Sunday, November 27, 2011

Matthew, Chapters 11 & 12: Jesus' family values

Chapter 11

John the Baptist, still in jail, sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he's rilly rill or if they should keep looking for the real thing. Jesus says, of course he's genuine! Look at all his good works!

When they leave, Jesus asks John's followers why they spent all that time in the desert if their beliefs are so uncertain. He concedes that John is great and all, especially for a human, but he can't hold a candle to the beings up there in heaven. He also informs us that heaven is under attack, because of previous prophecies that he fulfils, as long as you call him Elias. Also that people think John's crazy and Jesus is crazier.

Then he starts listing all the cities that don't believe in him and condemning their citizens to hell.

Chapter 12

Jesus and his disciples are in a cornfield, rudely and no doubt illegally picking and eating the corn. The Pharisees see it, but only point out that it's the Sabbath and this is one of those weird kinds of 'work' you aren't supposed to do. Jesus points out that David did it, and so do priests, and he's Jesus, so fuck you.

Having eaten his fill Jesus heads over to the Pharisees' synagogue to piss them off some more. While he's in there, a man with a withered hand shows up and asks for healing. The Pharisees ask if this isn't also forbidden on the Sabbath. Jesus again tells them that emergency work on the Sabbath is okay, though this doesn't seem like an emergency, then goes ahead and heals the man. The multitudes follow him.

He is soon waylaid by a blind, mute man who happens to be possessed by the devil. The masses assume Jesus is the noble son of David, but the spoilsport Pharisees think the devil is controlled by Beelzebub. Jesus points out that every city or house divided against itself shall not stand (v. 25), which I did not know was a biblical expression. I also didn't know it's talking about Satan and how he can't both possess someone and cast himself out. But if Jesus is the one casting out devils, this somehow makes people closer to god.

Then he quotes George W. Bush He that is not with me is against me (v. 30) and tells us that blasphemy is the worst kind of sin. The Pharisees challenge him to prove his divinity. He refuses, on the grounds that An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it (v. 40), and also because he can't, but he does promise to spend 3 days in the ground later, just like Jonah and the whale.

Next we find out what happens to evil spirits after an exorcism: first they wander around for awhile, then decide to go back to the old host, but always find the house abandoned. Then they'll go and find seven even worse spirits and they'll possess a new person who will be ever so much worse off than the first.

While Jesus is talking, Mary shows up with some of his brothers. But he won't acknowledge her, instead calling his disciples his family. It's very heart-warming.

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