Questions from Urban Seed’s Vetamorphus Peer Group Week 1 and 2: Matthew 1-13
Meets at “The Den” in Melbourne’s Chinatown, Wednesday arvo’s!
Interpretation Hint of the Week
Break text up into:
1. Episodes: Movie scenes for a DVD cover! Find names or keywords for each scence. What connections can you find between scenes? Why structure the story like this? What does the structure of these scenes suggest about meaning?
2. Characters: Why are characters characterised in this way?
3. Locations: Why is the story set here? What are the meanings behind the locations used?
Questions and Clarifications:
Chapter 4: How can Jesus be “lead” into temptation by the devil. What power has Satan got over Jesus?
Certainly some otherwise it wouldnt be much of a temptation would it? Jesus is offered ways out right through his ministry. Ways of avoiding the cross. Peter in Mark 8, The Garden of Gesthemane….etc…..But Read 4:1, who’s leading who? He was led by the Spirit. He was not led there because he had fallen out of God’s will. Jesus was led to the desert to discern the one true voice that would keep him true to his mission.So why is it that the Spirit, not the devil, leads Jesus into the wilderness to be tested (Matthew 4:1)?
Matthew’s world wasn’t as troubled as we might be by the idea that Jesus needed to be tested to prove himself fit for the apocalyptic struggle at hand. The Greek diabolos is not the devil we love to hate. Clarence Jordan suggests an unusual etymology for the word diabolos (devil) in this passage. He says in The Substance of Faith:
“‘Diabolos’ comes from dia meaning ‘around through’ and bollo meaning ‘to throw.’ Our English word ‘ball’ comes from that. Diabolos means ‘one who throws things about’—one who stirs things up—gets them confused. The work of the devil is just to get us muddled.”
The father of lies, the one who scatters them about, the slanderer, the accuser of the saints, then, is really the Great Confuser.Even the term Jesus uses—Satan or the Prince of Demons (Matthew 12:24)—can be translated, simply, as adversary.
The adversary reaches back to Job, where the accuser (Hebrew ha-satan) resembles the spies kings employed to sniff out sedition. These ancient narcs had equivalents in the pantheon—lesser gods who tested people’s fidelity. So when Satan suggests that Job’s fidelity be tested, he’s just doing his job. (ideas from Nancy Hastings Sehested, a Baptist pastor from USA)
5:1- What does it mean to be Poor in Spirit, Meek?
5:31 If you look lustfully at someone is this adultery and therefore grounds for divorce according to the sermon on the mount?
6.25 If Jesus says we shouldnt worry about things why are people poor and don’t have enough to live on? Why do Christian people who are faithful often not have enough to live on? What does it then mean to “Seek first the kingdom…..”
Chapter 9: Is it enough for your friends to have faith for you in order to be healed? What is the nature of faith and how can our faith/prayers make a difference for other people and situations in the world?
What is the significance of how the disciples are characterised? Who are Zealots, who are Tax Collectors, why is Judas introduced as a betrayer, Why are there 12?
What does it mean to say “the Kingdom of God is near”? What is the nature of the “Kingdom”? How does Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus Kingdom differ from his portrayal of Herods Kingship that we looked at last week?
10:34-36 Why is it so controversial and cause such division?