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Chris Keith on the Matthew 23 Jesus

Chris Keith on the Matthew 23 Jesus December 7, 2020

I’ve been reading Chris Keith’s book Jesus Against the Scribal Elite, and loved this quote:

Matthew 23’s Jesus is not a vacation Bible school Jesus or seeker-sensitive Jesus. That Jesus’s hair is nice and combed. His robes are sparkling white, and his face is aglow as he hovers about six inches off the ground. He hugs people a lot, speaks in calm tones, and pats little children on the head as he tells his audience, only four chapters earlier in Matthew’s Gospel, that the kingdom belongs “to such as these” (Matt. 19:14; cf. Mark 10:14//Luke 18:16) – The Jesus of Matt. 23 is of a different sort. He is fired up and within a word or two of unleashing some profanity in the style of a high school football coach. This Jesus’s hair is untamed. His clothes are beaten and tattered from a semi transient lifestyle. His face and neck are reddened by the Palestinian sun, and his feet are blistered, cracked, and calloused. There is a wild look in his eyes, sweat pouring down his forehead, and spit flying off his lips when he yells, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matt. 23:13,15, 23,25,27,29; cf. 23:16). His message ends not with a head pat to a child and an aphorism about the kingdom, but with tales of murder and bloodshed (23:34-37).

 

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