In the Matthew material, then, I held out to do Question 6 during the small group discussion. A couple of women expressed relief that I volunteered. In verse 21, a would-be follower asks permission to bury his father first, and Jesus says,
"Leave the dead to bury their own dead."We were instructed to read 1 Kings 19:19-21 and explain why Elijah was so generous in letting Elisha bid his parents goodbye before running off with an itinerant preacher and Jesus wasn't. Or something to that effect. I was very much taken with the contrast and didn't so much have a reason for it. Someone reminded us that the man's father in Matthew 8:21 may have years of life yet left before he's ready to be buried. I suppose it sounds less harsh if that's the case. I said that in offering his oxen, symbols of his former livelihood, Elisha makes it clear that he's committed to this new calling. That matched pretty closely with the proposed answer in the key.
The lady seated next to me asked the group why miracles as those described in Matthew 8 aren't so apparent these days. Then she quickly answered her own question with a self-deprecating, "Because we haven't enough faith," a comeback I didn't find particularly satisfying because Jesus often laments the lack of faith in his own times. I told her there are people who think that miracles of the caliber as recording in the Bible don't occur today because we have the Bible now so we can simply read about them with faith. That's not my position personally but it seems to work for some people. And then someone mentioned Fatima and Lourdes, with the crutches and the wheelchairs and I didn't say that some people think those places are devilish delusions.
In the video lecture, I was disappointed to hear Cavins refer to visions of four beasts coming out of the sea as being recorded in Daniel 8. He corrected himself later and was clearly confused between Matthew 8 and Daniel 7. After the video, I made sure that everyone was clear on where they could find the visions of the four beasts if they wanted to read on their own. And I hope they do. I was also disappointed to hear Cavins list the fourth empire as Rome instead of Greece.