6 Comments

  1. Victoria Walters
    July 4, 2016 @ 1:56 PM

    If we were to consider Jesus’ earlier lessons in the Sermon on the Mount to be the “Entrance Exam” and the events of Last Supper to be the “Graduation Ceremony,” then I believe the examples He gave in Matthew 25 to be the “Answers to the Final Exam.” If we have been given the “Answer Sheet” we have no excuse for failing the exam.

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    • Annette Vincent
      July 4, 2016 @ 3:03 PM

      Can you give me a little more detail in this thought? I like what you are saying but am not sure I’m understanding exactly what you are meaning.

      Reply

  2. Victoria Walters
    July 5, 2016 @ 2:18 PM

    Sure.

    If we look at the sum-total of Jesus’ three-year earthly ministry as a hands-on educational experience for the Disciples and others who followed Him, we could (and going forward, I will) call it “The Master’s Seminary.”

    In that context, the Sermon on the Mount was the “placement” or “Entry Exam: it offered an outline of what they would learn throughout their time in Seminary, and provided a measure of what they ‘were’ VS what they would become. (Remember how Jesus expounded on the differences were between “what you have heard” and “but I tell you…” and later provided the list of Beatitudes – or Be Attitudes, that described the Attitudes that would usher in the blessings of God in their lives.)

    Ultimately, at the Last Supper, Jesus wound everything down: He instituted new rituals (Sacraments) that would mark Christianity just as the old rituals were the hallmarks of Judaism. The New Covenant in His Blood would be (by Grace) the fulfillment of the Old Covenant (of the Law.) It was graduation time. One of them (Judas) would fail. While another (Peter) would finish at the bottom of the class, but he would still graduate with an overall grade of D+. (“D” because of his denial, but upped by the “+” because of being so quick to latch onto the idea of purification by the washing of his feet. (If you need to wash my feet for me to be part of you, don’t stop there! Wash my hands, wash my head…I can imagine Jesus smiling lovingly at Peter as he said, “your feet will do.”) Thus the Master’s Seminary concluded with an impassioned prayer by Jesus, group participation in a hymn, and departure to the last battle Jesus would face before the crucifixion.

    Between those bookends, we have examples of private tutelage as Jesus ‘splained his veiled teachings, and pop quizzes that Jesus used to ‘test’ the disciples progress–one being, “Whom do YOU say that I am?) This kind of instruction continues until we arrive at Matthew chapters 24 & 25.

    Chapter 24 presents the final Q&A – the disciples ask Jesus for clarification of what is to come, and Jesus answers them. Then, in Chapter 25, Jesus spells out the terms of the final exam: to make it into the Kingdom of God, here is what you must do:

    The lesson of the ten Virgins: you must ‘Manage your Resources’ so as not to run out of fuel and be found banging on the door of the Kingdom that has already been closed.
    The lesson of the Talents: you must ‘Invest what the Master gave you’ so the wealth of the kingdom will grow in His (physical) absence. (The wealth of the kingdom is souls that are brought into it.)
    The lesson of the Sheep vs the Goats: the definitive ways in which they (we) are to ‘Love the World as Jesus did.’ The Goats not caring about the state of those around them; the Sheep doing what they can to help those whom Jesus called, ‘the least of these.’

    As you said, James would later write, “Faith without works is dead. Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith BY my works.”

    In these three examples, Jesus spells out the terms of the Final Exam which is yet to come, at the ‘End of Days.’ He clearly defines the ‘works’ that must grow out of our faith.

    So, in terms of the Master’s Seminar, Matthew 25 is the ‘Answer Sheet.’ Since Jesus GAVE it to them (and by extension us) there is no excuse for SHEEP to stand before the Judgement Seat at the End of Days ignorant of the requirements of our Final Exam. If we fail it, it’s on us.

    Does that make sense?

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  3. Victoria Walters
    July 5, 2016 @ 2:31 PM

    That’s still kind of a view from 30,000 feet. If we get into the weeds, there is so much more that could be developed. For example: Peter finishing last in his class.

    One of the private tutoring sessions had included a declaration that “To be great in the kingdom, one must become the servant of all,” and that, “The first would be last and the last would be first.” Despite Peter’s denial of Jesus, after his repentance, he became the first to preach under the Power of the Anointing of the Holy Ghost (at the Day of Pentecost)and went on to lead the Church that was born that day.

    I won’t flesh out everything that could be…but that’s the gist of what I was saying.

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    • Annette Vincent
      July 6, 2016 @ 6:27 AM

      Thank you for sharing that! I appreciate hearing it from your perspective. I like having the “answer sheet” before the test or class even begins. I agree that it makes failing totally on our heads.

      Jesus makes failing even harder for us when He gave us the Holy Spirit. If we are willing to listen, success in Him is guaranteed. Even when we try to cover our ears and not listen, He still gets through to those who truly belong to Him.

      Thank You Lord for never giving up on us, no matter how close we come to the cutoff line. Your love pulls me back every time I walk away from Your plan. Keep me walking by faith and working in Your fields.

      Reply

  4. Victoria Walters
    July 8, 2016 @ 2:07 PM

    Amen!

    Reply

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