Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jesus' Dramatic Monologue in Matt 23

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A monologue is an extended, uninterrupted speech or poem by a single person. The person may be speaking his or her thoughts aloud or directly addressing other persons, e.g. an audience, a character, or a reader. ... As a literary device, it is most common in dramatic genres...

Matthew 23 contains one of the most dramatic monologues in the entire bible. Within the context of Matthew's Gospel, it represents the climatic point in Jesus' public ministry. In no uncertain terms he pleads with the religious power-brokers of his day, confronting them for their unwillingness to hear his message. He acknowledges their God-given authority, then admonishes them for abusing it.

I love this scene and Bruce Marchiano's portrayal of Jesus. Unlike many other presentations, here Jesus is not merely condemning their hard-hearted attitudes, but rather he is pleading with them as a parent might plead with a beloved child who is insisting on following a path to self-destruction. This is Jesus' last attempt to turn their hearts. And it is clear that after this public 'outing' they will not let Jesus leave the region alive. He has sealed his fate.

I especially love Jesus' cries of "O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem. You who killed the prophets... " There is no Righteous Joy in seeing someone turn towards self-destruction (despite the apparent glee that some "christians" seem to express at the fate of their enemies -- forgetting Jesus' admonishment to "love your enemies...")

I think much of the Power-Church-Religion that goes on today ought to listen carefully to this speech. In so many ways this kind of "Christianity" actually becomes the "Scribes and Pharisees, ..." that Jesus is addressing.

Or so I believe.

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