Friday, June 13, 2014

A Journey With Matthew - Day 13

Read Matthew 9:27-10:15

Jesus sent the twelve out with the following instructions: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

I wonder what a Biblical literalist does with this text? For me it raises all kinds of questions, since the Christian community obviously became a Gentile more than Jewish Church and Jesus uses a Samaritan as a hero to one of his parables (at least in Luke) and crosses himself into Samaria where he talks with a woman at a well (at least in John.) Even though the most "Jewish" of the Gospels, clearly Matthew knows this. And of course we know that by the time we get to the early Christian community at Jerusalem, the walls are being broken down and there is a place for Samaritans and Gentiles at the table. (See the Acts of the Apostles.) So why doesn't Matthew revise Jesus' remarks to get them in line with what happened?

Jesus gives the disciples an exclusive mission here and he's quite clear: only to the lost sheep of Israel. It raises the question, what changed his mind? And it also raises the question: what changes ours?

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