Monday, September 27, 2010

On interpreting scripture

Mat 4:19  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Mat 17:27  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Mat 16:24  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mat 27:5  And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

        The prediction of finding a piece of money for the payment of tribute sounds incredible.

        Some might reject a literal interpretation of this verse when they recall that in calling his disciples Jesus spoke of making them fishers of men.

        Going down to the sea would be going to a place where a crowd of people was assembled.

        Casting a hook would be preaching the gospel.

        The first fish taken up would be the first person to respond to the message.

        The opening of his mouth would be his confession of belief in the good news.

        The piece of money to be had would be a gratuity.

        The manner of interpretation of this verse, literal or figurative, may seem to be not important.

        The manner of interpretation of the hanging of Judas, however, seems to be extremely important.

        Some might reject a literal interpretation of this verse when they recall that Jesus instructed his disciples that if any man would come after him, then let that man take up his cross and follow him.

        They might recall that the cross is the implement upon which Jesus hanged himself, in laying down his life that he might take it up again.

        The cross would be the implement upon which that follower would hang himself, but, in contrast to Jesus, not literally.

        The laying down of his life would be the abandonment of his life of sin in order to receive everlasting life in Jesus.

        The statement that the man who went and hanged himself was the man who followed Jesus sounds incredible.

        I make it only in my own name.

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