In Part 1 I noted how the twelve, like us, had a hard time accepting people outside their own spiritual circle. “Those other so-called Christians might believe in Jesus but they believe a little different than us. They don’t worship enough, or maybe too much. They don’t evangelize the way we do or pray in a way that is unfamiliar to us. They’re not strict enough in their practice of faith or they’re too strict. They have a different name on their church sign than ours, so they can’t possibly be as right as we are!”
There’s a church in our community whose sign you can see from the freeway called “The True Jesus Church.” It’s a clear message to all who pass by that there is at least one church in town that presents the True Jesus. I guess all the others worship an untrue Jesus?
As we saw last time, we don’t have a very wide welcome if we seek to shut up those who belong to a different expression of the Kingdom. But, as Luke’s adjacent story reveals it becomes obvious that these same disciples had such a narrow welcome that they prayed to burn up people who reject them and their Jesus. Continue reading →
46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village. Luke 9
All disciples of Jesus are a work in progress. One way to know how far we have to go is the width of our welcome mat. Jesus’ first disciples had at the beginning a mat that wasn’t even wide enough to wipe one foot on! And it didn’t have the words “Everyone Welcome” woven into it. That sort of wide welcome developed over time. Continue reading →
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 →
They say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away.Isaiah 65:5
There’s a stench in the air. It’s the pungent smell of arrogance. I smell it in both American culture and the culture of the Church. It has trickled down from above, not from a heavenly above, but from the heads of churches and of state. Our country, our church, our ideology, our politics is better than yours! In fact, I’m better than you!
The Left is smarter than the Right and the Right is more moral than the Left. Social media and talk radio self-proclaimed pundits bolster their frail egos by preaching to the converted with bluster and conceit. Don’t forget folks, we’re better than them! If they disagree with us and our candidate or our theology they’re fools, idiots––stupid and depraved! Name-calling and slathering paint with the broadest brush possible is a favorite pastime.