Friday, November 22, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 326

The scriptures read are Jonah 2, Psalm 118 and Matthew 20.

Jonah 2. Jonah prays from the belly of the fish. His prayer resembles one of the psalms. Just as in them, Jonah is thankful before his ultimate deliverance. At least he is still alive, instead of drowned. And once he says he'll do what he promised to do (speak God's word, the whole raison d'etre of a prophet), God has the fish vomit him up on land. To the fish's relief as well as Jonah's, I'm sure.

Psalm 118. This English/Hebrew version is not purely based on this psalm but I like it a lot. I think you will, too. If you simply must hear the psalm alone, here is a stirring version sung in the 5 tone Orthodox style. I like it as well. I think you will, too.

Matthew 20. The parable of the unreasonably generous landowner. The problem here is not a matter of fairness. No one is underpaid; in fact, everyone is paid the same. But for some reason we feel that the guys who only worked a little should be paid a little. Or the whole scale should have been recalculated so the guys who worked more got paid more, though the wage they agreed to was the standard. God is more generous than we are. We need to be grateful for what he gives us, not grumbling about what he gives others.

Jesus is still preparing his disciples for his humiliation and death in Jerusalem.

James and John's mother is showing the kind of chutzpah only a mom can when looking out for her boys. She has no idea what she's asking. James is the first apostle martyred.

More of Jesus inverting the standards of the world. Jesus, the master, serves others, up to and including dying for them. His servants, the disciples, must emulate his example.

As bad as blindness is today, back then it would be even worse. There were no schools for the blind, no guide dogs, no ADA, no braille or books on tape. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem but still stops to heal two blind men.

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