Tag Archives: Matthew 23

Matthew 23, Progressive Pictures of Jesus

Christ by Odilon Redon

Christ by Odilon Redon, 1887

What do you see when you visualize Jesus Christ?

The stained glass Tiffany windows in  the sanctuary of my childhood church (First Presbyterian, Newport News) depicted Jesus in pastoral settings.   One image showed Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) with a dog under his chair.  “The dog was a favorite artist’s device for representing a household of peace and harmony,” according to First Presbyterian historian Ed Peeples.

Chapel Mural

Mural in the Children’s Wing, Williamsburg Community Chapel

There is no stained-glass Jesus where I worship now, but we do have a mural in the Children’s wing showing Jesus in Williamsburg, helping a little boy with leg braces to stand in a wheelchair.  With a dog.  The mural was painted by one of the gifted staff artists from Busch Gardens.  Many of us conjure up these types of pastoral pictures when we think about Jesus.

While these are indeed beautiful images, Isaiah painted a more accurate picture—700 years before Jesus appeared on earth. Continue reading

Matthew 23, Laying Down the Law

False Glory

False Glory by Odilon Redon, 1885

If you want to understand the New Testament you have to understand the Apostle Paul. And you can’t get very far into Paul’s writings before you come across one of his main themes—abuse of “the Law.”

Just what is or was the Law, and why does Paul devote so much energy and passion to it?  Before you get to Paul however, it is important to understand what Jesus himself actually said about the Law.  The identity of Jesus is tightly resolved if we understand the answer to this question.

Lee Strobel describes the prophesies that could only be fulfilled by Jesus. Mathematically, the odds that anyone who ever lived could fulfill only 48 of the Old Testament messianic prophesies were calculated by Dr. Peter Stoner to be one chance in ten to the 137th power—unimaginably small.  Add to that the Messiah had to color between the lines, so to speak, in fulfilling and not changing the Law, and you have what Lee Strobel would call the unmistakable “fingerprint of Christ.”

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