Today, it being Sunday, I checked in with the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship Virtual Monastery. There was a Biblical reading with response. In this case, I’ve decided to comment here, of all places. First, I did 2 things. I read the verses – which means the little half paragraphs with the numbers put in there apparently to help clerics organize Sunday sermons. Then I re-read the same passages in the context of even the rest of the page they show up on in the copy of the Bible I have.
It starts out emphasizing how John the Baptist introduced baptism with open confession of sins as a major new method for purifying and helping repentance and forgiveness of Jews. Then, it says that after he received baptism thanks to John – who was actually a 1st or 2nd cousin of his, he immediately had a vision and then went and spent 40 days – an entire month in the wilderness: “primitive camping at best” in our language. Say again? He received the baptism directly from his 1st or 2nd cousin John, had a vision and ran off into the forest or desert or shrubs and lived like a wild animal outside of civilization for over a month but when John the baptist got arrested, Jesus showed up again.
He went and taught in a Synagogue but spoke to people with such an air of authority that others were astounded – in some cases, very impressed, but in other cases…more like shocked: the audacity of Jesus the Nazerene…then, according to Matthew, Jesus was heckled but it wasn’t a normal heckler, it was someone possessed by a demon who immediately recognized Jesus as the Christ and Savior and was antagonistic because of that. Jesus cast out the demon.
Now, here, and not for the only time, in the Bible there is a description of the heckler dropping and having a fit of convulsions or epileptic seizure, because when a demon exits a living human body, it hurts the person. After the eviction, the person is better rather than worse, but for some reason this is reported in more than one location in the Bible, including here.
Later, Jesus gets a few fishermen to abandon their jobs to be his disciples – talk about “go with the flow”. Well, that’s not all there is to that portion of The Bible, but that’s what really stood out about it today.