Thought for the Day: The answer(s) we have to this question here in Matthew’s Gospel is a little different from Mark’s Gospel, and a little more confusing in my opinion. It sounds a little like a politician who is answering a question in a way to keep the base happy, while also hoping to expand the base. In the end, it is confusing more than anything. Maybe the what should not be the focus. Instead, we should note the number. In Matthew, the number five is a sort of holy number. It represents the five books of Torah, and in Matthew’s theology, Jesus is the new Moses – the new law-giver. Jesus’ response here in Matthew’s Gospel to the question about parables has five separate answers (vs. 11-17), giving the impression that parables need to be understood like the Torah. They are the means by which the most central ideas of the Jesus message are communicated. Parables rarely have one ultimate meaning. Their purpose is to continue to entice the reader deeper into a relationship with God and into a life that represents that relationship. Actually, that is a lot like Torah, especially as you read the commentary by Rabbis throughout the centuries. There rarely was just one answer or thought on the matter.
Prayer: Let us never look at scripture as simple or lacking depth. Guide us, Merciful God, to those places where we might glimpse faith beyond cliche-like answers that rarely answer much of anything. Let us make space for and dance with your Spirit as we are engaged by the scriptures. Amen.
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Rev. Bruce Frogge