I’m grateful that one of three main elements of the lords prayer is the constant battle with sin, and that the father’s forgiveness is so closely aligned with forgiving others. There is honouring God and seeking his kingdom, our daily needs and forgiving, being forgiven and avoiding temptation. Jesus expects us to be coming to the father every day with a story of failure, we are sinful creatures.
And coming off the expectation of daily needing forgiveness, Jesus also recommends “shameless audacity”. I love the sense of adventures with God, not necessarily the ones he had planned. There are all sorts of things to be found, doors to be opened, good things waiting to be asked for. The indwelling spirit means makes prayer this sort of shared, collaborative creative endeavour.
These knock/seek/find phrases are often used for finding christianity in the first place. And that’s OK, but this analogy is for regulars in the fathers neighbourhood, asking seeking and knocking all their lives. At midnight, for a loaf of bread, because someone just turned up, and the shops are closed. He seems to be saying be spontaneous, have moonshots, fly kites, be creative. I gave you autonomy and free will, use it and I will run with you. There are a whole bunch of spirit inspired experiences waiting to happen. This is a more exciting gospel than the one which leads to finding it, and just stays there.
The parable is how a pseudo religious person is worse than one with no religion, I think. Because the person is a house, Jesus kicks the devil out of the house and it is clean, but it’s unoccupied, which means Jesus is not living there… And the devil then comes back stronger than before.
The sign of Jonah seems to be about peoples capacity for unbelief… They have God with them in human form and it is still not enough. The sign of Jonah is the condemnation of the people who believed on much less proof.
Another quite hard parable, the lamp. It is easiest understood as an attack on the Pharisees. Jesus is the lamp… God’s salvation in full view. The Pharisees are seeing the lamp with bad eyes… Those who look and look but do not see. So they are full of dark. There is a lamp on the table shining brightly, but there is not a light in their hearts.. The spirit or lack of it, that is dark
Woe to you!
So then come the list of open bads… Saying how the Pharisees and teachers are bad in various ways.
“But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you”. Jesus had no illusion that religious leaders can be motivated by greed. God made the inside of the cup as well as the outside. Don’t just clean the outside… Great analogy.
You can’t fool God.
They tithe down to the herbs. But what do they neglect? Justice and love.
I can really see the love of the good seats in the synagogue and the respectful greetings in the marketplace… The cosines, the goodness. These are good people!
They will be held responsible for the killing is all gods previous messengers, from Abel to zechariah.
So insulting. When Jesus says they are like an unmarked grave, he means you get decided by talking to them like coming close to routing human flesh even though they look normal to the naked eye.
They object to how insulting it is and Jesus just goes further. The essence of religious hypocrisy is that they not only don’t enter the kingdom themselves but hinder others from entering.