In Part 1 I introduced some thoughts, based on the familiar story of Jesus’ feeding of the 5000, about what I consider to be his typical way of feeding hungry people. The disciples wanted him to “send them away!” but fortunately he had a better idea, which I believe was more than unique to that one day’s good work, but a pattern for how he often goes about providing food enough for all to eat. Last time I said:
He begins with the little we have, multiplies it and uses us as distributors, and we consume it together in community.
Besides the resurrection, I bet you don’t know which of Jesus’ miracles made it into all four gospels!
OK, my title gave it away, but would you have guessed it if I had called it “Jewish Boy Loses His Lunch” or “Give All You Got and Get More Than You Had” or something of that sort?
So, why did the Spirit single out this particular miracle of feeding the multitude from a little boy’s lunch for so much press? The incident definitely infers a lot about Jesus and what he can do. That’s the customary Sunday School lesson from this text. The Christological and supernatural implications aside, I’d like to narrow this particular conversation down to his choice to use the human agency in that particular miracle. Continue reading →
Perhaps the story most seasonally sermonized, if not spiritually sanitized, at Thanksgiving is the healing of the ten lepers. All got well––well––sort of well, but only one returned to give thanks. That guy ended up getter “weller” than the ungrateful sort of ones.
I propose that an attitude of gratitude might well have something to do with getting well.
After they noticed their incurable sores and pocked skin cured, the nine continued on their merry way. After all, Jesus had instructed them to go show themselves to the priests to receive their clean certificate of health, so they could reintegrate as normal citizens in society. So why knock them for doing what he told them to do?
This is the final piece of this “Winning Malchus” essay. We’ve hiked the peaks and valleys of our Christian methods of helping people find Jesus. Though there is no right method, there is a right manner, a good heart.
We pick up the story after Peter lopped off the ear of a guy named Malchus in the Garden of Prayer. No way to win a person to Jesus really. Mercifully, on his way to jail, Jesus corrected his misguided act of violence. Nevertheless…
All was not lost. Later that very night Jesus the Merciful gave Peter the Impulsive an opportunity to redeem himself when one of Malchus’ relatives approached Peter in the high priest’s courtyard and asked, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” In other words, “Aren’t you that guy that attacked Uncle Malchus and chopped his ear off? What the *%#@ is wrong with you? If that’s how you Christ followers roll I want nothing to do with you guys! From now on stay away from me and my family!” Not exactly the response we look for in our evangelistic efforts. Continue reading →
We’re not given enough information to know what happened to Malchus after his assault and healing in the garden. Did he become a follower of Jesus or simply go on his merry way wondering what all that was about? If he did come to Jesus what did the trick? Was it getting his ear back or was it something else? Continue reading →
When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Luke 22
“One by one, these disciples would infect the nations with grace. It wasn’t a call to take the sword or the throne and force the world to bow. Rather, they were to live the contagious love of God, to woo the nations into a new future.” Shane Claiborne
Most pre-Christians think Jesus is all right, but his Church, not so much. Go figure! Could their antipathy have anything to do with how we (Incoming pun!) cut off communication with the world? You have to admit that after what Peter did, Malchus couldn’t very well “hear” the good news, at least not from him!
Some of the stories in the Bible were included to show us how not to do things. Abraham’s lies, Moses’ temper tantrums, David’s adultery, and Peter’s sword slinging for instance. Everyone makes mistakes, kings and apostles included. Continue reading →
God is throwing a perpetual party and is not stingy with his invitations or picky about where he posts them. You might even say he’s careless with them and prodigally hospitable! Though I wrote an essay a while back called “God’s Passionate Pursuit of People” in which I developed this in some length, I wanted to elaborate a little bit on one aspect of that writing here. I also did a podcast of an audio teaching along these lines called, “Truth is.” Maybe between the three of these meandering musings I’ll be able to clarify how God uses anything and anyone to carry his message to everyone anywhere.
God strews his truth all over the place, even in some places that we might mistakenly consider “God-forsaken.” He wants everyone to collect his invitations, look for their original source, and find their way to the party. As I outlined in the essay mentioned above, he posts these clues about himself in creation, conscience, culture, creed, crises, and of course, us Christians. He stashes them in some of the most unlikely places – next to payphones in dark, smelly bars, in Hindu ashrams, AA meetings, ancient philosophies, LGBT centers, and the like. Continue reading →