Thursday, February 28, 2008

Matthew (compilation)

If you're new to this blog then here's a PDF document of all my comments regarding the Gospel of Matthew. It's easier to read this way than having to read the blog backwards.

There will also be a short break in my blogging activities. A matter of priorities. I will be back though.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Matthew, chapter 28

1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.
Compare this to the other 3 accounts. Very interesting ... and contradicting.
2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
So when angels come down from heaven that'll cause earthquakes? Why? Dramatic effect? And what's an appearance like lightning? This verse also contradicts its counterparts in the other Gospels.
5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.
That's a quite well informed angel, isn't it?
7 "Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you."
Going? Can't he just teleport or something?
8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.
Eh, weren't they supposed to meet him in Galilee?
10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me."
So the Brethren were not the disciples? Or did Jesus appear to the women only, when they were still running?
12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 and said, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.'
Clever tactic. Trying to discredit the argument before it can be used ... Or rather, since the argument was used at the time the Gospel were written, this was to 'prove' that Scripture knew this future accusation already from the beginning ...
15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.
As if reasonable people wouldn't come to this conclusion by their own ...
16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.
Didn't they meet him already in verse 8? And why did they doubt? Didn't the resurrected Jesus look like the Jesus they knew?
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."
Given from the Father, I guess. That Trinity concept just doesn't hold up.
9 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
And from that day on Christians are ringing on doors and annoying people ... Thank you, J!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Matthew, chapter 27 - part 2

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.
One shouldn't forget that the condemned didn't have to carry the whole cross (how would they have been able to do that?) but only the upper 't-part'. But it seems Jesus (already?) was too weak to do that.
35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Yet another detail invented to 'fulfill' a prophecy.
44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
Unlike in other Gospels both thieves mock him.
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
So Jesus has finished his job and could go home again at last. The ghost who descended upon him during his baptism has left the human body again when he did.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
Some more supernatural mumbojumbo to 'prove' that it was indeed an important figure that had just 'died'.
52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
That would have been the first recorded instance of zombies, the night of the living dead indeed. But funny that these zombies haven't been mentioned in any other text of any historian outside the Bible ...
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"
So if he's the Son of God and thus immortal what's the big deal of about killing him? He could just come back over and over again like the Highlander ...
55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs.
Well, somebody had to cook for the guys and ask for directions, right?
60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
So if he was able to roll this great stone to the door I guess it wouldn't be that impossible to roll it away again ... ?
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.'
Yeah, because, geez, one forgets silly claims like that so quickly ...
64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."
Eh, and what about last night ... ? Why would the disciples wait to get the body only the second night instead of immediately?
66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
Why didn't they look INTO the tomb and confirm that the body was still there?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Matthew, chapter 27 - part 1

1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death.
So the author wants to make it very clear as to who's responsible in his view: all the chief priests and elders of the people
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."
What did Judas expected them to do? Or did he think they would just imprison Jesus? And since he repented, why couldn't God forgive him? Assuming that God didn't remote-control Judas the whole time anyway in order to get his plan to get Jesus crucified going.
5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and
hanged himself.
What exactly would he have wanted to accomplish by killing himself? Be judged sooner?
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: "They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me."
So this whole story of buying a field was only added to 'fulfill' another prophecy. Very convincing. Especially since the author got some of the 'prophecy' mixed up (well, actually totally made the prophecy up again). The 30 pieces of silver and the potter stuff isn't found in Jeremiah but in Zecharia: 12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. 14 Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. No mention of a field there. Nor of a betrayal. On the other hand you do find a reference to buying a field in Jeremiah: 9 And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. But that's a different field of course and the sum of money isn't right either. So the author has simply messed up and mixed two quotes that didn't have anything to do with each other and created a new story, eh, 'prophecy'.
11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.
Bad idea to acknowledge to a Roman pro-consul that you consider yourself being the King of the Jews (even though the author makes it look like Pilate didn't care).
12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?" 14But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
He didn't really like to speak or defend himself at all at the time it seems. This also contradicts other accounts of this process.
17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"
The interesting thing here is that Bar-Abbas means literally 'son of a father' so the people had to choose between the son of a father and the alleged Son of The Father. What were the odds?
19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him."
Uh, if that's true then why didn't God just tell Pilate this in a dream? Sounds more like a dramatic ploy by the author.
22 "What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!"
Did the author know that verses like this would be the basis of all future anti-semitism by Christians?
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!"
A very improbable scene since Pilate was a brutal and ruthless governor. Why should he act different with Jesus, yet another Jew who claimed to be the messiah?
25 All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!"
So the Jews themselves were responsible for all the tragedies that their people had to endure in the following centuries, up to the Holocaust. I guess that's the price you have to pay when you want God's son to be killed ...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Matthew, chapter 26

