Monday, November 12, 2012

The Teachings of Jesus (VI), Week 46: Conclusion of the Series

It has been a long path from January until now. I had a few brief ideas of some things that I learned about Jesus' teachings in Matthew through this series.

Here are ten thoughts that I had during the series:

1. It is WAY harder to do a weekly series of posts than I thought, especially with all of my travel. I ended up being successful only by planning ahead of time. Often if I was on a weeklong business trip I would use every night to study the text and sketch outlines, then write during travel days and pre-load the posts, often months ahead. Otherwise I never would have made it.

2. I saw that context was even more important than I had thought. I did not realize how much the parables played off of other parables for contextual clues.

3. I had never properly appreciated how the "challenge-riposte" nature of the last chapters of Matthew (weesk 27-45) really play onto each other. For example, to truly understand Jesus' answers when He talks about greed, taxation, the resurrection, the Greatest Law, etc., you need to understand that He is responding to a trap and not necessarily trying to state a systematic theology.

4. I tended before doing this study to apply the Sermon on the Mount a bit too boldly to Christians, stealing it from its context as a commentary on Mosaic Law and a proof of the impossibility of the standard.

5. I had never before seen the parable of the talents in light of preparation for the Second Coming; generally when discussing this passage it is ripped from its place between eschatological discussions around the Olivet Discourse, Parable of the Talents, and the Final Judgment.

6. I became more convinced than ever about the very firm anti-divorce stance of Christ, and dismayed at how far we have come from this standard.

7. I gained much benefit into understanding the kingdom of God and what it looks like. I likely will have a series coming sometime soon in which we explore the concepts of heaven (or, more properly: new earth) and hell.

8. The false distinction between a Jesus Christology and a Pauline Christology was completely destroyed for me, after reading Jesus' teaching in context and seeing how well they matched. I had always believed that already, but felt more convinced than ever now.

9. The importance of putting our faith into action and sacrificing for others became more prevalent to me through this series, even while I gained more confidence in the sola fide position.

10. No matter how much I think I know about the Scripture, every time I study a book in this level of detail (read, reflect, commentary study, Greek word study, etc.) I learn a ton more. It takes a lot of time, but what a firm strength for my faith.

If you had any thoughts on this series, feel free to comment. It is fine if no one does. :) I may well be the only one who read what I wrote, and for the reasons above it was still valuable!