Matthew 9: Healing people and making friends

So Jesus left that town sailed back to Nazareth, where some people met him carrying their paralyzed friend. Jesus looked at the guy, and was all, Your sins are forgiven, which caused a lot of people to look askance. That irritated Jesus a lot, so he said, Fine, haters. Dude, rise up and walk! The guy got up and walked away, and everyone in the crowd was pretty freaked out.

Later, Jesus saw Matthew, a government stooge, sitting bored at his desk and was all, Leave that noise and come with me. So Matthew walked out, and he and Jesus went to the nearest house party with a bunch of other government stooges and lobbyists and thugs and party-kids, and other questionable folk. This scandalized the Pharisees, who started whispering to the groupies, Yo, your boy’s keeping some sketchy company! But Jesus overheard them and was all, I’m a doctor for the sick, not the well! Go bother someone else! But some of the groupies had some doubts and were all, So, like, why don’t you fast like the priests say we’re supposed to? Jesus was all, Fasting is for funerals! Y’all fast soon enough.

He barely got those words out of his mouth before some other bigwig runs in and was all, My daughter died! Can’t you bring her back to life? So Jesus got up off the couch to follow the guy home. As he was going down the street, this woman with a hemorrhage touched his clothes and he was all, You’re healed! When Jesus and the man got to his house, Jesus told the mourners playing sad songs, Pipe down! You’re gonna wake her up! Everyone laughed nervously, because they thought dude was nuts. But then Jesus went into her bedroom, and after a few minutes, walked out with the girl, hand-in-hand.

On his way back to the party, two blind men came up to Jesus and were all, Heal us! And Jesus was all, You think I can? And they nodded and he touched their eyes and they could see again. Then he cast a demon out of a mute guy. Most people were impressed, but the Pharisees were all, He must be the prince of demons, since demons obey him!

Then Jesus went travelling again, preaching and healing, and gathering groupies. But no matter how big the crowds got, Jesus sighed and told his groupies that it wasn’t big enough.

 

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Matthew 8: Further adventures of Jesus

The sermon on the mount gained Jesus a bunch of groupies who began following him around, trying to get close to him and stuff. Some of them were concerned about being homeless, but Jesus was all, If it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for you too!

Another guy wanted to leave to go to his dad’s funeral, but Jesus was all, Dude’s dead. You can mourn here as well as there, so you might as well stay.

One of the groupies was a leper, who threw himself at Jesus’ feet and was all, Heal me! So Jesus put his hand on the guy’s head and was all, You’re healed, but the magic won’t work if you talk to anyone before you present your cleansing offering at the Temple. So hurry!

Then, when he made it back home to Capernaum, a Roman centurion, who had heard of him, was all, Jesus, will you heal my sick servant?  Jesus was all, Sure, take me to him! But the centurion was all, I’m not worthy. Just say the word and it will happen, cuz you can order demons around like I order my men! Jesus was impressed by this faith in his abilities, and lo! the servant was healed.  Continue reading “Matthew 8: Further adventures of Jesus”

Matthew 7: Pearls before swine

Jesus continued, So I also have some ideas about living the good life. Changes in your mindset really, that will make you happier, or at least less stressed about shit you have no control over. First, do unto others and all that! Treat people with dignity and respect and kindness and shit. You know, the way you want to be treated. If everyone just did that, the world would be a better place.

Second, stop trying to fix other people’s problems and failures and work on your own! When you judge other people but ignore your own failures, you’re just a hypocrite, man.

Don’t be afraid to ask for shit you need. God will provide. And if it looks like God didn’t, that’s just because you can’t, like, understand the mind of Dad. But, like, don’t do stupid shit and then wonder why it fails! God’s not gonna bend the laws of physics for you at a whim. If you build a house on a beach, chances are it’s gonna get washed away in a hurricane. You need high ground and a good foundation! Take that metaphor and live it! Continue reading “Matthew 7: Pearls before swine”

Matthew 6: Live for today

Jesus continued, So you need to try to follow all these rules, but when you do, it’s really really important to live your religion quietly and humbly! Don’t toot your own horn. Give charity anonymously. Pray silently and mostly when you’re alone. No one needs to see you praying and shit. Same with fasting. Just fast and shut up about it instead of whining about how hungry you are. No one cares. People who are ostentatious in their religion and doing it for attention, not for God.

And when you pray, don’t pray for fancy chariots and fame. Pray for support to get you through your daily lives, for forgiveness for all the small harms you cause, for clarity about the moral path of life.

For that matter, don’t live you life trying to hoard money and things. Possessions are just, stuff, man. They add no intrinsic value to your life. And like, you can’t serve two masters. You gotta choose between God and money, man.

I know the thought of not caring about money freaks a lot of you out. But you’re just worrying about stuff. About an abstraction! Look around at the birds! At the flowers! Do they worry about money? No! They just, like, live. Just live like them. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Live for today. God will provide!

Matthew 4: Starvation, Satan, and Stuff

Afterwards, Jesus decided to wander around the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, apparently having no job, family, or other responsibilities. And since he had no job, he had no money, so he had no food, but he wasn’t inured enough to homelessness to eat bugs like John. Hunger and isolation does funny things, and by the end of those 6 weeks, he was having conversations with Satan, his dad’s old tempter-in-chief and gambling buddy.

