Monday, May 31, 2010

JTL Series: Revisiting Matthew, Chapter 8

Part 6 of my "Jesus the Letdown" series.
  • Verses 1 - 4: Jesus cures a man of leprosy. Just one man. Not the entire nation, no great big show, just touch the man and he's well. Further, Jesus explicitly instructs the man not to tell anyone. What the heck is that about? Why, after healing the man in front of a crowd of people, would Jesus want the man to keep the healing a secret? Also, why didn't Jesus ever say anything about bacteria and antibiotics? That's how we cure leprosy now. Maybe Jesus was administering antibiotics when he touched the man?
  • Verses 5 - 13: A Roman Centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant, who is sick at home. He is so convinced of Jesus' power that he grovels a bit, then says that Jesus can heal the servant just by giving word that the servant is healed, without the bother of going all the way to the Centurion's house. Jesus makes a mini-speech praising the Centurion's gullibility (faith), then finishes up by warning that Jews aren't shoo-ins for heaven. He's basically saying that you must have faith to get to heaven, not just be a Jew. Fair enough, but why will less gullible (faithful) Jews be "...thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth"? Can't God be more merciful?
  • Verses 21 - 22: a disciple asks Jesus for permission to bury his father. Jesus replies, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead." Now why would Jesus' mission, which would last another three years, be unable to allow this guy to go bury his father? Yet another inexplicable command from Jesus.
  • Verses 23 - 27: Jesus and pals are in a boat in a furious storm. Jesus is asleep. Not sure how one is to sleep during a furious storm, but anyway. Pals are all terrified that the storm will drown them, so they wake him up, apparently hoping that he can do something. Jesus' response? "Calm down guys, I'm God. I will not let anything happen to you." Not. Instead, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" I don't know, this doesn't seem like the most compassionate thing he could have said. I don't give my daughter a hard time when she's afraid of something that I know I can handle.
  • Verse 28 - 34: Jesus exorcises demons from a couple of men, sending the demons into a herd of pigs, resulting in the deaths of all the pigs. What about the owner of those pigs? What if those pigs were all he had? And how about the pigs dying, apparently by drowning? This is not a god of compassion and mercy. I can understand why the townspeople asked him to go away: they were afraid of losing their livelihood to this guy's antics.

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