18 August 2015

Notes on Matthew 16:13-14

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Is the confusion of the present age greater or lesser than the confusion in ages past?

We live in a time of great unity. There are common languages, there are easy channels of mass communication. We also live in a time of great confusion. I do not know whether the confusion present now is greater or lesser than what was experienced in the past.

What authority did the people look to in the days of the Judges? It doesn’t seem that they had any clear authority to look to. “In those days no king ruled in Israel.” The author of the book of Judges seems to speak of this “no king”, looking forward to the coming of David. But there is no king in terms of adherence to the law of God, either. Even in their half-hearted dealings with the sacred, the Israelites in the book of Judges are sacrilegious… When there were kings, who did the people have to look to? Sometimes a good king, but more often than not a wicked king. Then what did they do? They remembered the way things were in the days of a good king, or they sought out the law, or they listened to a prophet… If not, they were corrupted like their wicked leaders.

When did adherence to the law become something of enduring and national importance in Israel? After the Babylonian exile? Could this have been one of the fruits of the exile?