“You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets;
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”
“Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
This is how our passage from the Sermon on the Mount begins and ends this week at Wine Before Breakfast. And we’re going to limit a Baptist preacher named Joe Abbey-Colborne to a maximum of twelve minutes to unpack this for us. Twelve minutes for a Baptist. I know, it is cruel and unusual punishment, but Joe is definitely up to the challenge.
Now I don’t want to scoop Joe here, but you gotta ask, why would Jesus have thought that the folks listening to him might have thought that he wanted to abolish the law and the prophets? I mean, when you get to thinking about what other people are thinking then things are likely going to get messy.
But Jesus is pretty sure of himself here. “I know what you are all thinking. You think that I’m offering something that is so out of line with biblical orthodoxy that I’m simply throwing the whole thing out the window!”
But again, why would anyone in the crowd have thought such a thing? As good Jews they all longed for the coming of the kingdom of heaven, they all believed that as children of Abraham they would inherit the earth, and they all longed for the comfort of the Holy One in the midst of their continued exile. They wanted to be known as they truly were – children of God! They believed in justice, they sought out the mercy of God, they longed to see the coming again of the glory of God in their midst and they were pretty damn sure that their present state was nothing less than persecution.
So what’s the big deal? Hasn’t Jesus just told them that all of this is true and that their deepest longings will indeed be fulfilled? And when he goes on to say that they are the light of the world, isn’t he just restating a powerful metaphor that has been used of Israel from the beginning?
And yet there is something about all of this that smacks of heresy to at least some of the folks present. There is something here that just doesn’t sound right. There is something going on here that is offering such a radically new interpretation that some folks are thinking that maybe this rabbi from Nazareth is chucking the whole tradition of the Torah and its prophetic interpreters.
Jesus’ response is basically, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
I hope to see you on Tuesday morning. We are also going to have some special prayers to recognize Joe’s ministry in our midst at WBB.
The band has some stuff cooking for us, and so do members of the community who are bringing food for breakfast.
Start Time: 7:22am
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