Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Psalm 108 – “My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart! Wake up, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song” (108:1-2).
“I will sing your praises among the nations for your unfailing love is higher than the heavens” (108:3-4).
“I will divide up Shechem with joy. I will measure out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh, too. Ephraim, my helmet, will produce my warriors, and Judah, my scepter, will produce my kings. But Moab, my washbasin, will become my servant, and I will wipe my feet on Edom and shout in triumph over Philistia” (108:7-9).
The psalmist clearly prays that the Lord will march with his armies as He has in the past.
Psalm 109 – Slandered and falsely accused, the psalmist here invokes divine judgment: “O God, whom I praise, don’t stand silent and aloof while the wicked slander me and tell lies about me. They surround me with hateful words and fight against me for no reason. I love them, but they try to destroy me with accusations even as I am praying for them! They repay evil for good and hatred for my love” (109:1-5).
“They say, ‘Get an evil person to turn against him. Send an accuser to bring him to trial . . . May his children become fatherless, and his wife a widow’” (109:6-9). “Let no one be kind to him . . . May his family name be blotted out in a single generation” (109:12-13). The psalm becomes a little confusing to me because it ends with the psalmist praying that God might bring these same curses down on the slanderer the psalmist SAYS he has loved.
“May those curses [that he/they brought down on me] become the Lord’s punishment . . . But deal well with me, O Sovereign Lord, for the sake of your own reputation! Rescue me because you are so faithful and good. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is full of pain”” (109:20-22).
Psalm 110 – “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.’” (110:1).
“The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever in the order of Melchjzedek.’ The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you. He will strike down many kings when his anger erupts” (110:4-5).
When the king comes to view the guests, he notices one not “wearing the proper clothes for a wedding” (22:11) and wants to know how he got in. The guest gives no reply, so he has the guest thrown out “’into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen’” (22:13-14).
Most of the parables that follow are straight from Mark. Luke has them all in order too, but this one about the wedding banquet is not in Mark. The story just before the tax collector one in Mark is the story about the vineyard owner who sends his servants to get the owner’s share but who finds they are always mistreated. Luke has a series of banquet stories in chapter 14 of his gospel.
The next story is about how the Pharisees try to trap Jesus. They bring Herodians with them to ask Jesus about whether or not they should pay taxes to the emperor. No precise reference has been accepted as to who these Herodians are – probably Pharisees supportive of Herod’s dynasty? But Jesus is “aware of their malice” (22:18) and says “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax” (22:18-19). It has the emperor’s head and title on it—so he says, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (22:21).
The Sadducees challenge Jesus on his understanding of the resurrection. They ask him how it will be in heaven for a woman who has had seven husbands (brothers having died one after another). Jesus tells them that “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (22:30). As for the resurrection, Jesus says, God is not the God of the dead but of the living.
The Pharisees send a lawyer to confound Jesus. The lawyer asks him which commandment is the greatest. He repeats the shema and adds “’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (22:40).
Jesus asks the Pharisees what they think of the Messiah. He asks whose son he is. They say the Messiah is David’s son. “’Then why does David, speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, call the Messiah “mu Lord”? For David said, “The Lord said to my Lord, sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies beneath your feet.”’ (22:43-44). No one was able to answer him and they stop asking him questions.