Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 327

The scriptures read are Jonah 3, Psalm 119:1-32 and Matthew 21.

Jonah 3. This time Jonah obeys and goes to Nineveh. Nothing like 3 days in the belly of a fish to get one's attention.

Jonah preaches and--surprise!--the people of Nineveh, from the king on down, listen, repent and fast. Even the animals are to wear sackcloth! And God relents.

Psalm 119:1-32. A men's chorus from the Netherlands backed up by winds, strings and piano make this a lovely version even though I don't speak or read the language.

Matthew 21. Jesus comes on a donkey rather than a war horse or chariot. Another indication of what kind of Messiah Jesus is.

The Hosanna is from the psalm we read yesterday, 118:25-26. "Hosanna" means "O save!"

The whole incident with the moneychangers makes you wonder what Jesus would think of all the merchandising done in the name of Christianity. The moneychangers were in the Court of the Gentiles, the only part of the temple that gentiles could enter. The passage from Isaiah quoted by Jesus is in fact about gentiles also coming to the temple and it being a house of prayer for ALL people. Likewise the blind and lame were excluded from the inner precincts of the temple. Not, of course, once Jesus healed them. And by not seeking an alliance with those in charge of the temple but making friends among the weak, Jesus is showing what kind of Messiah he is and isn't.

In the parable of the 2 sons, Jesus again emphasized how important it is not just to say you obey God but to actually do it, even if you must repent first. Jesus couldn't have been more offensive than to say that such disreputable sinners as tax collectors and prostitutes were getting into heaven before the more visibly pious, because the former groups repented and the latter group doesn't think it needs to.

And the parable of the evil tenants is also pretty obviously aimed at the religious leaders. They are serving themselves, not God. Jesus is not making any friends among their ranks.

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