Monday, June 6, 2011

Here We Go!!!

Scripture: Matthew 1- Matthew 3
Later on in our reading, we’ll learn that Matthew is a tax collector.  A Jewish man, he writes his gospel with the Jews in mind.  His gospel is geared toward a Jewish audience, and he spends a lot of time talking about ritual, about how Jesus fulfilled the ancient prophesies, and being sure that Jesus strongly asserts that he did not come to abolish the law!

I think this is going to be harder than I thought!  One thing I observed?  I want to preach about the virgin birth—about the scared young woman and her embarrassed husband to be that suddenly have a baby neither of them planned to have.  I want to preach about the Wise Men and the evil Herod and escape in the middle of the night.  Of the babies who were slaughtered!  I want to talk about how this version is different than the others.  Maybe some of you will comment on these things. 

But, I want to talk about all those things, but what really convicted me today was John the Baptist talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees.  I am reading a brand new translation called the CEV—Contemporary English Version.  My translation of Matthew 3:8 says, “Do something to show that you have really given up your sins.”.  I’d never read it that way.  He was saying, “Keep your ‘religion’ out of it if it, unless it comes with transformation”.  Then after he preached about transformation, Jesus had to be baptized by him.  Jesus was then transformed.  These whole three chapters about transformation.  Transformation of Israel by Herod’s cruelty.  Transformation of Mary and Joseph with this baby.   Transformation of the faith by the coming change.  Transformation of the the world by Jesus’s coming.  Where else do you see Transformation?

I felt like he was preaching to me—to us!  Too often we go through the motions of religion without any real transformation.  Where has your life changed since you were baptized, since you believed, since you knew Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us?  I don’t want to go through the motions, I want to be transformed.  And with my transformation, I pray that God can transform the world! 

Today begins VBS at KUMC.  I can't wait to see the way the adults and the kids and even the construction workers will leave from this week changed.  I can't wait to see how the kids who come back from Glisson will be changed.  More than just a little change, but a big one.  What changes do you see?

Almighty God, may we through your Son be transformed to this world.  Let us reject all the trappings of relgion—of believing that belief without transformation earns us rights.  Let us instead let the waters of your baptism change us, and make us more like you. Blessings be to the one called Immanuel.  Amen

So, now its your turn--answer one of my questions.  Ask one of your own!  Tell us what you saw!  Most of all, read, for its a Summer of Scripture!

Pastor Emily

Remember the rest of the week!

Tues-- Matthew 4- Matthew 6
Wed-- Matthew 7-Matthew 9
Thurs-- Matthew 10- Matthew 12
Fri-- Matthew 13-Matthew 15
Sat-- Matthew 16 - Matthew 18
Sun-- Matthew 19-Matthew 21


Lindsay said...

Well, I found something I wasn't expecting to find today.


Joseph thinks about quietly divorcing Mary... "But after he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream..." Matthew 1:20

Herod tells the Magi to return to him after they visit Jesus as a child, but instead... "And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route" Matthew 2:12

Then... "an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream" (Matthew 2:13) and tells them to go to Egypt and saves Jesus from the killing of the young boys in Bethlehem.

When that danger passes, "an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt" and tells them to return to Israel. Matthew 2:19

But when Joseph is going back, he doesn't go to Judea because he was "warned in a dream" (Matthew 2:22) and they went to Galilee instead.

Lots of dreams going on hear.

And of course these dream stick out to me because last night and the night before, I had dreams that made an impression on me. I have a bit of transforming to do in a very specific area of my life. And what were those dreams about? You guessed it... that little issue. I can now see it as a warning. Lindsay, don't keep going to Judea! There is evil there. Go to Galilee!!

Lord, transform me. You know the need. Thank you for the warning in my two dreams and for this lesson that helped me to not just brush off the dreams. Let's go to Galilee!

Lynne Watts said...

I love the way Matthew juxtaposes the past with the present and predicts the future. I counted 5X 'fulfilled' was mentioned or implied. I think Matthew must have been the original author of Who Moved My Cheese? for Biblical times because Matthew doesn't stop with the present fulfilling the past. He challenges everyone to be transformed and to begin a new life. I feel like Matthew must have been so transformed himself by his experience with the good news that he wants everyone else to move out of the routine and ritual of the past into the challenges and blessings of the future. How open are we all to new and different?

Eve Rainey said...

The repetition of dreams was interesting, but what amazed me was Joseph's faithfulness. What a servant of God! How his heart and mind were completely tuned into God's direction and will - marry this girl, name the baby Jesus, get up and flee to Egypt, okay, now go back to Israel, more specifically, go to the hills of Galilee. How I admire his obedient heart!

Sara Armstrong said...

I don't struggle with God telling me to do risky things but I whine when God tells me to wait and endure. Mary and Joseph faithfully submit to God's will in all situtations. I'm working on transformation in that area.

When we get to Luke it will be interesting to compare that genealogy of Jesus with the one in Matthew.

Betty Apt said...

I am more familiar with Luke's version, so kept thinking things were left out. One thing that occurred to me while reading this is how every time I read the Bible, I see something new. Today I noted that when talking about the Magi visiting Jesus, my version says "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary..." I knew that it was actually some time before the Magi visited, but I still pictured them visiting a baby in a manger. Today I pictured a todler paying with his mother in front of his house.

I too was struck by all the messages coming through dreams, and wonder if God still speaks to us through dreams. I think I will pay more attention to them.

Carol said...

I finally got to sit and read today's chapters and then all of your comments, which are in line with many of the thoughts I had. Matthew really seems to emphasize that Jesus was the Son of David, born in Bethlehem, King of the Jews. Many events just in these 3 chapters are emphasized as being fullfillments of prophecies. And there are many examples of what in our day and age would be considered courageous acts of blind faith by Joseph, the wise men and even John the Baptist. The moment Jesus receives the Holy Spirit from God, I saw the first of many manifestations of the this the symbolic event that signals the "official" beginning of Jesus' ministry? He now has all He needs to begin Eternity transforming mankind and showing us example after example of how to be brave for God! I need to work on this.

Debbie said...

Lynn, your closing statement really struck me: Matthew "wants everyone else to move out of the routine and ritual of the past and into the challenges and blessings of the future.". I've spent the past year making some changes in my life, and while I'm not at my final goal yet (in fact, I've been stuck in a holding pattern lately)' I believe these changes are what God wants of me. God wants me to change those old habits and accept the challenges and blessings of the future. Thank you for your insights! And with God's help, I will be transformed.

Anonymous said...

I like what Eve said. I want to be as unfailingly faithful as Joseph was. I pray that I can always follow God's will for my life and be where He wants me to be and do what He wants me to do.

Mary said...

I pray that I can hear God speak to me, follow His guidance and help nurture the growth of His Word in our world today. Our world needs the Good News of Jesus today. There are still many Herods trying to kill our King. I need to allow God transform me to serve and follow Him.

Morgan said...

It's great to hear what stood out to everyone in today's reading. I won't repeat what Eve said, because she summarized what stood out to me very well... but I agree that the obedience displayed in these passages is inspiring!

Tisa said...

Like Lindsay, what "popped" for me in today's reading was the number of times God's message was given via dream. In particular, I was thinking about how often I myself wish I had some sort of sign to guide my way, especially in times of trouble and uncertainty. Sure would be nice to have some direction! And here we have several instances of God's direct interventon and unequivocal instruction.

Emily said...

What a wonderful first day! Blessings to you all!