Blog Post 5: Question #4

The wedding feast parable portrays a very different account in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In Matthew’s Gospel, the King preparing the wedding feast, upon hearing that none of his guests will be able to attend the event he had been meticulously planning, sent soldiers to murder the guests and destroy their homes. In Luke’s Gospel, the man planning the great feast performs no such act of aggression, and merely invites as many people as possible so that he might fill his house. Furthermore, although the King from Matthew’s account of the parable also invites many other guests, he has the man who does not arrive in the correct attire thrown out.

I believe that the account of this parable in the Gospel of Matthew has been turned into an allegory to a negative outcome. The point of the story is to be a generous individual and to provide for all those who are needing nourishment. The parable of the wedding feast in Matthew’s Gospel does truly deliver this message, as it abandons the social context associated with the parable and is more focused on the content of the “event” itself. Matthew’s Gospel was written for a Jewish-Christian audience while the Gospel of Luke was written for a Gentile audience. This could certainly be an explanation as to why the parable in Luke’s account was more forgiving and less harsh than that found in Matthew’s account. 

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Blog Post 4: The Messianic Secret of Jesus

Throughout the Gospel of Mark, Jesus strives to keep his various works and miracles from becoming widely known. This is evident in multiple locations in the text, and pops up repeatedly throughout Mark’s gospel. One of the most interesting moments; however, was right after Jesus healed the deaf man. After the miracle, it is stated that “[Jesus] ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it” (Mark 7: 36). Basically, this quote illustrates how even though Jesus knows that people will spread the word about his works, it is still more important to help those suffering. Jesus knows that he will be persecuted and will enter into his death at some time in the future. Therefore, he wants to secure the most time possible to spread his good word and establish a love of God before his passion, and to do so he needs to keep his works relatively hidden from those who would wish harm upon him. Another reason for Jesus wanting to maintain his “messianic secret” could be to discourage a sense of entitlement. As we have discussed before, it is evident that many good people suffer, and often for reasons beyond human comprehension. As such, Jesus does not want to spread a message that any person can immediately relieve his or herself of all suffering by a simple touch by the Messiah. Suffering means that one is destined for heaven, for the point is made in the gospel that those who suffer on Earth will find peace in Heaven, and those who are overly content on Earth will face retribution after death.

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Blog Post #3: Question 1

Based on the readings, it is evident that Amos, although very critical of his fellow people, was only acting in such a way out of love for his kinsmen. Amos had a very special link with God which allowed him to deliver a very specific message of warning to his people. At this time, there was a large amount of corruption within the system of Judges, as well as a lack of respect and kindness towards the poor. Amos wished to see his nation restored to a state in which it was more pure, and symbolic of its righteous and noble God. To do so, Amos becomes more than simply a messenger of God, but one who has been directly involved with God as a consultant, of sorts, between the people and God (Heschel, 21).

I do not believe that there are any prophets that can be compared to Amos in the World today. Amos performed his works out of compassion and a desire to have God forgive the many transgressions of his people. Certainly, there are predictors of the future and doomsayers in the World today; however, they lack the good-hearted intent that drove Amos to become so heavily involved with God on a personal level. It is this defining characteristic that sets Amos apart from the attention-seeking “prophets” of our modern age.

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Blog Post 2: Songs of Moses and Miriam

The songs detailed in Exodus 15 portray God in a way that is not generally a primary assumption of His character. The songs describe how “the LORD is a warrior,” not the peace-seeking and forgiving God that we are used to hearing about (Exodus 15:3). Other phrases, such as “By the might of your arm they became silent like stone,” referring to the inhabitants of Canaan, further the characterization of God as a very powerful and almost violent being (Exodus 15:16).  The songs truly describe the state of awe that the Israelites are in after having escaped from the Egyptians and having crossed the Red Sea and, as such, the songs are very praise-based and focused on thanking God for his deed and reveling in their “victory.”

It seems that these songs are certainly meant to praise the God of Moses and the Israelites who saved these people from their subjugation. However, this emancipation did not come free. God then charges the Israelites to uphold his Ten Commandments, in addition to other traditions and specifications. God initially reached out to Moses and agrees to take the Israelites as “his people” (Exodus 7). In essence, God has saved the Israelites and the Israelites are immeasurably grateful, yet they must now live their lives as dictated by God now that he has had such a direct impact on their lives.

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Blog Assignment 1: Question 1

There are, indeed, a fair amount of similarities between the creation story in Genesis and the story told by Enuma Elish; however, the differences are far more numerous and enlightening between the two texts. Genesis describes how God was alone when he decided to create the Earth. This is similar to Enuma Elish, yet in the latter there were two deities present. Instead of creating a world, like God did in Genesis, these two gods created more deities. By doing so, Enuma Elish becomes much more political in nature than the story told by Genesis. It speaks of a divine assembly of gods that was eventually created after the first two deities began creating more and more gods. Eventually, one of the original two deities named Tiamat planned an uprising against the assembly after to the murder and usurpation of her husband. One deity, Kingu, had actually convinced Tiamat to perform the uprising after the death of her husband. There was so much corruption and sin even in heaven, it seems as though Enuma Elish even charges gods with vice. This is highly contradictory to the perfect garden that God created and entrusted to two humans in Genesis.

                Although the stories do differ a great amount there are some very important similarities. The most important of which is that each text explains how humans live in imperfection. For instance, in Genesis, Eve eventually eats the forbidden fruit. In Enuma Elish, Marduk creates humans by using the blood of the traitor who convinced Tiamat to rebel in the first place. Both stories are basically implying that humans are, by nature, sinful.

               It is fairly evident that the writer of Genesis had some knowledge of Enuma Elish; however, it is completely understandable how certain aspects cannot be radically different between creation stories. We cannot fault the writer of Genesis for describing a perfect God who created the Earth; it is such a universal ideal. Furthermore, we can assume by the stark differences between the two stories that Genesis was by no means meant to be plagiarized, but an original piece.   

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