6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. 9 "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor." 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
More or less the same story as in Mark with some differences though. But in both stories Jesus likes to be pampered with very expensive perfume and doesn't care about the poor.
18 He replied, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.' " 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
Now that's one precise order! 'A certain man' ...
23 Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
Why? Isn't that man actually helping to succeed Jesus in his mission to get him nailed to the cross so Mankind can be redeemed? Somebody has to do the dirty job ...
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." 27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."
The pseudo-cannibalistic ritual again.
31 Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: " 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' 32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."
Does that mean that the disciples HAD to fall away? Otherwise Jesus' prophecy wouldn't have been fulfilled ...
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
Why is Jesus' soul overwhelmed with sorry? Isn't he supposed to be God and know that he won't really die?
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."
Either Jesus is schizophrenic or the Son and the Father are indeed two separate, independent beings.
53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"
Not one legion, not five, not ten, no, twelve legions of angels. Which would be, if I'm correct, about 40.000 angels? Not bad. And what are these angels the rest of the time when they're not fighting? Playing harp?
55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled."
Jesus admits that everything has been predestined. So everything was but a big show.
67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, "Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?"
Fair question.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Matthew, chapter 25

14 "For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them."
So having slaves was quite ok for the Jews.
29 "For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away."
Jesus would be the ideal candidate for the Republican Party with speeches like this.
30 "Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
So much for Christian compassion then ...
31 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne."
So the Son on Man will be coming on a flying throne? Now that must be quite a show!
34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me;I was in prison, and you came to Me.'"
So it's good deeds that qualify your for Heaven? That contradicts later concepts where the belief in Jesus as God has become a prerequisite ...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Matthew, chapter 24

29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS ILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
This is an extract of Jesus' big doomsday speech in this chapter. But this again clearly shows that he astronomical knowledge was very limited. The stars, being distant suns, cannot just fall from the sky. And who or what would be able to shake the sun or the moon? And how?
30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
So the Son of Man will be like the Silver Surfer?
31 "And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the
A heavenly concert with angels playing trumpets? Or will all the angels play one great trumet? And where exactly does the sky start and where does it end?
36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Another statement of Jesus contradicting the concept of the Trinity. And another proof that he didn't think that the Son and the Father were the same.
42 "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming."
Jesus, being an apocalyptic preacher, thought of course that the end was imminent and only a matter of (short) time.
44 "For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will."
He told his disciples to be ready since he expected the Return of the Son of Man during their lifetime.
50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, 51 and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Is the cutting into pieces really necessary? Wouldn't simply have him killed or stoned be enough? Why this gory imagery, sweet Jesus?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Matthew, chapter 23

1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them."
Another example of Jesus stating that people should follow the Law of Moses.
9 "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven."
Jesus arguing against standard family traditions again!
14 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
This verse is not found in the earliest-known manuscripts. Seems like the copyist felt like adding one more accusation.
33 "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?
Jesus could talk himself into a rage it seems.
34 "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city
This is probably what actually happened at the time when the author was writing, so he put it as a 'prophecy' into Jesus' mouth in order to 'motivate the troops' so to speak.
37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
Seems like the prophets of the new religion weren't really popular in Jerusalem.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Matthew, chapter 22

10 "Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. 11 "But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless. 13 "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."
I'm not sure that this allegory portrays the biblical God in a good light ...
29 But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
At least there won't be any domestic quarrels in Heaven ...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Matthew, chapter 21

