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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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God's beloved thief

He wants you not what you own

When Matthew wrote his gospel, his world was falling apart. The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed by Roman troops, the Jewish people were in open rebellion against the emperor's people and God's chosen rescuer was long overdue. Matthew had a lot of explaining to do. He not only had to tell the story of Jesus Christ; he also had to tell it to people who were frightened and tired of waiting. Was Jesus really coming back to pull them from the edge of the abyss or were they just going to hang there until their fingers gave out and they fell onto the mounting pile of bodies at the bottom?

Matthew's answer to them comes in the section of his Gospel known as "the little apocalypse," in which he recorded Jesus' sayings about the end time along with a few emphases of his own. Right before we tuned in, he set up the paradox that continues to perplex. First Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place." Then he said, "But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."


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