As I read Matthew last year I became more sorely aware of something that is important. Jesus is a person. THe gospels introduce us to Jesus with the idea that everyone can know him. I will be reading through Matthew for Everyone by N. T. Wright as I go through Matthew this time. Many of us want to get things done, we have judging personalities which want us to check things off a list: Matthew? Done! Judging comes from the Jung Typology Test which says that 50% of people like to reach conclusion on issues or judgement, rather than considering their options and smelling the roses. Just to stretch the judging types, we are not going to be done with Matthew, because Matthew definitely has more to teach us.
You know that with any good movie, when you see it a second time some of the cleverness or the richness of the director that you missed the first time comes through the second time. In our case, some of the richness and cleverness that Matthew has will become clearer this time through. Also, Jesus needs to become personal for each of us. I mean, he needs to become both a cosmic principle that holds the universe together and a ‘regular chap’ who goes to the bathroom, gets tired and grows in wisdom and knowledge. Jesus is God and he is a man. I have spent more of my time on the ideas about Jesus and less time knowing Jesus in a personal converstaional way. The error of this would be akin to marrying my wife and then reading books about her in the abstract rather than conversing with her, taking her out to dinner, and giving her a back rub. I need to see more of whether Jesus wants to go out to dinner to balance my understanding that he was born of a virgin, is the unity of all truth, and is omniscient.
Finally, if Jesus wants to heal us and pinpoint areas of growth, it must be personal. I must learn to be open to exploring how I stand in the way of God’s work because of my fears or pride. I need Jesus to gently and powerfully, even sometimes painfully remove my sinful self from opposing my redeemed self.
Hopefully you resonate with something here. I hope so.