Introduction to the Course
Week 1: Ancestry and Birth
Week 2: Sermon on the Mount
Week 3: Mighty Deeds
Week 4: Controversies and Parables
Week 5: Feeding the Hungry
Week 6: The Beloved Community
Week 7: Stories of the End
Week 8: Death and Resurrection
Mighty Deeds – Discussion Questions
- How does the author of the gospel of Matthew depict the character Matthew (9:9-13)? Does this characterization affect the way we should read the gospel? Or, conversely, does our understanding of the gospel’s focus help us understand this characterization?
- Jesus is frequently called “Son of David” in the course of his healing miracles in Matthew. How do the characters know Jesus’ identity, and why does it matter?
- In chapter 10, Jesus sends the disciples to proclaim the good news. What does he mean that “the kingdom of heaven has come near” (10:7)?
- Who gets Jesus’ attention in the healing miracles of chapters 8-9? There is an emerging discipline in New Testament scholarship – disability studies – that focuses on honoring the challenges of those who struggle with physical impairments, and recognizing Jesus’ call for compassion and justice (9:13). Who might be comparable in our society, and what can we offer them?
- The Greek word for compassion in 9:36 (“Jesus had compassion for them”) actually means “well-boweled.” Compassion is supposed to come from our deepest, most inward places, from our guts. How do you understand compassion?
- Jesus’ instruction to his disciples not to rely on material things (10:9-10) is an important corrective for many of us in today’s society, where status, power, and comfort are paramount. The Jesuit priest Henri Nouwen called this the “path of downward mobility”: Jesus chooses pain, rejection, persecution and death rather than the “path of upward mobility” toward power, authority, influence, and wealth. What are your reactions?
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