Welcome to our last day on this passage and portion of the Triad study. The study workbook recommends that on this day I go ahead and read Matthew 12:46-50 from my own perspective, as a disciple of Jesus. It occurs to me that I’ve done that every day this week, necessarily, even as I imagine what someone else’s perspective on the verses might be. By design, I am always in my own head. But some days I write with a point in mind, and other days I just read the passage, start writing, and find out what there is to say. Today? I suppose it’s a little of both.
Welcome back, people who read Chocolate Book. We continue to catch up on this week’s posts, camping out in the final verses of Matthew 12 for the Triad study. I read them again, and they haven’t changed; they are still about spiritual family. The Triad study suggests that on Day Four, we read them from the perspective of Jesus’ disciples, presumably to get a new view and new insights. Perhaps we’ll touch on that, but in order to get the post started, I want to talk about a thought that occurred to me as I was asking myself how the disciples might view Jesus’ words.
Welcome back to the last five verses of Matthew 12, in which Jesus may or may not dunk on his own family. The Triad study workbook suggested that on day one we read the passage with its context, which we did, and for day two it suggested we read the passage from the perspective of its first-century Jewish listeners, which we did not, because we are a rebel who doesn’t play by the rules. For day three, it recommends we read it from the perspective of Jesus’ family themselves. And we’ve got a post to write, so why not?
I’ve never seen more than ten minutes of Home Alone. In 1990, my parents took my brother and me to see it at the theater, but the first ten minutes were so full of family dysfunction and bad child behavior that Mom and Dad decided to walk us out of it. In particular, my mom took issue on many levels with Macaulay Culkin’s declaration “Families suck.” At the time, Home Alone was the latest hot ticket, and I was profoundly disappointed that my parents had dropped the hammer on it. But to this day, I still haven’t seen the full movie, and I honestly think I’m none the worse for it.
Okay, so last week ended kind of catastrophically. Let’s see if we can get back on our feet. This week we return to the Triad study with Matthew 12:46-50, which the study authors chose to illustrate the theme of “family.” What do you think? Can I go the whole week in this passage without actually addressing the theme of “family?” I kid, but all good jokes have a grain of truth to them.
So, what verse does God’s Little Instruction Book have for us today? It’s none other than Proverbs 16:32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” And this is one verse where taking a bird’s-eye view of its context will not lend us any particular insight into its meaning. There do exist passages in Proverbs which are not simply successions of maxims and wise sayings, but chapter 16 is not one of them.
So: I tried to shoehorn a point about modern-day Pharisaism into yesterday’s post, realized halfway through that it had little if anything to do with the text, an wisely scrapped it in favor of other topics. But Jesus’ teaching in today’s chapter actually pertains to the ideas I wanted to talk about. Looks like Pharisaism’s back on the menu, boys.