6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, 7 and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats.
Must have been awkward to sit on both the donkey and the colt!
9 The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!"
Note that they don't call him Lord but the one who comes IN THE NAME of the Lord. This is understandable since this Gospel is trying to convert Jews and it would have been blasphemous for them to suggest that a human could be God.
10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?"
In Greek this could also be interpreted like a slight earthquake was happening at that time, thus confirming that Jesus was somebody special.
12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.
So the Prince of Peace is kicking some ass again! Do also note that this story comes at a different point in John's chronology of the alleged events.
18 Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19 Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." And at once the fig tree withered.
So even Jesus gets angry when he's hungry and when he doesn't have anything to eat? How about having brought a picnic? Didn't he see this coming? ;) But this whole episode is an allegory again anyway of course.
23 When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?" 24 Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things."
Jesus was a good debater (and potential politician): He 'answers' their question by asking them a question. I wonder why he can't simply say by which authority he does these things. Probably for reasons of blasphemy.
27 And answering Jesus, they said, "We do not know." He also said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
Which is kind of dickish by Jesus since it was a trick question in the first place.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Matthew, chapter 20

8 "When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.' 9 "The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.' 13 "But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius?14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I have you. 15 Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?' 16 "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
That's what I call fairness and justice! Not. I might understand though the point that Jesus is trying to make but then it was a rather bad analogy because those that have worked more should also have gotten more.
23 He said to them, "My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father."
Another indication that Jesus clearly didn't think he was identical to the Father. Take that again, Trinity.
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 "It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Another jab at the Gentiles.
30 And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" 31 The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" 32 And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" 33 They said to Him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened." 34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
If he was so compassionate then why did he have to ask and why didn't he simply just heal everyone?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Matthew, chapter 19

3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" 4 And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 5 and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHERAND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? 6 "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
So if it's God who joins together couples then I'd like to know his criteria. And why he selects abusing husbands or cheating wives for some people ... And this also means then that women who get beaten by their alcoholic husbands are not allowed to divorce. Which is a rather new invention anyway since women didn't have that right in the past in the first place.
7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?" 8 He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way."
Jesus, or rather the author, starts spinning and reinterpreting the old definitions made in the Torah in order to justify this new emerging form of Judaism, later called Christianity.
12 "For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."
So being an eunuch is an ideal to strive for? Oh, well, thank you but no ...
23 And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 "Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?" 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
What is this supposed to mean? That it's God anyway who will define later on who will enter Heaven and who won't on some rather arbitrary, vague criteria?
27 Then Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" 28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."So there will be some sort of court room in the Heavens where the Apostles will sit as judges on thrones? Wow, that makes a lot of sense again. And it also shows that Jesus' world view was rather limited since he only referred to the twelve tribes of Israel and thus the Jews. No words of other people.29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life."
Yeah, because who cares about family?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Matthew, chapter 18

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Why would there be a hierarchy in Heaven in the first place? And based on what?
5 "And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
That's quite a drastic image for the alleged Prince of Peace. And why would drowning be better? And compared to what?
8 "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire. 9"If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.
Let's hope Jesus spoke symbolically here ... And if my eye causes me to stumble how do I know which one to pluck out? Did the left or the right eye make me stumble?
15 "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17 "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
And here the anti-Gentile bias is obvious again.
19 "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven."
Another empty promise. Or haven't there ever been two Christians agree on eliminating cancer for example?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Matthew, chapter 17

15 "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 "I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him." 17 And Jesus answered and said, "You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me."
So the disciples didn't believe enough to cure that boy? That's surprising. Why did they doubt?
18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.
Oh, these demons. Always hiding in people and making them sick!
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" 20 And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
Why would the disciples of Jesus have little faith? Especially since apparently a tiny little faith was enough to move mountains. And if that little faith is needed then I wonder why nobody ever was able to move mountains by faith or do other impossible things ...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Matthew, chapter 16

11 "How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
The Apostles really weren't the quickest minds around ...
20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the
Maybe doing less miracles would also be a good way to remain secret ...
22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." 23 But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
Peter worries for Jesus and gets called Satan therefore. Ok ...
28 "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
Another empty promise. Or we've got some very old people running around somewhere.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Matthew, chapter 15

1 Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 "Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."
Whether a religious ritual or not, it would always seem to be a good idea to wash your hands before eating ...
19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders."
Seems like Jesus wasn't an expert in human biology either since the evil thoughts etc come out of the brain, and not the heart.
22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed." 23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, "Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us." 24 But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" 26 And He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 27 But she said, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." 28 Then Jesus said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once.
This story clearly shows the author's dislike for Gentiles:
  • Jesus ignored the woman's pleas at first
  • The Apostles ask Jesus to send her away because they feel annoyed
  • Jesus says he was only sent to the Jews
  • He compares Gentiles to dogs
  • He only heals the woman's daughter when she acknowledges the superiority of Judaism
34 And Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?" And they said, "Seven, and a few small fish."
The magical/symbolical number SEVEN again.
37 And they all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, seven large baskets full.
And even the left-overs are enough to fill SEVEN large baskets. Random chance? I think not ;)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Matthew, chapter 14

