Moving on to Revelation and PDF of blog posts on Matthew

After I completed my study of Matthew last week, I moved on to a study of Revelation. I don’t intend to publish regular blog posts out of this study, because Revelation is too contentious and I have never wanted to be in a position of leading anyone else in a study of it. I’m sure there will be some posts about it as time goes on.

One thing that has dawned on me already (in the first eleven verses of Revelation) is that endurance has a component of resistance, especially when it comes to false teaching. False teaching and the ineffectiveness of the church is what you might call a hobby of mine, so I’m sure I will have some things to say.

Meanwhile, I compiled my Matthew blog posts into a single PDF file. I certainly wouldn’t consider it to be any kind of commentary, but it might be useful to people teaching a class or a group studying Matthew. I would think of it more as a set of teaching points than anything else. So help yourself with the link below:

Matthew blog posts.pdf

Matthew 28:16-20; Mission

Jesus’ earthly ministry comes to a halt. He passes the job on to his disciples.

This location may be the same place where the Sermon on the Mount took place. The Greek is a little ambiguous, but it could be translated something like, “to the mountain where Jesus had taught them.” That is not a sure thing, of course, but Matthew loves to have important meetings take place on mountains.

Jesus reiterates his authority, given by God. Perhaps reflecting Daniel 7, truly he proclaiming that his kingdom is already underway. That would probably carry more weight with the disciples after the resurrection. We must continue to deal with the already-not yet nature of the kingdom, but it has been instituted.

Going, Make Disciples

The disciples are not told to preach the gospel. I suppose that is understood. They are told to make disciples. These guys know what disciples are and they know discipleship is a deep level of commitment. They are hunting for good soil of the fourth kind.

Their mission is to all the nations. They are not turning from Israel, but they are turning toward the gentiles.This is a big change and must have been a surprise to the disciples.

Baptize

Since John, baptism has not played a big role in Jesus’ ministry, so this one is kind of a surprise. Also surprising is the placing of the name of Jesus on a level with the Father and the Spirit. We should not read into this a full trinitarian understanding, but that is where it is heading.

There is not mention of faith here, but again, it seems we are to understand that faith in Jesus must precede baptism.

Teach

The disciples are not to teach a philosophy or a pattern of beliefs. Matthew has been at pains throughout this gospel to show us that following Jesus is a way of life. The teaching is to be about obedience. Jesus left a deposit of teaching and most of it is about how to live, which of course includes how to think but a lot more.

If our teaching is limited to doctrine and philosophy, we are missing the boat. If our aims are not at making true disciples, we are not even trying to fulfill the mission.

Jesus leaves his final word with the disciples and with the church. He will be with us. Always.

Matthew 28:1-15; Resurrection

And the two Marys witnessed the raised Jesus and carried the message to to men.

If the story had ended at the cross, it wouldn’t have been the gospel, the good news. If the story had ended at the cross, the cross would be seen as a symbol of defeat instead of the turning point of human history. If the story had ended at the cross, we would have never heard that story.

It didn’t end with the cross. It didn’t end in a grave. Jesus was raised from the dead.

The angel tells the women to verify the empty tomb and then to tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee.

On the way, experiencing both fear and great joy, they meet Jesus. Jesus is alive. They worship him in a way that reminds us of the anointing of Jesus for burial.

Jesus also tells them to deliver the message to the disciples, but he calls them “my brothers”. Can you imagine how sweet that would have sounded to the ten who abandoned him and the one who had denied him? Resurrection is the start of restoration.

Meanwhile, the guards, who fainted at the earthquake and the opening of the tomb and the angel, tell the truth to the priests. They call another council and hatch another plot. They pay the guards to lie about what happened. Even an angel cannot get these leaders to see the truth.

Jesus is alive. Hope is alive. The disciples are restored. The story is not over.

Bockmuehl on Worship

… worship cannot be restricted to prayer and praise, important though these activities may be in a genuine relationship with God. From the argument in [Hebrews] 12:28–13:16, it is clear that we are to worship God by faithful obedience and service in every aspect of our lives.

Markus Bockmuehl, Possessed by God

Matthew 27:57-66; Burial

Within twenty-four hours of saying, “This is my body…”, that body is buried in the tomb of Joseph, wrapped in linen. Jesus is really and truly dead, just as he predicted.

Joseph was a disciple of Jesus. He was rich (with God all things are possible), and he had enough influence for Pilate to grant him to the right to bury the body. The main disciples have fled, but Joseph and some of the women have stayed.

And the two Marys witnessed the burial and stood vigil.

The Jerusalem leaders had heard of Jesus’ prediction of his resurrection, and they want to avoid any hanky panky with the body by posting a guard. Notice the reappearance of the Pharisees, who have been quiescent during the proceedings leading to Jesus’ death. The leaders seal the grave and post a guard.

These rube Galileans won’t be able to pull anything over on them, the sophisticated Temple leaders.