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Shock and Awe in Parables of Jesus

 

What We Don’t Know of Jesus’ Times Deflates the Impact

 

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The Pharisee and Publican Praying in the Temple

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/the-publican-only-half-a-surprise/

The Publican, a Jewish tax collector, was a traitor, being hated as one who worked for the occupation force of a pagan power, Rome. In rabbinic literature “hatred was to be extended even to the family of the tax collector” (ISBE).

Just pointing to a tax collector praying in the Temple would have been a shock!

 

Samaritan

The Scandal of the Samaritan

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/the-scandal-of-the-samaritan-2/

Jews despised Samaritans and viewed them as unclean foreigners. This went back in history to Assyria’s conquest of the Northern Kingdom….

 

parable-unjust-steward-luke16-1-9The Parable of the Dishonest Manager

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/parables-surprise-and-the-american-mind/

What?! The master praised this servant???”

 

A Mustard Seed

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/a-mustard-seed/

“…smaller than all seeds…”

For the technical mind, “all” must mean “all.” But for a parable, it is a literary device to convey the point

unmerciful-servant1The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/jesus-parable-unforgiving-sin-forgive/

Ten Thousand Talents–Have you ever heard a tall tale, or an outlandish story to which you exclaimed, “WHAT???”

 

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Part Two

https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/its-a-parable-part-two/

 

 

 

Chick-fil-A And the Lord’s Day: Rare Light in the Darkness

SabbathRest

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. Exodus 20

Remembering in a Forgetful World

Chick-fil-A keeps its doors closed on Sundays so that its employees have a day of rest and are able, if they wish, to go to church. Years ago, a lonely voice in Christianity Today, noted the complaint of a friend of hers who had to work on Sunday: ‘I have to work to serve all these Christians who are busy buying after church.’

The ubiquitous Sabbath-breaking of our own day is nothing new. During the revival that swept England, John Wesley noted a rare exception: “I suppose three such towns are scarce to be found again…There is no cursing, no Sabbath-breaking…”

He exhorted Christians, “Spend this day as thou hopest to spend that day which shall never end.”

On the Ten Commandments, Martin Luther told parents, “Exhort your household to learn them word for word, that they should obey God…For if you teach and urge your families things will go forward.”

The president of a denomination began his sermon at our local church with an offer of a ten dollar bill to any child who could cite the Ten Commandments in any order or form. As he put it back in his billfold he lamented that he had never been able to give it away in any church where he had preached.

Most Christians not only cannot cite the Ten Commandments in any order or form, we seem to be left with only eight or less these days.  [Original essay on Teaching Children Ten Commandments–‘Your Child’s Endangered Heart’]

In A Word to a Sabbath-Breaker, Wesley wrote, “Never more disappoint the design of his love, either by worldly business or idle diversions….You have lived many years in folly and sin; now, live one day unto the Lord.”

sabbath-day-holy-happy-sabbath

[Please learn to share these posts. They do little good hidden in the corner.]

Remarkable Maundy Thursday!

christ_washing_peter_feet_ghislane_howard_2008

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. –John 13:34, 35.

“Maundy” refers to the Latin text of verse 34, mandatum, from which we get the word mandate—an authoritative command.

In the Liturgy, it refers to the foot washing ceremony, the example which Jesus set for us before the new command.

The Gospel of John, which does not mention the institution of the Lord’s Supper, repeats this new mandatum three times! Peter refers to it three times in his First Epistle; John references it five times, it being one of the tests he gives to discern true Christians. Paul refers directly to ‘love one another’ in four of his letters.

An amazing feature of our American culture stares us in the face—many Christians do not even know that in the New Testament, (link)“one another” refers exclusively to our fellow believers.

In John, Holy Week begins with the anointing of Jesus’ feet by Mary along with her wiping them with her hair. And Jesus’ last physical act, before the events of the arrest and trial, consists of his washing his disciples’ feet.

Then follows the new commandment.

