Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sermon Pt. 1

Here it is....comments encouraged.

Matthew 9: 10-13. “Doctor, Doctor, Give me the News”

In three verses there sure is a lot to talk about. These words of Jesus are powerful, but once you begin to grasp the historical and political contexts, the message of Christ is all the more scandalous. I’m going to explore the historical context first, then, I’ll bring us right up to today. I hope you don’t get too bored, but I plan to show you how people really haven’t changed in 2,000 years, how we’re still fighting the same fights, and that Jesus words are still as true today as they were when they left is lips. So here we go.

1. Setting the Scene/The What
Matthew’s gospel informs us that Jesus was sitting and eating dinner with other guests. Some translations use the word “reclining”. (interpreters bible, New American Standard Bible) That word reclining gives us a bit of a different picture- Jesus wasn’t having a power lunch, he and his disciples were guests- he was hanging out. And with whom? Tax-collectors and sinners. Today, the IRS isn’t a very popular institution and taxes really don’t make much sense to me, but at least they’re under the guise of honesty. In Jesus’ context, tax-collectors were some of the most hated people on the planet. Here in the Roman system, called “tax-farming”, rights to tax over a certain area were leased out to individuals who could afford it for a flat fee. Local aristocrats who obtained the rights would then try to collect more than the fee in order to profit by the arrangement, with an obvious potential for abuse. (New Oxford Annotated Bible) The actual TAX-COLLECTORS were sort of like underlings who were faced with lots of pressure to bring in as much money as possible and were thus despised by the populace. These are the people Jesus kept company with, verse 10: “And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting (reclining) with him and his disciples”


Professor RJ Gumby said...
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Professor RJ Gumby said...

Mustoe Mustoe:

Go with your head on the sermon. I would not put anything out ahead of time. Do your own thought process, check your sources, and go for it.

Best way to learn. Don't worry about getting feedback from other sources. Then if there are critics, you can debate them and learn.

Professor RJ Gumby said...


Excellent job in the pulpit today. You started out a little tense, but you got the congregation with you. And then the Mustoe Mustoe that we all know and love came out. You do have mad preacherin' skillz.

An interesting parallel to your story was a sermon I heard John Ortberg give. He preached on a similar topic, but he used Luke 18:9-14 (The pharisee and the tax collector). It is one of those parables where Jesus speaks to us today in the first verse. His point was similar to yours on judging others, but he took it in the direction of we as followers of Christ should not read the parable and think "Lord, thank you for not making me like that pharisee." I refer to it as Jesus "trap" parable.

Which brings me to one topic that we should explore sometime. We tend to set up the pharisees all being these self-righteous brood of vipers (love that "oh, snap" moment too). There is some strong evidence that some pharisees had a influence on Jesus, and not all took the micro-manage position that the villains in the New Testament took. After all, Judaism has evolved since the first century, and most of my Jewish friends look at some of the commentary in the Talmud, which was started later in the first century (I think, but then again I am the one who told the confirmands to spell Yahweh backwards on their stoles) and follow a great many of Christ's teachings - because the early writers were moving away from the letter and more toward the spirit, of the law.

At any rate, the point comes back to yours. We must be extremely careful about judgment and how we deal with it.

By the way, it is a God thing that we did "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" as the closing hymn. I had a time in darkness (nice metaphor for sin, eh?) this week, and found myself singing the chorus to myself during morning prayers.

"Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!"

Made me a little verklempt during the singing. I love it when God gives feedback. And I tell everyone the misting in my eyes is allergies.

Preach on son!


Dad said...

I am so very proud of you!