I don't have anything big to say this week. I guess all of my inspiration was crowded into last week's passages. Still, there is a lot of good in Matthew, just nothing that is particularly touching me right now.
I will say this: Jesus spoke in parables. Even His own disciples didn't know what He was talking about most of the time. So how can we read translations of memories of his words many years later and assume that we know anything? Parables are stories, and as someone who holds an English degree, i can tell you that stories are meant to live inside of you, to be explored and discovered and shared, to be discussed and analyzed and argued and loved, to be whispered at bedtime and shouted from the rooftops. They are not meant to be concrete. They are not supposed to be the same thing to every person, or even the same thing to the same person every time. I've read the Harry Potter books at least a dozen times through, and i still find new things to wonder at each time. Do we think that Jesus is less complex than J. K. Rowling? Do we think that His teachings are easier to understand and pin down?
Instead of trying to find The Answer to all of Jesus' teachings, The Lesson that He wanted to give us, why not accept that the Bible is a living text and that the Holy Spirit still speaks to us today? Why not read the Bible the same way that we read other literature, and understand that its shifting, multifaceted meanings are what make it beautiful and valuable?
Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'it will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; and in the morning, 'it will be foul weather, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and none will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." And He left them and departed.