Jesus does not owe the temple tax because he is the son of God. He does not owe a death because he is the son of God. Jesus pays the price of the temple tax with a coin. Jesus pays for our salvation with his life. In both cases he pays a debt he does not owe for others who owe a debt they cannot pay. Jesus. chooses to work through us not because that is the easiest way to get things done, because it is not, but because he wants to work in us.
Contrary to common imagery, St. Peter does not determine who passes through the Pearly Gates of Heaven. Peter may have the keys, but so can we: the knowledge of who Jesus truly is. If we can describe the truth about Jesus, we can extend love and grace to a hurting world, and that changes everything. But if we cannot describe the truth about Jesus, that he truly is the Son of the living God, we have the keys to nothing.
This series looks at the songs ancient pilgrims used to sing as they made their way to Jerusalem.. When Judah and Israel were conquered their people were sent out all over the ancient world. This was called the Diaspora, or dispersion. Three times a year, Pentecost, Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles, Jews from various parts of the world would celebrate religious feasts by making pilgrimages to Jerusalem, to worship in the Temple. As they walked up the hill toward the Temple they would sing Psalms 120-134, the "Songs of Ascent."
A half-truth is a deception of sorts. Christians commonly express beliefs that are true in part without conveying the whole picture, and often the missing parts make a big difference. This series explores the rest of the story for five such concepts.
The church is a hospital for sinners and sufferers, a place for imperfect people. It is the imperfect people who join in the procession shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!"
One of Jesus' favorite teaching methods was the parable, and parables in Matthew address a favorite subject, the Kingdom. Over the centuries his parables have been subject to extremes of interpretation, both overly allegorical and overly simplistic. In reality Jesus used parables to both reveal and conceal important information, depending on who was listening.