

One of these words is a good word and the other is a word that you shouldn’t say in polite company!

Tradition is the basis of our faith. Our understanding of who we are and where came from. Be base things in our tradition and they keep us grounded to God and our relationship with Him.

Traditional is doing things the way we have always done them, because that is how it is done.

Do you see the difference?

If you are traditional you will not try something new because what we have always done has always worked before and there is no need to do something new!

But isn’t God always trying something new to reach the ones He loves, while maintaining what is important in the relationship with His church?

Do not get stuck in a box and try to make God fit where He always has, because that just isn’t going to work!

Allow God to do what He will to keep the relationship with you alive, and to reach the lost…

 

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Hope

When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them, and he ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.’ (Matthew 12:15-21, NRSV)

Gentiles will hope in His name!

He is the reason we can hope!

He is the servant of the Living God and God’s Spirit is upon Him. He will bring justice to victory!

How can we who are in darkness have hope that something will change, that our world will be different?

You see the quote in Matthew above comes form Isaiah and so was spoken through the prophet Isaiah many years before Jesus and Matthew, and yet the words spoken by that prophet hundreds of years before Christ still rang true in the person of Jesus.

The promise of God is not a one time and done promise. God’s promise is forever, and in that we who are heathens, and gentiles can rejoice and have our hope!

 

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