Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Parable Of The Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Prodigal Son Through The Lense of mMatthew 23:15

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

I've been on a camp with young adults called 'Going Further' on Great Barrier Island for the past week. Each day started with a Bible study and it was interesting that on one day in my personal daily readings I READ THE PASSAGE IN Matthew's gospel called the seven woes for the Pharisees and then in the morning as a community we studied the parable of the prodigal son (and the older brother... as it is called in the NRSV).
I wondered if after reading Matthew 23:15 with its assertion that the Pharisees were willing to go to great lengths to get even one convert, that they might of been able to issue a amen to the parable of the lost sheep. They may have seen it as an affirmation of their efforts, the lost coin may have bought up some issues with God seen as a women, but I wonder and speculate and throw out there that maybe Jesus was inviting the  Pharisees in to sharpen the contrast and punch line of the final parable.  A bit like Amos with his judgements against Israels neighbours and enemies which had the listeners agreeing and amening with the prophet and opens them up to hear the judgement against Judah itself.
In Matthew Jesus says that the Pharisees do go seeking the lost one, maybe even gentile who wants to become a god fearer, but what is challenged is their attitude their own family. What does it say about our attitude to the lost around us? How we reflect God's grace shown to those who we find 'unclean'...
I'm just throwing it out there... In a disturbing way I find myself hearing Jesus parables for them the position of the Pharisees position, they were the ones who thought they had it sus'ed as God's people... they were the religious ones and just maybe we need to hear Jesus speak to that tendency in all of us.

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