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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Day 282: Jesus chooses the Twelve

Another difference about Jesus - his attitude to the law. Hard to sum up: is he against it, or more for it than anybody else?
The question about the sabbath
Matthew 12:1-8, Mark 2:23-28, Luke 6:1-5
The man with the withered hand
Matthew 12:9-14, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 6:6-11
Multitudes healed
Matthew 12:15-21, Mark 3:7-12
Jesus chooses the twelve disciples
Mark 3:13-19, Luke 6:12-16
Jesus teaches and heals
Luke 6:17-19
The Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5:1-20

The arguments over the sabbath continue, and Jesus has a totally different attitude to it. The Pharisees are afraid of breaking the law, They approach it as if it’s a cliff, and they don’t want to get too close, in case they fall over. So in order not to work on the sabbath, they won’t do anything that’s remotely like work. Just in case. Jesus is different, he has his eyes open. What is the law for? he asks. It’s there to help you, not to trap you. The sabbath is made for you, not you for the sabbath. The Pharisees are inching along with their eyes tightly shut, scared of putting a foot wrong. Jesus tells them to open their eyes and take a look, and understand the landscape of the law.
They don’t like it. They’ve seen enough of Jesus. They decide he’s bad news and must be stopped.
Jesus is well established now. Out of the crowds that are following him, he chooses twelve, for special instruction, and to be sent out on mini missions like his own. No doubt 12 is significant to him - 12 tribes of Israel, now 12 representatives of a new beginning.
Now begins a look at what Jesus actually taught. Matthew and Luke both record a long set piece sermon from Jesus, most famously known in Matthew’s version as the Sermon on the Mount.
It begins with multiple promises of blessing. How different from the voices of the prophets! They came to announce doom and judgement, to proclaim God’s fury on sinful Israel. Jesus offers hope, happiness, laughter and joy - to the little people, the downtrodden ones, those who never make the headlines. Beautiful.

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