The lens of Covenant

sermon-on-the-mountThe gospel text for this Wednesday of the 10th Week is take from the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew’s gospel: 

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.18 Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19) 

Warren Carter (Matthew and the Margins) has these introductory comments about the entire sermon:  Continue reading

The Seed that Grows Itself

parable_SowerMark alone records this parable: He said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land  and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”  (Mark 4:26-29)

Placed beyond the parable of the Sower (vv.1-9) and its explanation, it is easy for the significance of this to be lost in the fast-paced narrative of Mark’s gospel. In the parable of the Sower, the meaning of the interim time before the fruits appear has a positive sense: the time of waiting is a time for sowing, an opportunity for seed to be scattered in the field. There is also a teaching that in that interim period there will be barriers, resistance, and problems encountered in the sowing of the seed as it comes to fruition.

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