Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 317

The scriptures read are Amos 4, Psalm 110 and Matthew 12.

Amos 4. The pampered of Israel do the poor wrong. Then things go bad for them. They notice the misfortunes in their lives but don't turn to God.

Psalm 110. This marvelous Orthodox chant version of this psalm has an almost otherworldly feel.

Matthew 12. Though Jewish law allowed the poor to eat as they walked through a field, the Pharisees are upset because this is the Sabbath and what the disciples are doing falls into one of the 39 categories of work forbidden on the Sabbath. Jesus cites the time their beloved David committed a worse religious violation to feed his hungry troops. The priests work on the Sabbath and Jesus is greater than they. Plus even the scriptures say that mercy trumps sacrifices.

Healing on the Sabbath is not work; it is rescuing a human being in much the same way one would rescue livestock regardless of the day. Some Pharisees forbade praying for the sick on the Sabbath! Some Essenes wouldn't even rescue trapped animals on the Sabbath. But the majority of Jews would agree with Jesus.

Notice that the blasphemy condemned is attributing a good deed done by the Spirit to an evil spirit. It has nothing to do with cursing the Holy Spirit or anything like that. When one is so messed up that he can't tell good acts from evil ones, he is beyond saving.

Jesus redefines what constitutes being a family. This would have been scandalous in his day.

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