Ok – so I joined a bible read through group at re:hope. We started in the new testament with, oddly enough, Matthew.
The idea is that we read a book of the bible each week then meet up and share three things which have caught our attention.
Of course there’s often more than three things which catch your eye, so here’s a few from Matthew – in no particular order.
The lack of faith of the Jews compared to the faith displayed by the gentiles. For example the centurion. Jesus says of him “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (Matt 8:10) How can that be that a guy who is a member of the occupying army can have more faith in this itinerrant teacher than the spiritual leaders who are waiting for Him. What’s even more surprising about this is that the disciples are frequently descirbed as being astonished at what Jesus does, even though they themselves are given His authority. “Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness” (Matt 10:1).
Another thing which made me pause was an instruction given the disciples by Jesus regarding the pharisees. “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you.“(Matt 23:2,3a) Yes, Jesus goes on to say not to do as the pharisees do, but I wonder what must have gone through the disciples minds at this point.
Finally for today there’s how well the pharisees may have known who Jesus was. I’ll break this into a couple of quotes to illustrate that.
1) The section in Matt 21:23-27, and in particular the discussion the pharisees have. To paraphrase “If we admit John was God’s prophet we’re in trouble because we ignored him. If we say his baptism was nothing special we’re going to get lynched because the people listened to John”
2) Then just a little later we read “When the cheif priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables they knew he was talking about them.” (Matt 21:45) the implication is that the knew full well who the landowner was as well.
There’s more in there. My reccomendation is that you dive in and find them for yourself. Maybe you can share what you notice too.