Thursday, February 2, 2012

Matthew 20-23 ...a den of thieves.

Matthew 20-23

Chapter 20 starts off with a rather lame parable.
Then, once again Jesus prepares the gang that his time is short.
20:19 is a little suspiciously too detailed for my taste.  I think there may have been just a little embellishment by the scribe. ;-)

20:19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Is Jesus talking about himself in the third person?  Always a sign of an ego-maniac.

We get an admission of a self fulfilling prophesy.  Jesus knew how to play to Old Testament to his advantage.

21:2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
21:3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

21:4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
21:5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

Quote of the day from Jesus;
21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

This sounds (to this Atheist at least) like what every TV preacher and mega-church does today, selling prayers, trinkets, books, and healing for a 'small donation'.
I would love to see Jesus show up on the 700 Club, recite this passage and then kick Pat Robertson in the balls!

Jesus returns to the temple the next day and again heals and teaches, pissing off the priests.  They want to take Jesus down but fear the massive posse of the LORD.

Jesus himself advocates the separation of church and state!!!

22:17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
22:18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
22:19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
22:20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
22:21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
22:22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

This is an awesome line!  Jesus/Matthew could turn a phrase couldn't he?
23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.


  1. ch 22: 1-14 tells the parable of the wedding banquet, which caused me to recall a chirpy little pop song i learned in sunday school in the late 60's or early 70's. lyrics at this link.
    it was one of my favorite songs, so i was disappointed to find that, like almost all children's bible stories, this one had been "cleaned up", and the real tale did not have a happy ending.
    the song tells the story only up to verse 10, then ends with a cute "moral lesson".
    in the real ending, verses 11-14, the king scolds one of the last-minute guests for showing up inappropriately dressed, and then banishes him to torture and hell.
    so much for the "stories of jesus"....

    1. Oh, ugh, I remember that song too, back from my youth group days. If I really thought about it, I could probably remember the guitar chords.

      At the time, even the sanitized version of the story in the song made me uneasy. There is a line where the host commands the poor and disabled to be forced to attend. That always seemed unfair. What if they didn't want to? What if they were vegetarian, or didn't like the food, or had been treated badly by this guy in the past? And I didn't like the metaphor - if belief is compulsory, where was the virtue in it? I found this one of the more disturbing of the happy-clappy songs we were always singing then.

    2. Ubi, you obviously did more thinking at an earlier age than i did. I didn't question the lyrics back then, but then i never read the actual story, either, until now. I was mostly a cultural christian and church was just social time and fun songs.
      This reading of the bible is my first ever. but i remember several songs in that same book (Joy is Like the Rain) were based on stories - can't wait for the "10 Lepers" and "there was a man in Jericho called Zaccheus" - bet they were sanitized, too.

  2. @Dorothy

    Its a parable regarding the Kingdom of Heaven. Re-read Mat 22 1-2.

    @Dorothy...and approaching this half serious.
    you stated:
    it was one of my favorite songs, so i was disappointed to find that, like almost all children's bible stories, this one had been "cleaned up", and the real tale did not have a happy ending.

    Are not all children songs cleaned up? Not just Bible. I don't remember singing about how Europeans came over and slaughtered Natives for land as a child during Thanksgiving, did you?

    See Sesame Street for songs that are always cleaned up for children.


    Try to forget that song...sounds like it missed the point altogether.

  3. @Bruce

    How is the beginning of chapter 20 lame?