2:31 PM

First Impressions: Matt. 10:13--by Beau

1. What is meant by the disciples'/apostles' "peace" in verse 13? How does this "peace" laid upon a house by the disciples relate to the discord that Jesus claims to be bringing to the household at verses 34-36? What are the wider implications of this "peace" with regard to the judgment described at verse 15 (and maybe verse 32?) and the seemingly selective character of the mission overall?

2. Hauerwas explains that the disciples are commissioned, "to bestow the peace of God on those who provide hospitality" (106). Yet the text itself makes no mention of God's peace but explicitly mentions "your [i.e. the disciples'] peace." According to Hauerwas, this peace does seem to play a role in the coming judgment--at least insofar as its absence suggests that a certain house was inhospitable to the disciples and will consequently be rejected, just as the violation of hospitality in Sodom and Gomorrah brought about the cities' destruction. Hauerwas explains that the "peace on earth" (RSV) mentioned at verse 34 is the "peace of the world" which stands in opposition to the "sword of the cross" (108). Drawing upon Bonhoeffer's work, Hauerwas argues that the "sword of the cross" will disrupt the world for the sake of the peace of the Kingdom of God (109).
Witherington makes explicit what Hauerwas implies, namely that the "peace" described at verse 13 is related to hospitality practices. This peace is an offer of "shalom/well-being" to the house which one give before entering (222). Witherington stresses that the words of shalom bring "actual blessing" upon the house, but their rejection causes the blessing to return to the one offering it (222).

3.Witherington's assertion that the "peace" described at verse 13 primarily describes a hospitality practice seems likely--particularly in light of the mention of Sodom and Gomorrah later in verse 15. Hauerwas's interpretation that the "peace" is in fact the "peace of God" is not explicitly supported by the text but also does not seem to be excluded; there does not seem to be any reason why the "peace" of verse 13 could not refer simultaneously to "shalom" and the peace of the Kingdom of God.

Comment (1)

Good questions/analysis, Beau. Is it just any old hospitality that those who welcome the apostles give? Or does the appearance/activity of the apostles make any hospitality given them quite particular? What do you think the blessing/peace that Witherington describes actually includes? Plenty of food? A good feeling? How is this blessing/peace related to the coming judgment?

It seems to me that Jesus anticipates a judgment that is going to blaze through these towns and is building a peace/community that will not be consumed by it. What the Roman invasion (66-70 CE) would mean for these towns is worth considering. How would inhabitants of these towns avoid being swept up in that judgment? As it turns out, Rome will invade a Jewish community at civil war. Rome's presence proves extremely divisive for the communities of Galilee and Judea. Is Jesus preaching a peace that is subversive and invites reproach from some other Jews? This would be a peace that divides households and draws violent opposition.

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