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A Prophet Without Honor April 28, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 13:53-58.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus returns to Nazareth and uses the Old Testament to instruct its denizens. The effectiveness of His instruction astonishes them – yet they do not believe that His authority comes from God. Instead, they are scandalized by Him.

He responds by asserting that their rejection of Him has actually obstructed the manifestation of His supernatural powers in their midst.

Thoughts: Here, we see that Jesus responds to the denizens of Nazareth by not performing miracles in their town. I pondered potential modern-day applications of this point; my current viewpoint is that this passage lacks a clear modern-day application, since:

  • God can choose to perform miracles even when we question the veracity of His omnipotence and love
  • God can also choose to refrain from performing miracles even when we pray fervently for Him to exercise His omnipotence and love.

In this case, we can only assert that God chose to refrain from performing miracles in Nazareth in response to the actions of its residents. That being said, as believers, we should continue to place our trust in Him; even if He does not perform a miracle that we desire, we know that we can rest on His explicit promises in the Scriptures. We are assured of our ultimate salvation and victory over death, and these great promises should sustain us as we continue to wrestle with Him over the miracles that we desire.

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The Return to Nazareth October 17, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 2:19-23.

Summary: In this passage, an angel of the Lord commands Joseph to return to Israel with his family – as Herod has died. Joseph obeys this command; later, he discovers that Archelaus has succeeded Herod as king of the Jews. Although he is afraid of Archelaus, God works through his fears – guiding him and his family to Nazareth. In this way He fulfills another prophecy regarding Jesus.

Thoughts: When I first read this passage, I thought that Joseph’s fear of Archelaus constituted an act of disobedience. Then I perused the passage; my current hypothesis is that the angel merely told Joseph to return to Israel. In light of this general instruction, God gave Joseph sufficient latitude to express his natural fear of Archelaus. God then used that opportunity to fulfill a prophecy that Jesus would be labeled as a Nazarene. On a related note, since this prophecy does not appear in the Old Testament, I wonder if one can find an extra-biblical reference for it.