Satan was all, Well, if you’re really a god or God’s son, why are you starving? Turn some of these rocks into bread. But Jesus was all, Dad says I gotta trust It and starve for a little longer.

Then Satan took Jesus to the top the Temple and was all, Why don’t you test out this God’s your dad theory and throw yourself off? Cuz if It’s really your dad, It’ll send angels to save you and then you’ll know for sure. But Jesus was all, Dad’s not that kind of God. It always says, Don’t test me, son! So I’m not gonna risk it.  Continue reading “Matthew 4: Starvation, Satan, and Stuff”

Matthew 3: John the Baptist

This homeless dude named John lived out in the wilderness in Judea preaching doom and destruction when he wasn’t eating bugs and honey. Since TV and the internet were still a few millennia in the future, people would go out to the countryside to watch John preach and pray. Sometimes people were convinced by John and then he would submerge them in the Jordan to wash away their sins, which was always great fun. One day, some town leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees, came out to see what all the fuss was about, but John just yelled at them, Vipers! Snakes! There’s no way in sheol I’ll baptize you because you’re going down! I’m just a forerunner for the messiah who is going to kick ass and take names, so you better get ready!

Eventually Jesus, who was grown by now, came to Judea and went to John to get baptized. John was all, OMG! I’m not worthy! But Jesus was all, You have to so we can say the prophecies have been fulfilled. So John baptized Jesus and the a dove flew by and a voice proudly boomed out, That’s my boy!

 

Matthew 2: The wise men

Three dudes showed up in Jerusalem and went before King Herod and was all, So where’s the crown prince that was born recently? We saw this star that totally meant that the future King of the Jews was born and we have traveled for months to bring him these awesome presents.

This freaked Herod out–he was barely hanging on to power with the Roman war machine demanding tribute and obedience. The last thing he needed was some sort of magic competitor. So he put the visitors off with something noncommittal and started asking around.  Everyone told him that the prophets promised that the messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Then he summoned the wise men and was all, The baby you’re looking for is in Bethlehem. When you find him, let me know so I can go worship him too! Continue reading “Matthew 2: The wise men”

Matthew 1: Jesus

One day there was this girl named Mary and she was engaged to this man named Joseph. But even though Joseph had never gotten so much as a cuddle, Mary’s tummy started protruding through her smock. She was clearly pregnant. Since Joseph was a decent dude, and he didn’t want her stoned to death for adultery, he decided he’d break up with her all quiet-like. The night before he was going to end things, however, he dreamed of an angel that said it was God that had knocked Mary up, so he needed to go ahead and marry her to make an honest woman of her and to raise God’s kid, who was the savior of the world all those prophets promised. The angel told Joseph to name the kid Jesus, which is cooler version of Joshua, after all the other Joshuas God had favored.

Because Isaiah and the other prophets said that the messiah would be of the lineage of David, it’s important that Joseph, Jesus’s step-dad, was the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandkid of David.

Malachi 4: The final chapter (with notes)

Malachi’s final message from God:

The end of the world is fast approaching, when I will burn all bad people and save all the righteous people who followed the laws that I told Moses several thousand years ago. So get ready! But don’t panic! You’ll know the day is nigh because I will send Elijah back to get you all ready!

And so ends (most Protestant versions of ) the Old Testaments. Some commentary and observations gleaned from this most careful read through. The most common denunciations that showed up again and again in most of the books (aside from cheating on god with other gods) were 1) Don’t oppress poor people, especially widows and fatherless children; 2) Don’t oppress “sojourners” (i.e. immigrants); and don’t lie, cheat, or bamboozle for your own gain. Sure there was lots of genocide, war, rape, rampant misogyny, insane family dramas, two long-ass books of obscure and often contradictory laws, and wacky prophets who we would totally medicate when/if they weren’t free-range homeless men, but Israel/Judah’s most common sin (aside from cheating) was allowing the powerful to unjustly oppress the powerless and poor. 

I’m travelling next week, but when I get back, I guess I will start the New Testament (still using the ESV translation). I might as well see this thing through!  

Malachi 3: Just wait til God gets home

Malachi told everyone another message from God:

Listen to this dude, cuz he’s my messenger. One day, y’all are going to get a surprise visit from me, and you ain’t gonna like it. I mean, no one can really live up to my standards, and you think y’all will live through my visit? I’m gonna purify all those shitty priests and their shitty offerings! I’m sick of you guys skimping on the good stuff! Where my tithes at? If you want good harvests, then you better pay up! I make it rain, yo!

Also, quit bitching about if evildoers prosper, then I’m not real. You don’t know my ways, yo! And I’m, like, omniscient and omnipotent and stuff. So just believe that justice will prevail, on some dimensional plane or other!

But wait, there’s more! When I come to town, I’m will destroy sorcerers, of course. But I also hate cheaters and liars, so I will destroy anyone who’s ever cheated on their spouse and any one who ever swore falsely–don’t swear to god unless you mean it, yo! I also hate the fact that rich humans are dicks to poor humans, so I will destroy shitty bosses who treat their workers bad and don’t pay them enough and anyone who mistreats or oppresses poor single women and their children. Also, y’all have been immigrants! People who mistreat  immigrants are the worst, and they will feel my wrath, too.

So everyone was like, well since this Malachi dude says he’s speaking from God and is preparing the way for all this punishment, we better take him seriously! So they wrote all that he said down in a book so they could remember it and promised that they would do their best to please God from then on.