Flattering Jesus (Mt 22:16-22:16)

“The Pharisees

Sent their disciples

To him,

Along with the Herodians.

They said.

‘Teacher!

We know

That you are sincere.

You teach the way of God

In accordance with truth.

You show deference

To no one.

You do not regard

People with partiality.”

 

καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν λέγοντας Διδάσκαλε, οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ διδάσκεις, καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός, οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων·

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 12:13-14, and Luke, chapter 20:21, but slightly different.  The Pharisees sent their own disciples to Jesus (καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν).  The Pharisees themselves did come to Jesus, but they also sent along some Herodians (μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν).  Who are these people?  They were the followers or political supporters of King Herod Antipas, the Roman client tetrarch king of Galilee, the one who had John the Baptist beheaded.  This group spoke to Jesus in flattering terms (λέγοντας).  They called Jesus their teacher or rabbi (Διδάσκαλε,).  They said that they knew that Jesus was sincere or truthful, since he knew the truthful way of God (οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He taught truthfulness (ἐν ἀληθείᾳ διδάσκεις).  Jesus did not show any deference to anybody (καὶ οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός,).  He did not regard people with partiality based on their appearances (οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις εἰς πρόσωπον ἀνθρώπων).  They were buttering up Jesus with these flattering statements about how he was so sincere and truthful since he had not shown any deference or partiality to anybody.

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Protest

The Protestant principle testifies to God’s sovereignty against human endeavors.  Continually Protestants remind us not to absolute the relative.  God is beyond nature and history.  For many Protestants, the Bible is the ultimate source of truth, the living word of God.  On the other hand, dogma, sacraments, and church are at the heart of Catholic belief.  Protestants do not grant papal infallibility, preferring to rely on the corrections of the Holy Spirit.  You need to continually protest against something.

Individual Conscience

Everyone has the right to an opinion.  We all enjoy freedom of speech.  Yet we have to ask the question about what is truth.  What are the boundaries of Church membership?  We always create boundaries.  States need lines or borders.  Groups have laws, common beliefs, values, and practices.

Exclusive Model of Salvation

The exclusive model holds that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, as the only Son of God, the only Savior.  Jesus is the clearest way to salvation.  Evangelicals believe that you are not saved unless you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior.  Certainly, he is the “best.”  Baptism in Jesus Christ brings the fullest revelation of truth.  There may be positive values elsewhere, but can you learn anything else?  The Christian Church is the one and only true religion.  There is no salvation outside this church.  Missionaries and evangelists have preached the need to know Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

The Bible narrative story

There is a narrative quality to the Bible.  We have to appreciate truth in the story, because stories express truth.  We tend to dismiss things as just a story.  Even with modern technology, the Internet. YouTube, and Facebook are full of stories.  Scientific facts are not poetry and thus they have different rules.  The story world helps us understand our real world.  We would not have a real world without language and story.  Non-literate societies emphasized oral story as very important.  Even today, whether it is television or movies, we love a good story.  In the 1997 movie “Titanic” the story was simple, the ship sunk.  However, the love story of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet drew us in and made us feel the whole story.  Historical novels are very popular as a means of understanding the past historical times.

The little horn takes over the sanctuary (Dan 8:11-8:12)

“The little horn

Acted arrogantly,

Even against

The Prince

Of the host.

It took

Regular burnt offering

Away from him.

It overthrew

The place

Of his sanctuary.

Because of wickedness,

The host

Was given over

to it,

Together

With the regular burnt offering.

It cast truth

To the ground,

It kept prospering

In what it did.”

Thus, this King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the little horn, conquered Palestine and violated the sanctuary of God, the Prince of the hosts around 167 BCE. He acted arrogantly against God, by taking away the regular burnt offerings from the sanctuary. This little horn was successful in taking over the host or people of the Temple as well as doing away with the regular offerings to God. He cast truth to the ground, while he continued to prosper and do whatever he wanted to do.

Jeremiah is sent to the king of Judah (Jer 22:1-22:2)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Go down to the house

Of the king of Judah!

Speak there this word!’

Say!

‘Hear the word of Yahweh!

O King of Judah!

Sitting on the throne

Of David!

You!

Your servants!

Your people

Who enter these gates!’”

Yahweh sends Jeremiah to the king of Judah. He was to speak these words of Yahweh to the king who sat on the throne of David. The king, his servants, and all the people in Jerusalem were to listen to God’s word as proclaimed by Jeremiah. Jeremiah was to speak truth to power. This is more or less a reinforcement of the preceding chapter.