Day 69. (Matt 5:1- 15:39)

Just a little reminder- Daylight savings time change this Saturday night.  Unfortunately, an hour loss of beauty sleep as we move our clocks ahead an hour
This Sunday- Refugestarts.  Yes.  We will be commissioning Pastor Caleb a.k.a. Pastor K-lub, Pastor Chone, or PK.  If you have families in your sphere of influence who have 6-8th graders, not fully planted in a local church community, give them a shout, invite them to church, meet them on Sunday morning, introduce them to PK, have a great time, and head to Castle Cafe afterwards for some awesome Chicken Fried Chicken and cracklin’ gravy.  We are so looking forward to this.  Folks have been praying.
Matthew- Just when we thought we were getting away from the Old Testament when we saw the New Testament starting…. wrong-O.  We started the book of Matthew with all sorts of names from the Old Testament, references to the Exile, and major references to men like David and Solomon.  And that is all just in the first half of the first chapter.

 I loved how I could read through the list of names and have some kind of context for nearly all of those man and four women.  It wasn’t too long ago we read all about Amminadab, Rehoboam, Jehoshaphat (I dare someone to name their new son that), and Zerubbabel.  It isn’t just a list of names anymore.  They each shared the story of God.

 And the fourteen generations thing?  About all I can think is that David is such a significant person in the lineage of Jesus and the story of God, that he ties it all together.  That and when you look at his name ”dvd,” the ”d” has a value of 5 and the “v” has a value of 4, totaling 14, the same number as the generations.  Hmmm….

 And did you notice how many time up through today’s reading there were references to Old Testament books- Isaiah 7, Micah 5, Hosea 11, Jer, 31, Isaiah 40, Deut 8, Psalm 91, Deut 6: 16 and 13, Isaiah 9, Exodus 20: 13 and 14, Deut 24, Exodus 21, 24, and 19, Leviticus 19, Isaiah 53, Hosea 6:6 TWICE!, Micah 7, Malachi 3, Isaiah 42, Isaiah 6, Psalm 78, Exodus 20, Deut 5, Exodus 21, Leviticus 20, and Isaiah 29.  And that is just the first half of Matthew!  Who say the Old Testament is irrelevant?  Leme at em, leme at em.  I wonder if folks really realize how much the OT is embedded in the words of Jesus?

 End of the Old Testament                         Beginning of the New Testament
Palestine part of the Persian Empire          Palestine part of the Roman Empire
Population is scarce                                   Population is dense
Cities are heaps of rubbish                        General prosperity
Temple of Zerubbabel                                Herod’s Temple is a wonder!
No Pharisees or Sadducees                       Both
No synagogues                                          Prevalent synagogues (Paul visits first in towns)
Tradition of Text                                         Items added from other cultures
Guilty of intermarriage                                Irradicated

 The Samaritan Problem
1. Division of Kingdom in 931 B.C. and ensuing friction (931-721 B.C.)
2. Mixed ancestry of Samaritans
3. Rival, Syncretistic Religion- center on Me. Gerizim
4. Samaritan Territorial Expansion (Babylonian Captivity)
5. Samaritan help is refused in Temple Rebuilding
6. Samaritan hindrance to Temple Rebuilding
7. Samaritan hindrance to Wall Rebuilding
8.  Maccabean burning of Rival Temple

Anitiochus IV Epiphanes, the eighth Seleucid king (Syrian, not Assyrian, under General Seleucus), ruled for eleven years beginning 175 B.C.
1.   Promotes Hellenism (Greek philosophy and way of life)
2.   Taxes the heck out of folks for Rome.
3.   Assumed title of deity (Epiphanes) as he believed he was a god manifest on the planet.
4.   Conflict between he and Jason the High Priest, bribes, etc. Jason goes sour, messes up Jerusalem, more
Hellenism, wants to erect Gymnasium below temple, games to Hercules, etc.
5.   He killed 40,000 Jews in ONE DAY. Sold many into slavery, and took from the Jerusalem Temple sacred objects
Worth the equivalent of one million dollars.
6.   He prohibited circumcision and Sabbath observances.
7.   He banned and burned copies of the Torah, and other OT ‘books.’  (Ones we just read.)
8.   Pagan religion compulsory- Sacrifice to Zeus demanded.
9.   Savage religious persecution.
10. Desecration of the Temple on Dec. 15, 167 B.C.  Pig sacrificed on the alter.  
11. Many Jews believed this was a fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy of the “Abomination of Desolation” to which Christ (Mt 24:15) and John (Revelation) refer.
12.  This was a very bad dude and a very low time in the intertestamental period.

So who is Jesus in Matthew?
Jesus is the fulfillment of the Jewish Scriptures.
Jesus the teacher, a new Moses for the new age of salvation.
Jesus as Son of David and Son of God.
Jesus as the New Israel, bringing the message of God’s salvation to the world.
Jesus as Immanuel (Is 7:14) — God’s presence with us.
The “kingdom of heaven” is Matthews Jewish way of referring to God’s reign.
The Great Commission. The command to spread the message of salvation and make disciples of all nations.

That’s enough for today.  Just some things to maybe help with context.
Info mostly from my “Gospel and Acts” Seminary class with our guest speaker on Mar. 27th, Dr. Bill Klein.  Again a different voice and personality from Rick, Peggy, and Scott.

What a beautiful day in Colorado.