“The new thing appears to be the mutual affection that Christians have for one another on account of Christ’s great love for them.”–Leon Morris, NICNT

“The standard of love which the disciples are to have for one another is that which their Lord has lavished on them.”–F. F. Bruce, John

In the early church, Tertullian remarked that pagans noted, “See how they love one another.”

Tennyson penned these lines:

Love your enemies, bless your haters, said the

greatest of the great;

Christian love among the churches, look’d the

twin of heathen hate.

Peter wrote:

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,…

love_one_another_

 

 

[Anniversary–This blog began during Holy Week, seven years ago]

Where are the disciples?

Memes

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”–Matt. 28

We must first be a disciple before we can make a disciple. 

Disciple: a learner; a follower and student of a teacher; …actively imitating both the life and teaching of the master.

Back to the Word.  Read and Learn

Obedience is the key to all doors… –C.S. Lewis

‘Follow Your Heart’-NOT

heart

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?–1 John 3:17 (ESV)

The Christian life is Christ-centered, NOT self-centered.

Here is an enlightening illustration which displays our modern feelings about “heart.”

The Greek text behind this verse (above) uses the word for “bowels” σπλάγχνα NOT “heart” καρδία The KJV renders this as “bowels of compassion” which represents the feelings to the Hebrew mind. (ISV: Whoever has earthly possessions and notices a brother in need and yet withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God be present in him?)

In Jeremiah 31:20, “bowels” are used in “a metaphorical sense to denote the seat of emotions” (TWOT*). We use bowel metaphors like “a gut feeling” and “butterflies in my stomach.”

Again in the KJV, Colossians 3:12 is translated literally, “bowels of mercy” (where others use heart:”Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts…”)  The New International Bible Encyclopedia relates bowels, here,  to “powerful emotional forces.”

This is how we moderns understand “heart” today.  “Follow your heart” epitomizes the Zeitgeist. Do you desire to divorce your spouse? Have an affair? Abandon your children? Change your gender?

Follow your heart.”

When it comes to modern translations of “bowels,” many use the paraphrase “heart.”

Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, the RSV, NASB, Phillips, and the later NKJV rendered “bowels (of mercy/compassion)” as “heart.” And the English Standard Version (ESV) continued that in the twenty-first century. This misleads those with today’s mindset when we come to the actual word “heart” (kardia) in the Bible.

As noted (please be a disciple; read and learn) in the first article on Heart and Mind:

A striking feature of the NT is the essential closeness of kardia (heart) to the concept nous, mind…”–The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, s.v. “heart”

All quotations of the Great Commandment in the Gospels interject the word “mind.”

The person who is awash in his feelings, following his ‘heart’ and not loving God with his whole mind, cannot “understand that the goodness of God is meant to lead [him] to repentance…because of [his] hard and impenitent heart [closed, stubborn mind]”–Romans 2:4,5.

Hebrews repeats this warning three times: “…do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (3:8ff). This is not an exhortation to follow your feelings. The faithful heart is one which listens to God’s voice. The heart that goes astray is the one that “has not learned my ways.” A disciple is a learner, tutored by his Master.

The hard heart is the unteachable, disobedient mind that “refused to listen to God.”

heart2

Be a disciple. Read and Learn More

*Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

The Resurrection: Hope and Consequences

ResLife

Here in Romania, on the second day of celebrating the Resurrection, our pastor’s text from Luke 24 concerned two perplexed disciples on the Road to Emmaus. Their state of mind is best summed up in their words, “We had hoped…”

crux

In their encounter with the resurrected Jesus, that dashed hope blooms as he breaks bread with them and they recognize him. Rushing back to Jerusalem, they find the other disciples also rejoicing. The worst moment in their lives, the Crucifixion, has now been transformed into the most hope filled day of their lives. “The Lord has risen indeed.”

Hope abounds and persists. Years later Peter wrote, 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…” (1 Peter 1).

Our hope is rooted in, and confirmed by, the Resurrection. But the Resurrection also has consequences. As Paul told those who worshiped other gods,

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17

And the responsibility for conveying that message is given to us. “Ye will be my witnesses.”