"The Word is near you; it is in your mouth and on your heart..."
May 27, 2013
Matthew's gospel is arranged in five major sections. The data that Matthew uses from the life of Jesus is packed into these five sections. Each of the five sections has an A part and a B part. The A parts contains material setting forth things Jesus did while the B parts contain long discourses. This is Matthew's way of 'enfleshing' the Word that is Jesus. Mark, Luke and John do not use this arrangement. The shape, order and sequence of the material in each of the four gospels reflect the fact that reports of the works and words of Jesus have come to us through the church differently, in varying contexts, meeting unique circumstances.
God has chosen to make Himself known in and through the messiness of history, of real events, becoming part of the story. The God of the Bible is no spiritualized ghost. How else could God come so near, be so close to us? For that, after all, is the great narrative of our faith. God is with us. This kind of retail, material sort of stuff puts off some people, even some Christian people. It's not spiritual enough.
But God does not send us on an ethereal quest into the spiritual unknown in order to know Him. The Word of God is never disembodied. The Word of God was incarnate in the grace and grit of the man Jesus. That same Word comes, is embedded in paper and ink, gospel speech, church tradition, information, data, splashy baptismal water, the spongy bread and so-so wine of the Lord's Supper. The Christian narrative is about the down-to-earth God keeping it real - for us.
"May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord."