Tuesday, May 22, 2012

HESUS JOY CHRIST / Matthew's Foretold Discussion of Verse Five


There's the website with all of it !!

Just search vid932008 on www.google.ca to see it come up first in the list.
On this site there are almost all the blog posts in an easily accessible non-linear format, as well as all the animation dating back to 2008, and most of the other artwork and poetry.

Since I get such a kick, still, out of blathering on about this stuff, I'm continuing on with the discussion of HESUS JOY CHRIST / Matthew's Foretold !!

 Verse 5   

5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.

from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter Four, New International Version

 Verse 5   

 5Then the devil took One downtown and placed them on the Order of Can-of-Duh list.

from the text of the animation HESUS JOY CHRIST / Matthew's Foretold
written by R David Foster

 Verse 5 Discussion    
 For Jesus to just walk up and climb to the highest point in the temple, it must have been considered a public place.  Likewise, to just go downtown and put yourself on the list for the highest honour in the capital, it must be a public nomination.

 There was only an administrative distinction between religion and the state in Judea, as the Roman's ruled the state that would otherwise have been ruled by a king subject to the priests. Nevertheless, the high priest in Jerusalem, the holy city, was a political figure, regardless of Roman rule.  So whether religious or secular, achieving the highest honour is the topic of this verse.

 Jesus may not have thrown himself down and put God to the test when tempted by the devil in these verses, but he did allow himself to be brought down and crucified, so success or failure, achievement or loss, is not the issue here.  The issue is about doing things idly, to just try things out, rather than putting everything into achievement.  And this is the issue in this verse of the animation.  Why would one attempt to honour themselves, and put any effort into their being acknowledged at all? Is there not enough to do to keep one busy fulfilling their purpose, rather than pausing to receive honours? 

 Furthermore, is there any advantage to receiving an honour?  One may argue that recognition furthers one's purpose, but does it really draw the kind of attention that bears fruit?  Jesus frequently tried to keep his miracles quiet, telling the cured lepers to tell no one other than showing themselves to the priests to be acknowledged as having been cured.  Jesus did not rebuke all attention to himself, but he did rebuke the kind of attention that does not bear fruit – the seeking of signs and miracles.  He performed his miracles for their own sake, to help those in need, rather than to draw people to himself.  His teaching was enough to draw people to himself in a way that would bear fruit, or be productive and redemptive.

 Standing on the highest point in the temple, regardless of Leonardo DiCaprio standing at the bow of the Titanic and proclaiming himself “King of the World”, is a dubious honour.  Most honours are dubious because they only go to those who put every means at their disposal into achieving such honours.  This readily involves bending the rules, if not outright cheating.  This is the Canadian response to winners – we think of them as overzealous and prefer to content ourselves with those who are good enough.  This can become a political issue in the workplace, if not even in politics.  One who only does the job they were hired to do can easily find themselves alienating the other ninety per cent of the workforce who are busy dodging work if not down right relaxing until their shift is over.  Even management may take offence at someone who gets the work done correctly and on time.  So there are two ends to this sword – a group that is overzealous and a group that is under zealous – both will be a threat to an honest person.  Finally, when I delivered the Etobicoke Gazette advertising newspaper, I received an award for having a high collection rate – the rate of people I collected payment from compared to the number of homes I delivered to. This was truly a dubious distinction because, naively, I only delivered to those who would pay, and I never realized I was suppose to deliver to everybody and collect as much as I could !!  

 And then there is the idea that the first will be last and the last will be first!  How is one a winner in such an environment?!  Jesus may be the first among people, but he was definitely the last as he hung on the cross.  His greater honour was his criminal conviction and summary execution, rather than his standing on the highest point of the temple.

 And then there is the whole question of why Jesus did not take up a career as a priest, if he wanted to work with religious ideas and minister to people? The short answer is that he was teaching a new understanding that would not fit into the old way of doing things – new wine cannot be stored in old wine skins. His life's work was not anything that would achieve any present honour in his present society, but would achieve honour in a new society of his own creation.

" . . the male spouse is fuming, . . . "
 This time the temptation comes through the female spouse, who drags the male spouse downtown to place them on the Order of Can-of-Duh list!  She wants acknowledgment and is grasping at it, rather than letting it come in its own time, as a gift of infinity, or a gift from God.  The male spouse is fuming, and does not recognize the honour he may receive, and rather considers it an embarrassment, as if his co-workers were chastising him for self grandeur.

 Once again there is a disconnect, as being nominated can be an honour in itself, let alone being voted for toward being selected.  When one is working away, a little honest recognition can make all the difference and bolster a weary heart, if not transfigure it.  And the view from the top of the temple must have been magnificent!  It could have gone a long way toward imagining the vastness of the people to whom Jesus was ministering.

Ascension Sunday, May 20th, 2012


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