[The Gospel According to…] Matthew 4:23, 9:35

Bible opened to Matthew 4 with Pascha and Green & Black's 70% cacao dark chocolate

Today’s passages: Matthew 4, Matthew 9:32-38

The word “gospel” first shows up in Matthew 4:23, just after Jesus has had his wilderness showdown with the Devil and called his first disciples. Matthew writes: “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” He repeats this statement nigh-verbatim in Matthew 9:35. The gospel here is associated with two things: the Kingdom, and healing. If a man shows up and starts curing diseases, especially in a world without modern medicine, you can readily see why such a thing would be good news!

We can infer that if you want to look more closely at the gospel, look at the kingdom of heaven–and we’re in luck, because of all the gospels, Matthew deals most prominently with the kingdom of heaven. The phrase first shows up in John the Baptist’s preaching, before Jesus has even begun his ministry; John tells his audiences, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (3:2). Repentance means simply to turn away from the evil you’ve been committing. It’s good news that there is forgiveness, that God gives us an opportunity to turn around and leave our sin behind. John also delivers a stern warning to the Pharisees that God reserves judgment for those who refuse to acknowledge their sin and turn from it. Later on, I expect we’ll see more on how Jesus relates to God’s forgiveness and mercy, but I’ll let Matthew speak for himself as we work through his gospel.

But now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the Chocolate Showdown!

Chocolate Showdown: Pascha and Green & Black's pit their 70% cacao dark chocolate head-to-head against each other in a battle for the ages

The Pascha bar has a balance of milk-chocolate-esque sweetness and dark cacao bitterness, but Green & Black’s has more of a bite to it, more pungency. For sheer strength of flavor, I’m giving this one to Green & Black’s, but if you’re a little more into that sweet taste rather than a chocolatey kick in the teeth, Pascha’s your bar.

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