Final Day

Today marks the final day in the series of talks on Matthew that I’ve been giving at FOCUS. It’s been a difficult and stretching time for me. It’s the first time I’ve done a series of talks rather than one-offs and I’ve loved the continual time spent each week studying God’s word. I feel that I’ve learned a great deal about the structure and theology of the book of Matthew, and even better, through that have come to a better appreciation and love for our Lord and Saviour – Jesus.
On the other hand, there have been very difficult times. I’ve discovered that it takes me around 10-15 hours to prepare a talk to an appropriate level (ie, where I feel that I have thought through the issues, thought through the relevant application, gone through the talk structure several times to make it as simple as possible, then worked out how to make it flow and maintain interest). I’ve still got lots to learn and I’ve found that trying to find this amount of time in a week that is already completely timetabled has been very stressful. There have been several late nights and early mornings.
An encouraging sign is that I feel I have become familiar with my own style of preparation and it’s working well. I have stopped using full text notes for my talk. I’ve found that I can naturally talk from point form, and that having points enables me to be clearer in my structure and the logic of the passage I’m teaching.
All that may seem a little strange and uninteresting, but it’s an insight into the mechanics of public teaching from the Bible.
The true benefit for me (and hopefully for the students) has been a fresh look at the intention of Jesus in his death, and what it achieved. Not new by any means, but I have sought to understand Jesus ministry as much as possible in the terms it is presented in the book of Matthew and its Old Testament heritage. This has helped me to understand Jesus much more in his Jewish and historical setting, and to combat the Docetic (not seeing Jesus as fully human) tendencies that we naturally fall into through our distance from Jesus’ time and place.
If you’d like to listen in – the talks are available here
In other news, Emma has been very busy as well. The annual Science at the Shine Dome conference ran a couple of weeks ago. Emma has a lot of responsibility for running the conference which is the major event for the Australian Academy of Science each year. Everything went well, now she’s back into working on editing Science text books for Australian primary schools.
This weekend we are going away together somewhere – still not sure where! for some rest and time together. I can express how much I’m looking forward to this time off.
I’m enjoying studying through Philippians at the moment with our Bible study groups. This week we studied together that beautiful song in Ch 2. It’s good to be reminded that behind the surface historical reality of Jesus life, death and resurrection there is a theological reality that holds out continual promises and challenges to us.
“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,* being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
(Phil 2:6-11 ESV)

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