Sunday, October 04, 2009

Earth Moves Under Feet, Kingdom Comes (Matthew 5-7)

Outside, at six in the evening, there was fog and clammy greyness. A pervasive heaviness, the colour of the presence of life-sucking Dementors, the hue favoured by the Nazgûl. Then buildings shook. And the worker bees inside looked up in terror. "I thought I'd worked too hard and was about to faint," gasped one. "I thdoughtd I'd overdosed on cold meds," sniffled another. Several hysterical ones grabbed their bags and fled for the lifts, then deciding it was too dangerous to take them, ran back and down the emergency staircase. "I'm staying put," declared the boss and strode back to her office. Those who remained murmured their compliance, pulled the blinds and sat down. Immediately, there was silence except for the clattering of keyboards.

Outside, in a clearing in the greyness, the sun glowed a blood red. But no one saw the warning.

Then, the world ended.

Nachos, Chili's, Singapore
Ok, so it didn't. But loads of nasty things happened. But blissfully unaware, we went to Chili's for margaritas and nachos, Big Mouth burgers and football on ESPN.

Ding Tai Feng, Vivocity Hua Yi, International Building
The next day there was meeting DG mates for gut-busting lunch and then the boys for stodgy dinner at Hua Yi with Inglourious Basterds in full gory for afters.

Babies were born and many came to have a look at the squidges and celebrate their births.

Melting butter with sugar and cocoa in a "heat-proof bowl" over "a pot of barely simmering water" Roasting Peacans
Brownie mixing bowl A slab of squidgey brownies to help the medicine go down in the most delightful way
People got sick but didn't quite die so at some point, someone had to make squidgey brownies (not derived from aforementioned squidges) to help the medicine go down a wimpy throat in the most delightful way.

Casahana Mooncake Box Casahana Mooncakes: Macha Red Bean, Charcoal Baked Yam, Espresso Chestnut, Bamboo Charcoal Hazelnut
Ninja Mooncake is waitin fer yew The little that was left of the Charcoal Baked Yam Mooncake
And since it was Mid-Autumn Festival, there were frivolous discussions about mooncake packaging (Casahana 喜月堂 was voted Most Likely to Impress Potential In-laws For Least Cold Cash) and new ideas in mooncake studies.

But despite appearances, we live in those times don't we - the almost The End-but-not-quite? Humanity has been living in those times for about 2,000 years.

In his Gospel, Matthew wrote about the one who heralded the beginning of the End. Jesus' genealogy at the start of the Gospel (Matthew 1:1-17) is more than fodder for those dreadful quizzes that come round every year at church Christmas parties; they tell us that Jesus is born into a real family with significant bloodlines: descended from Abraham, Jesus is a true Israelite, and, descended from David, Jesus stands in the line to which God had given the promise of kingship. In fact, he is the culmination of all the promises ever made in the Old Testament. Born of a virgin, he is the Immanuel (the God-with-us) promised by God through Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:24). He is born in Bethlehem, the promised birthplace of the king of the Jews in Micah (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:6). And the infant born in David's royal line is worshipped as such by Gentile magi (Matthew 2:1-12). His Egyptian sojourn means he is the son God calls out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1, Matthew 2:15). And Jesus' victory over the same temptations Israel faced in the wilderness proves he is the true Israel (Matthew 4).

So the long-awaited king has arrived and his kingdom is at hand (Matthew 3:2, 4:17).

And we're only just getting started.

Nothing like this man has ever been seen or would ever be seen even if, despite the pessimistic predictions of the eco-types, the earth trundled along for several trillion more years with space colonies on the moon and on Mars. All eyes on Jesus. And, what? Only four accounts of the most important man in the world? Why quit the saucing and dish up the goss on him already!

No naff no faff then: "Jesus went throughout all Galilee/the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people" Matthew says in 4:23 and again in 9:35.

Woah Einstein, back up a bit and take it slow? This is exactly what Matthew does from 4:24-9:34. Matthew 5-7 is an entire chunk commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount probably because it starts with Jesus ascending the mountain (Matthew 5:1) where he taught the disciples and ends neatly with him descending the mountain after (Matthew 7:28 - 8:1). In this section, Jesus proclaims the good news of what it means for his people that King Jesus has come and Matthew 8-9 describes the manifestation of the king's presence with the healing of every disease and sickness.

The consequences of the arrival of the King are wrapped up in the identity of that King which is itself wrapped up in the prophecies God had been making about the king and his kingdom over a period of thousands of years before he came. These promises were contained in what we moderns call the Old Testament and what New Testamental Jews called the Law and the Prophets. So when Jesus came he said,"Do not think that i have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them" (Matthew 5:17) and, he ends the teaching section known as the Sermon on the Mount by saying, "this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12), he means that world history until the time of his arrival has been one long breath-held wait for him. Okay Barbie, let's go party.

But stay the run on the Louboutin, who's on the guest list?

See Matthew 5:1-16.

(Like any true blue Adam/Eve spawn, I blame the cold medication for everything wrong about/in this post.)

A Trundle Through Sermon on the Mount
Earth Moves Under Feet, Kingdom Comes (Matthew 5-7)
This is the Sound of Inevitability (Matthew 5:1-6)
Breeding - We Hazs It (Matthew 5:7-12)
Coffee, Salt and Light, and the Essence and Use of the Christian (Matthew 5:13-16)
And the Missing Link is Jesus (Matthew 5:17-20)
Perfect Laws for Perfect Relationships (Matthew 5:21-48)
Cakes for Kierkegaard and Sermon on the Mount as Existentialist Answer Perhaps (Matthew 6:1-18)


The Beatitudes, Thomas Watson
Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, D.A. Carson
The Sermon on the Mount, Sinclair B Ferguson
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Teaching Matthew, David Jackman and William Philip
What Jesus Said About Successful Living, Haddon W. Robinson

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At November 04, 2009 5:52 pm , Blogger William D. said...

Interesting conversation and sharing knowledge makes me want to leave a comment on a blog. Its always really cool when you read a blog giving constructive advice – like this one! There are so many new ways of doing things its hard to keep up sometimes. I'm working on my web site, offering Tibet travel service, general tibet travel packages and guidance in the form of clubs, blogs and newsletters – its hard to know all the do's and dont's when you first start!

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and advice.


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