On Caesar’s Turf

When Jesus crosses the Roman sea in Matthew, he brings the good news of the Matthean genology—of the liberation of God’s people from captivity—to the gentiles living under the control of Caesar. The Gadarene exorcism consolidates a pattern in Matthew: those whom we assume to be wrong are the very ones who obey the command of the Master.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:28-34.

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Episode 270 Matthew 8:28-34; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Nightdreams” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Pressure and Order

In the face of situational chaos, all of us appreciate strong leadership. We value the clear and confident voice of the one who knows what to do—we value their knowledge—and we listen to what they say. Leadership provides clarity, order, and the pressure necessary to help all of us do what must be done. But there are plenty of examples where placing this kind of trust in a human leader has led to disaster. That’s why the Gospel of Matthew won’t ascribe such authority to anyone, not even Jesus. It is the teaching that Jesus carries—the word that he speaks—to which we look for direction. This word was handed down from above as the immutable will of God our Father, the Patrician of all, whose authority brings order to the household of the nations.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:23-27.

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Episode 269 Matthew 8:23-27; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “The Show Must Be Go” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Leave the Dead

At the start of the New Testament, the Matthean Geneology remedies an incorrect understanding of Abraham’s line by belittling of the kings of Judah, highlighting the failure of tribal lines. Thus, Matthew reorients his readers to the original intent of Abraham’s household as a mechanism of adoption into the Lord’s fold, through his teaching. To claim Abraham as a tribal or national banner is to diminish the Lord’s promise, making Abraham’s seed just like any other human line.

In Matthew, as in Genesis, the Lord is forced to intervene to ensure that the folly of David’s seed does not jeopardize God’s promise of life to Abraham and his descendants. All human lines are dust to dust. Thus, the Matthean Jesus challenges loyalty to tribe and clan with a stern warning: ”Leave the dead to bury their dead.”

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:18-22.

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Episode 268 Matthew 8:18-22; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Cold Sober” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Peter’s Household

The head of the household, in biblical terms, is the one responsible for leading with the teaching of Scripture. Where civil characterizations of this role emphasize the acquisition of wealth, the Bible stresses obedience to God’s instruction as the chief duty of both the Biblical Patriarch and the Roman Patrician. A true parent is the one who provides instruction along with bread and shelter. That is why in the Orthodox and Catholic traditions, the one responsible for teaching is called, “Father.” But what happens when the head of the household is himself disobedient? What if that person, who is responsible for the wellbeing of everyone, allows a member of his family to suffer because of a failure to teach?

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:14-17.

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Episode 267 Matthew 8:14-17; Subscribe: feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Onion Capers” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Roman Household

Too often, students of Scripture dismiss difficult texts by separating the culture of the biblical era from what they consider the real ”message” of the biblical story—but this is a fallacy. Empirically, the text—the letters and words inscribed on the page—are the message. The rule of Matthew precludes the addition or subtraction of anything from this inscription.

If the message in your head does not recount every letter of Hebrew and Greek in the entire Bible, it’s not the biblical message. So when Scripture deals with Roman culture, like it or not, Roman culture is part of the package. When we attempt to sift it out, the Gospel becomes unintelligible.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:5-13.

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Episode 266 Matthew 8:5-13; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Crusade – Heavy Industry” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Witness of the Leper

In the Gospel of Matthew, knowledge of Scripture determines the value of a Levitical priest. What are the specific rules of Leviticus and what do they mean? What is the priest commanded to do when he encounters a leper? What does the Levitical sign of skin disease teach the priest about the household of Abraham?

In the story of the leper’s healing in Matthew 8, Jesus demonstrates the answer to these questions through his obedience to the rule of Leviticus, placing accountability for the plight of the outcast squarely on the shoulders of “Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests.” (Leviticus 13:2)

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 8:1-4.

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Episode 265 Matthew 8:1-4; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Cottages” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

These Words

As teachers and students, we delude ourselves with abstraction. How many of us, instead of teaching the words of the Bible, offer a cheap summary or moral extraction to get at (what we call) the gist of the story? How often have you heard someone talk and talk and talk about God for hours without following the storyline of Scripture, in English, let alone the original languages? How often? The King James Bible contains 783,137 words. There is no gist. There are only “these words.”

“Everyone,” Jesus explains, “who hears these words of mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matthew 7:26)

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 7:24-29.

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Episode 264 Matthew 7:24-29; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Dream Catcher” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Not Everyone Who Says, “Lord, Lord”

It’s unclear how or when the phrase “I love you” became the sacrosanct rubric of America’s devolving mating rituals, but it did. In the place of duty, honor, and commitment, we peddle the fake importance of a self-involved, emotionally insecure obsession with three words that represent a hormonal response. Even if you think you disagree, you know its true. Your spouse can say, “I love you” until they’re blue in the face. It is meaningless if their behavior says otherwise. Enter Matthew 7. Jesus does not care if you say, “I love you.” The world does not stop spinning and it is not an apocalyptic sign that now you are truly his disciple. No way. Human words are cheap. You are only his disciple when you act like it.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 7:21-23. Today’s episode begins with a reading of Deuteronomy 13:1-3.

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Episode 262 Matthew 7:21-23; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Hackbeat” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

Beware of False Prophets

Priorities control a person’s speech. If a pastor’s goal is to share the words of the Bible, he will speak the words of the Bible. If his goal is to grow his parish, he will add to (or subtract from) the words of Scripture to appeal to his target audience, ignoring the Lord’s warning in Matthew 7:6 to protect what is holy. In Matthew, this kind of teacher is singled out as a false prophet, easily identifiable, Jesus explains, by the content of what is taught and by its outcome.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 7:15-20.

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Episode 262 Matthew 7:15-20; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “That’s a Wrap” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/

The Narrow Path

In the modern Internet of Consumers, everyone is treated as a profit center. Content, images, and themes are all engineered to attract the widest audience possible. If everyone likes your message, it must be good, right? This profit centered model has corrupted our media institutions and undermines our trust in each other. In 2018, everyone is in sales—even our universities—and it’s a catastrophe.

While the Bible was indeed written in such a way that the widest possible audience could understand it’s content, it was not written to be accepted by a broad audience. It was written to say what it has to say with no regard for its appeal. That is what it means to teach and the biblical teaching in Matthew is itself the narrow path of which Jesus speaks.

Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Matthew 7:13-14.

Listen: https://tracking.feedpress.it/link/15937/10992534/tbal%20episode%20261.mp3

Episode 261 Matthew 7:13-14; Subscribe: http://feedpress.me/the-bible-as-literature; “Just Nasty” Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http:// creativecommons .org/ licenses /by/3.0/