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A few random thoughts about Matthew 6:25-34…

  • In Jesus’ time, poverty was the norm, not the exception. Add to that vagaries of crops and crime and war and more, and you can see why people would worry about what they would eat or drink or wear from day to day.
  • Most laborers worked on a day-to-day basis, earning wages one day at a time and starting each new morning freshly unemployed. There was no such thing as vacation pay or sick days. In that cultural context, provision of basic necessities (food, water, clothing) for tomorrow was always uncertain.
  • Jesus’ statement, “add a single hour to his life,” (verse 27) is actually an idiomatic expression in Greek that’s hard to understand with exactness. The literal translation is “add one forearm length [cubit] to his age.” In other words, Jesus basically said, “Worrying can’t add 18 inches to your lifespan.” What?
  • During his Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus said “See how the lilies of the field grow…” (verse 28), it’s likely that lilies were actually growing all around him and his audience at that exact moment. Kind of cool, if you ask me.
  • When Jesus spoke about grass being “thrown into the fire,” that was reference to a common frugality among ancient Israelites. Unlike today, cut grass was a useful source of fuel for many homes. People would cut the green grass of spring, let it dry, then wrap it into bundles (kind of like little logs). They’d burn those bundles in fire ovens for cooking and heating. Pretty smart!
  • Jesus’ observation that “Each day has enough trouble of its own” was apparently a maxim he invented, as there is no exact parallel to this statement recorded before he said it.

 

Works Cited:

[ZP1, 49-50; JHT, 75]

 

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