This year we have been covering The Gospel According to Matthew. This month we covered Matthew chapters 10 through 12. The previous post covered the end of Matthew 12 (12:38-50). Here is the summary:
Jesus reached the following conclusions:
1. the Pharisees were evil
2. teaching the Pharisees principles directly and giving the Pharisees the opportunity to confess and repent ONLY made the Pharisees worse
Matthew chapter 10 showed Jesus commissioned His disciples to do the same Offensive Spiritual Warfare as what we saw that Jesus did in Matthew chapters 8 and 9.
Matthew chapter 11 showed us that Jesus stated previous generations would have responded to His Words and works, while Jesus' current generation did not.
Matthew chapter 12 proved Matthew chapter 11. Jesus repeatedly taught the Pharisees principles directly. With each teaching, those religious leaders of Jesus' time got WORSE. Eventually, those religious leaders commited the unforgiveable sin (blasphemy of the Holy Spirit) and Jesus Himself declared indirectly that those religious leaders were then seven times more evil because of their response to Jesus' teaching.
Matthew chapter 13 is one of the most underappreciated chapters in The Gospel of Matthew. We will see that Jesus suddenly changed His approach. In fact, it alarmed His disciples.
This "change of approach" OUGHT to teach us tremendous revelation. Yet, most people believe there wasn't a specific moment when Jesus changed to this "new approach". They think He always did this "approach".
Since the revelation from Matthew chapter 13 is so huge, we are going to spend the rest of the month getting some background so that we can fully appreciate Matthew chapter 13 when we begin looking at it in April.
I hope you enjoy my change of "approach"...
During 2009, I felt the Holy Spirit led me to alternate Monthly Series between books of the Bible and background topics. The background topics served as foundation for the subsequent Bible Series. When the posts from 2009 are viewed in their entirety, the posts make up a book.
This year, I believe the Holy Spirit is leading me to follow the same alternating pattern with two differences...
First, within each month, we look at a section of the Bible and then cover background.
Second, so far we are covering the same book of the Bible each month: The Gospel According to Matthew.
After covering the first seven chapters of Matthew in January, we covered the information about the Unaware Brain and the conscious brain. In February, before covering the next two chapters, we looked at Spiritual Warfare. Now, before covering the next section of Matthew in April, we will look at background information that will make the April Series take on extraordinary depth.
In March, we have seen that Jesus taught principles directly. However, once He saw that this technique made the majority of people worse, Jesus adjusted His approach and only spoke in parables...only with stories! Rather than explain about this sudden change by being direct with principles, I'm going to teach the reason (WHY) Jesus did this in the same way (HOW) that Jesus taught. For the following nine posts, I'm presenting my first novella!
A novella is a short novel and is denoted by a word count of between 10,000 and 40,000 words. According to Wikipedia:
"A novella has generally fewer conflicts than novels, yet more complicated ones than short stories. The conflicts also have more time to develop. They have endings that are located at the brink of change."
"Although the novella is a common literary genre in several European languages, it is less common in English. English language novellas include John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" and "The Pearl", Herman Melville's "Billy Budd", George Orwell's "Animal Farm", Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's", Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea", Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", Philip Roth's "Goodbye, Columbus", Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", Jack Kerouac's "The Subterraneans" and H. P. Lovecraft's works such as "The Dunwich Horror"."
"The English word "novella" is derived from the Italian word "novella", feminine of "novello" which means new."
So, a novella introduces something new because it ends on the brink of change.
My novella is titled, "The Brothers Karamazowsky". This is a fictional work. It is influenced by one of my favorite novels: "The Brothers Karamazov". Here is a brief explanation of the plot and main characters from "The Brothers Karamazov" according to Wikipedia:
"The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel that explores deep into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, reason, and modern Russia."
"Dmitri (Mitya, Mitka, Mitenka, Mitri) is 28 years old, Fyodor's eldest son and the only offspring of his first marriage. Dmitri is a sensualist much like his father, and the two men's personalities often clash. Dmitri spends large amounts of money on debauchery-filled nights with plenty of champagne, women, and whatever entertainment and stimulation money can buy, soon exhausting any source of cash he comes across."
"Variously called Vanya, Vanka, and Vanechka, Ivan is the middle son and first by Fyodor's second marriage. He is a 24-year-old fervent rationalist, disturbed especially by the apparently senseless suffering in the world, depicted as intelligent to the point of giftedness."
"Variously referred to as Alyosha, Alyoshka, Alyoshenka, Alyoshechka, Alexeichik, Lyosha, and Lyoshenka, Aleksey is the youngest of the Karamazov brothers at 20 years of age. He is proclaimed as the hero of the novel by the narrator in the opening chapter (as well as the author in his preface) and is described as immensely likable and ungrudged."
When I was a teenager, my favorite author was Kurt Vonnegut because he found a way to use science as a tool in order to present deep ethical debates about God, free will, and morality. It is then little wonder that in Kurt Vonnegut's most acclaimed novel "Slaughterhouse-Five", the eccentric Eliot Rosewater, a science-fiction savant, says that "everything there was to know about life was in The Brothers Karamazov, by Feodor Dostoevsky".
The Brother's Karamazov was my favorite novel until I read Atlas Shrugged. Dostoevsky struggled with the concept that Justice is NOT resolved during our time on earth. We saw during Jesus' Premiere Teaching that Justice is only resolved on Judgment Day AND the fact that Justice is not resolved during our time on earth is HOW/WHY we can have treasure in Heaven! Ayn Rand recognized that Justice eventually has to be resolved and her work (Atlas Shrugged) presents HOW/WHY this could be done on earth. While she was closer to the truth and had less contradictions than Dostoevsky, Atlas Shrugged actually ends up proving the existence of an afterlife! Literature is funny that way...
In fact, "Literature is funny that way..." is the perfect thought to keep in your brain as you read, "The Brothers Karamazowsky"...