I hope your Easter was a truly blessed one! I spent much of the weekend in solitude and with family (in part, because I was sick on Sunday), but it was a very good weekend of reminders of frailty and new life. I did spend time with Henri Nouwen, one of my favorites especially on Easter. If you would like to read my Easter mediations click here to go to my personal blog.
We have just made a huge jump in time in Matthew 3. Kids have grown up to be adults. The time for ministry has come.
This is the first mention of John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, in Matthew. He is one unorthodox bloke, to put it mildly. He must have failed his seminary class on seeker-sensitive preaching:
He saw several Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized by him. “You brood of vipers!” he said to them. “Who warned you to escape from the coming wrath? You better prove your repentance by bearing the right sort of fruit!” (3:7-8)
His first words are what strike me in this chapter:
“Repent!” he was saying. “The kingdom of heaven is coming!” (3:2)
John’s first words introduce us to what will be a major theme in Matthew, actually the biggest idea Jesus and his followers ever talked about. What is this kingdom? It is coming here? When? One’s understanding of the Gospels is sadly deficient if one does not come to understand what the “kingdom” is.