Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Monday, October 17, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Oct 18, Mt 15-16, Mk 7-8

Today's readings are Mt 15-16, Mk 7-8. Tomorrow's are Mt 17, Mk 9.

In Mt 15, Jesus begins to reveal that many of the traditions of the Jews have been symbolic, such as the various washings. They were there to symbolize the importance of leading a holy lifestyle and avoiding the filth of sin.

Then Matthew goes from teaching that the filth comes from inside, not outside, to the saving of a Gentile, a woman who was considered filthy (Mt 15:10-28). The woman openly confesses the she, a Gentile, is second in the order of receiving the gospel. (The Jews are first.) The woman demonstrates what Jesus is teaching. She is humble. She recognizes Jesus as Lord and bows before Him. Ultimately, Jew or Gentile, Christ is the one who cleanses sin, not the washing of hands! By implication, the lesson is that the pious rituals and behavior are not of use if the heart is not seeking the Lord.

Then Christ heals many (Mt 15:29-31)...the One who cleanses, heals! Sin is not only washed away, but the impact of it is taken away as well and the one who follows Christ is healed of the consequence of sin!

After these profound lessons, Jesus feeds another huge crowd, but this crowd is a crowd of Gentiles (Mark 7:31), this time leaving enough to fill seven baskets. The twelve baskets left over at the first feeding represents the twelve tribes/twelve apostles. The seven baskets, most likely represent the fullness of the gospel going to all the world as seven is the number of completion.

Christ miraculously fed the crowds twice. There are two miraculous feedings in the Old Testament, one by Moses (Ex 16, Num 11) and one by Elishah (2 Kings). The feedings are symbolic of Jesus being the ultimate fulfillment of the promises of Moses and Elijah (the Law and the Prophets). Their presence during the transfiguration shows that He is actually neither of them but the Son of God.

Amid all this, Mark reports that Jesus heals a deaf man and another blind man. Jesus is the one who causes people to hear and see the truth!

With all these incredible events going on, the Pharisees demand a sign! The contrast between the deaf man, the blind man, their healing and the unhearing, unseeing Pharisees is profound.

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