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Making Money on Jesus 122911
In Matthew 12 today we hear the story of Jesus being brought to a conversation with his mother and siblings. Obviously, Jesus is saying that when we become disciples we adopt the new family, the new family called Christians.
Another commentary writer claims that in this scripture what we really see is the family of Jesus pleading with him not to give away his miracle healings and fortune-telling tricks, but to sell his services to the ill, the poor and those seeking better fortunes in the world.
I don’t know which explanation of the story is better, but both are close to the same point: that making money on Jesus is not the point.
We all hear this story on occasion. People ask how much our church pays its pastor (we don’t pay ministers!), or how much we pay the music director (we don’t pay her, she does it for love). I suppose there are good reasons to pay church professionals to do our work, and I wish more of us could gain access to M. Div (Masters of Divinity) courses to study.
I realize that most modern Christian churches advocate a professional corps of highly trained ministers, including our own denomination, Mennonite Church USA. But maybe we should rethink professionalism in light of Jesus Christ, and in light of this passage of scripture.
Pray for peace
1Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
2Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
3Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
4Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
5Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.
6He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
7Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
8fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
9Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
10Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!
11Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
12Young men and women alike, old and young together!
13Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
14He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord!
5And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength— 6he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
7Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, “Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” 8Thus says the Lord: In a time of favor I have answered you, on a day of salvation I have helped you; I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages; 9saying to the prisoners, “Come out,” to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.” They shall feed along the ways, on all the bare heights shall be their pasture; 10they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them down, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. 11And I will turn all my mountains into a road, and my highways shall be raised up. 12Lo, these shall come from far away, and lo, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Syene.
13Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones. 14But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.” 15Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
46While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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