1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus, 2 and said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him."
So raising from the dead and having miraculous powers really were nothing too really freak out about at the time.
19 Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. 21 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.
The first recorded mass cloning experiment.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.
So Jesus is having a walk on the water at between 3 and 6 a.m. in the morning? Seems more like a dream of somebody to me ...
35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36 and they implored
Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.
The magical cloak again!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Matthew, chapter 13

2 And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. 3 And He spoke many things to them
in parables
He must really have had a loud voice ...
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" 11 Jesus answered them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted."
Uh, what's that supposed to mean? He talks to the ordinary people in code so that they can't know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven? Why would he do that and why would he talk to them then in the first place?
12 "For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him."
That doesn't sound too nice either, does it?
16 "But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear."
And yet the Apostles often seem slow and dim, and not be able to understand much of what Jesus is saying ...
19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart."
So the dumb will fall for the devil? But does anyone choose to be dumb and not to understand something? And weren't the poor in spirit blessed because theirs is the kingdom of heaven?
51 "Have you understood all these things?" They said to Him, "Yes." 52 And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old."
Seems like the scribe who wrote this text had a good opinion of himself ...
55 "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 "And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?"
So much for Jesus' being an only child.
57 And they took offense at Him But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household." 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.
Seems like the presence of skeptics has an influence of the miracle abilities ... just like today!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Matthew, chapter 12

15 But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, 16 and warned them not to tell who He was.
As we know from previous accounts he probably wasn't very persuasive and those who got healed told just about everyone what had happened ...
22 Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw.
Ah, these demons. Always causing these illnesses. We really need more exorcists again.
30 "He who is not with Me is against Me"
Now we know where George W. Bush got that line from ... his favorite 'philosopher'! And that statement is dumb in the first place because there's always the third option: I don't care.
31 "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven."
Seems like there are a lot of people who won't be forgiven (see Blasphemy Challenge). And if the Spirit represents the female then why, oh, why are women always so sensitive?? ;)
43 "Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 "Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 "Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation."
Demons have houses and live there?
46 While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. 47 Someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You." 48 But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, "Who is My mother and
who are My brothers?" 49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He
said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! 50 "For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother."
Jesus definitely wasn't a family guy. Why wouldn't he want to see his mother and brothers?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Matthew, chapter 11

11 "Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
So he didn't consider himself to be born of a woman? And John the Baptists may be the greatest now but it seems like in Heaven he will be quite small. How does that make sense?
25 At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.
Seems like God doesn't like the wise and intelligent much. That explains a lot ...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Matthew, chapter 10

1 Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
So his superpowers were transferable? But it seems like the disciples couldn't transfer them to their disciples and so on? Otherwise why don't the Pope and the Bishops have them today? Oh, and Judas got those powers as well. Either Jesus didn't know that Judas was going to be the 'bad guy' or he didn't care at that point since Judas helped healing and casting out demons.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. So unlike Paul Jesus focussed on the Jews, not the Gentiles. In this story Jesus is described as a Jew wanting to correct Jewish behavior.8 "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
Raising the dead was really something quite ordinary at the time.
9 "Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.
So they shouldn't earn money but live from the support of those that they helped. Quite hippie-like again.
23 "But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.
So the Apostles are still going through the cities of Israel ... ?
24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25 "It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master."
So it's obvious that the Jews had slaves. That sounds very moral and loving to me ...
27 "What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.
That's a uncommon image: Jesus referring to himself as speaking in the darkness.
34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 "For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; 36 and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD."
Interesting words from the so-called Prince of Peace!
37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
He's not really the family guy, is he? That's probably because even his mother and his brothers declared him crazy at some point.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Matthew, chapter 9

