First, a shout out to my good friend and seminarian Jimmy Gawne for alerting me to this earlier, Matthew misquotes Isaiah in the following passage he uses to introduce John the Baptist:
This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:What Isaiah wrote is this, at 40:3:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
A voice of one calling:Is the voice or the path in the wilderness? Hopefully this is the only translational difficulty Matthew had as a result of using the Septuagint. ;)
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
More interesting today is beginning the reading of Ephesians. Ephesians is special to me because a friend introduced me to Watchman Nee's reflection on the letter Sit, Walk, Stand, many years ago. The framework developed by Watchman Nee is that Paul's letter instructs us first to sit. To simply accept what God has given us through Grace and his Son Jesus. Then we walk in the way obeying his commandments, and ultimately we stand up to evil. The result is that reading the first two chapters of Ephesians causes me to remember/recognize the idea of grace and the notion that Christians must begin by accepting the beauty of the world in which they live. Also, I read the discussion of predestiny as a call to humility in the recognition that God reaches out to you first. Of course, predestiny is not always used to evoke humility. It is often a destructive idea that causes Christians to feel entitled, better than others. And perhaps most dangerous, it can be used to support reckless behavior. I don't believe that we are without responsibility for our actions. I think that is a corruption of the idea Paul was hoping to convey.