We’re continuing our look going through the New Testament looking at Trinitarian passages and seeing the understanding of Christ especially along with how his contemporaries saw him. Tonight, our passage will be taken from Matthew 23.
First off, before quoting the passage, I urge Christians to read through Matthew 23 and tell me where you see Jesus meek and mild in this chapter. We’ve made it sound like Jesus was this nice guy who went around Israel with a kind word to everyone. No. Keep in mind also Jesus is the one who talks to the people and tells them about the wickedness of their leaders and then lets the leaders have it for all that they have done.
Let’s look at the relevant portion for tonight:
33“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
It should be enough to consider that Jesus says that he is the one who will send the prophets to them. However, the Lukan parallel in chapter 11 of his gospel shows an interesting look at this account.
48So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world,
Before someone raises up the question, I’d like to remind my readers that this is a blog devoted to Mere Christianity. Many of my readers will know I have my own eschatological views, but I have no desire to touch eschatology in my blog provided it does not get into heretical eschatology, such as the neohymaneanism heresy. If you want to know the eschatological ramifications of this passage, look elsewhere.
One point I have been making throughout this series is to see Jesus as the wisdom of God. If you want to see the parallel passage to compare to Matthew 23, it would be Luke 11. Many of the same points raised there are raised here as well. However, when it comes to sending the prophets, it’s not Jesus saying “I” but saying “God in his Wisdom.” If you remember when we went through the passage on the doubt of John the Baptist, we saw again that Luke refers to Jesus as Wisdom.
Why bring this up? Because when we get into the epistles and see the outworking of doctrine based on the new revelation of Christ, this will come up again and again, most notably when we comment on 1 Cor. 1:24. Of course, that is in the future, but this needs to be brought up for now. Jesus is the one sending prophets, which is the role of God, and God is doing it through Jesus with Jesus being his Wisdom.
We shall continue tomorrow going through Matthew.