15 And Jesus said to them, "The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
I have to admit that Jesus had a healthy view here: Let's enjoy the party while it lasts! It wont be forever.
20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; 21 for she was saying to herself, "If I only touch His garment, I will get well." 22 But Jesus turning and seeing her said, "Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well." At once the woman was made well.
Faith in the magic cloak heals the woman! If only more people nowadays would have such faith. Doctors would go out of business.
29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, "It shall be done to you according to your faith." 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: "See
that no one knows about this!" 31 But they went out and spread the news about
Him throughout all that land.
So much for Jesus' authority. Seems like his sternness didn't make too much impression. But it was naive anyway. Who wouldn't notice blind people that could suddenly see again?
32 As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. 33 After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel."
Note to mute people: Your problem is because of a demon. Go to an exorcist.'Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel'? What about his previous miracles? But ok, 24h news channel didn't exist yet.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Matthew, chapter 8

1 When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. 2 And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." 3 Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
Well, it's nice that Jesus was indeed willing to heal him. And why wouldn't he? I'd heal people too if I had that super-power. But what I don't get is this: Jesus walks around in the mountains, large crowds following him. He then there heals a leper but tells him not to say anything!? What about the multitudes who followed him? Didn't they catch this healing?
16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.
The demons really were omnipresent at the time there. But it seems they've gone out of business since. And, again, too but for the people who are ill today that there isn't such a miracle worker walking around anymore ...
21 Another of the disciples said to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." 22 But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."
Wow, that's respectful and nice again! Follow me and forget about your dead father!
28 When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.
This is the same 'casting-demons-into-pigs' story with all the related problems that we've already seen in Mark 5. But this time it's two madmen, not one. Another discrepancy between the Gospels.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Matthew, chapter 7

1 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you."
Another quote that a lot of Christians seem to have forgotten. They're quite keen on judging people that do not adhere to their views or values ... Why don't they simply let their God judge those people?

14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."
Why doesn't God make it bigger so that more people will find it? Isn't he interested in saving them?

22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'"
Casting out demons and doing miracles must really have been easy and common at the time. But even that apparently is not enough to be among the chosen ones.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Matthew, chapter 6

1 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Seems like a lot of Christians are unaware of these verses. Especially the self-righteous ones and the televangelists.
19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust
destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."
Capitalist Christians, and the Vatican, seem to ignore this one too.
26 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"
There is this hippie mentality again. You do not need to work, somebody else will feed you! On the other hand, why not try to fast and see if your heavenly Father feeds you ... ?
34 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
I'm all for trying to live more in the moment but not to worry at all is silly, naive and even dangerous. Especially if we're talking food, clothes and homes.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Matthew, chapter 5

1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them
How did speakers in the ancient world address large crowds? How could they make themselves heard over these distances without microphones? Or did they have people who were relying what they've heard to the people standing behind them? This reminds me of the Life Of Brian from Monty Python and 'blessed are the cheesemakers!' ...
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
I can understand the blessings in the subsequent verses quite well and they're nice but this one doesn't make quite sense. Does it mean that the kingdom of Heaven is for the stupid? Or for the unbelievers? Depending on how you interpret 'spirit' ... Or does 'poor in spirit' mean the depressed?
17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
So in this Gospel Jesus is obviously for maintaining the Jewish Law (since this Gospel has been written for potential Jewish converts, not Gentiles). Paul later on nixes this of course and that was a very wise marketing coup: lots of new potential customers outside the very limited core base!
19 "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Seems like Paul and most Christians today will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. Not quite what they expected, right?
27 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Oh, my. If that's adultery then there isn't even one non-adulterer out there I guess. And what about the women? Are they allowed to look at men with lust? But it seems like women didn't have these rights at the time yet anyway ...
29 "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 "If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
So self-mutilation is a way to get to Heaven?
37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil.
It's funny that nowadays 'Yes, yes' means 'Yeah, whatever' and 'no, no' sounds dubious.
39 "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.
Personally I'm all for peaceful resolutions of conflicts but this is maybe a tad bit naive. If some jerk hits you once, he will probably also hit you twice. And how many Christians have sued other people instead of simply giving in? How many Christian presidents have waged wars of retaliation instead of just giving in? Did Bush invite Bin Laden to attack two more towers?
46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Here Jesus, speaking to an audience of potential Jewish converts to his new sect, definitely trashes the tax collectors and Gentiles. While in other Gospels he is friend with the tax collectors and later Paul will recruit the Gentiles for his cause.