Monday, January 16, 2012
The heart of this chapter comes with its conclusion:
"Jesus' sending out the Twelve shows little parallel with the expectation of the reunification of the twelve tribes. Instead, the connotations of his choice and sending out of the Twelve show more significant parallels with Qumran leadership, and covenant reestablishment as found in Joshua 4" (McKnight 209)
As having just finished a degree at a fundamentalist dispensationalist school, it is refreshing to hear words like this. The point of the twelve is not to show that Jesus is finally putting Israel back together, but he is starting something 'New' with the 'remnant' he chose. The symbolism of the Twelve is obvious, in that it represents the Twelve tribes of Israel, but it is also clear that the Jesus did not exactly attempt to find each disciple from each different tribe (and he obviously didn't). If this is true, then it is hard to argue for the number twelve being an eschatological number (meaning Israel would finally return from exile). Jesus may have seen the final reunification of the Twelve tribes, but the text seems to tell a different story. The point of the Twelve is to start something new...maybe a 'New Israel'?
McKnight argues that the calling of the Twelve and the Baptism of Christ are both proponents of Joshua 4, and this seems very convincing. According to the gospel, Christ called the Twelve and immediately the next story is Christ at the Jordan river (hint. hint.) Jesus (or the Gospel writers) clearly identified these two acts of calling the Twelve and Baptism as a re-do of the original Joshua story (by the way Jesus and Joshua are the same name...again hint hint). Jesus seems to be re-starting Israel through his life and this is what Scot McKnight seems to be drawing out.
Do you think that Jesus was intentionally creating some kind of 'New Israel' starting with Joshua 4? I would love to hear your comments!
Friday, January 13, 2012
So what do Exorcisms have to do with the Kingdom of God? Over and over Craig Evans uses Luke 11:20:
"If it is by the finger (hand) of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you"
Essentially when the messiah begins battling the Kingdom of Satan (through exorcisms, headings, etc) the Kingdom of God has finally arrived. There are obvious implications for this such as the fact that one must admit that Christ did do all the miracles the gospel tells, but also if Christ did indeed performed these wonders, then it must be safe to assume that the Kingdom of God is already 'upon us'.
Evans also discusses aspects of Christ sending of the twelve, and how this sending involved the same type of miracles and Kingdom of Satan combat that he himself was involved in.
So to conclude, the incoming of the Kingdom of God is in all actuality a battle of creation. Satan has staked his claim of creation, and God (through the messiah and the church) is taking this control back. I believe that it is rather obvious that exorcisms and healing no longer occur in the same capacity they did through Christ and the twelve. How today might we participate in this battle against the Kingdom of Satan?
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Quiet time, time alone with God is awkward. In our culture today, it is really difficult to understand slow and quiet. We always have an agenda. We always have an itinerary and we always need to complete each phase of it as quickly as possible. I think our Western culture today is missing something through this though.
Mark 1:35 tells of Jesus early in the morning. Jesus’ disciples are still snoring loudly, the birds haven’t quiet awoken yet, and the sun is still thinking coming above the hilltops. This is most likely the quietest time of the day; nothing is moving, nothing seems distractive. This is the time that Jesus chose to be alone. But he did not just sit in his sleeping bag in his own thoughts. The disciples’ sleeping is still too much, too distractive. Jesus needed to move away from the quiet of morning to the complete and utter silence of the pre-dawn forest. This is the setting of Jesus sitting down and talking to God; alone and in complete silence.
It is interesting to think that Jesus would be so nit-picky on the setting he chose to talk to the Father. I think of myself and want to laugh. I usually am in the car when I choose to spend time in prayer with God. The music is cranked, the windows open, and the sound of traffic whizzing around my car. It seems that my time with God is not as dedicated, deliberate, and meaningful. It’s true! Jesus deliberately chose places and spaces where he could sit undistracted talking to God. This is my new goal of life. To daily find places where there can be no distractions from talking to God. Hopefully if you haven’t yet, you will try to find space for self as well to talk with God on a consistent basis.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Just like a Children’s book, Scripture is a Story. Though obviously the narrative in the Bible is much more complex and real, it still follows the basic rules of Story. Every Story must have some kind of Protagonist and Antagonist. Scripture is no different. There are many protagonists, namely God and Christ, but many others in Scripture. There also many Antagonists as well, the obvious Antagonist is Satan, but Cain, Pharaoh, and Caesar are all very important antagonists to the Story. What we find in Scripture is a Story about a God that cares so much for His broken creation that He is willing to offer redemption and salvation over and over until finally he offers a permanent redemption for all creation.
What is important to observe is that unlike a storybook from the library, the great narrative of Scripture is a Story about ourselves. It is a story that encapsulates all of creation. Though our personal point in the story is farther down the timeline than the Stories we read in the Bible, we are still equally a part of God’s great narrative. This has extremely important complexities to it though. If the story of the Bible follows the basic rules of Story, with a protagonist and an antagonist, then we clearly have the ability to fall under one of these categories. We can choose to align ourselves with the Cains, Goliaths, and Pilates, and we can choose to align ourselves with the Abels, Davids, and Pauls. It is not that the protagonist in a Story must be a perfect resolute person. It is quite to the contrary. David was a man after God’s own heart yet he still had an affair. Paul was a terrorist of the early Church, murdering possibly dozens of early Christians. A protagonist has the ability to have faults. It would be a travesty if the rules were that we couldn’t mess up to be the Good Guy. But the big point here is that we do have the ability to choose the good guy or the bad guy. What ‘side’ are you going to align yourself with?
It is important to note what a Good Story looks like. What made Abel a good man in God’s eyes were his sacrifices. Abel gave the best he could to God, while Cain did not. Cain is not ‘evil’ for just killing his brother. Cain is labeled evil for not giving all he could to God. Do you have skills that you know could help change our hurting world? A great example of this today would be doctors. Doctors have the unique skill to make sick people better. They are healers. A doctor can choose to practice medicine in America and average 300,000 dollars a year or a doctor can choose to use his skills sacrificially and help sick dying people in Africa that cannot pay him or her. Who lives a better story in these two examples? I know it seems obvious that the doctor in Africa is a better man, but how many of those kind of doctors are there? How many of us get an education for the selfish reason of living very comfortably in life? Even I tend to fall under that category many times. It is not that I don’t want to help the helpless, but I truly would rather help myself. Unfortunately a true protagonist in a story can never be the ‘help myself’ type. A true protagonist is giving. I guarantee you cannot think of a story that you truly enjoyed where the protagonist is not giving in some way. That is because that is the Story we live in. God wants us all to live a good story and a Good story is a story of a person who gives everything to God. It is hard and many times not fun, but it is what we were made for. Remember that even if your story makes you the antagonist right now, you still have the ability to choose to change. We all do. It won’t be easy, but it seems that the right path and the right Story never are. Let us pray that we have the persistence and passion to live as the protagonist in our own Stories.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I am becoming so weary with the attitude of the Western Christian. This idea of a 'personal' relationship with God being the only important thing is really just disgusting to me. I just recently had a somewhat serious discussion with a friend on this very topic. The conclusion my friend came up with was that her personal relationship with Jesus is really all that is important in this world. With this conclusion, this person blatantly admitted to not caring about the rest of the world. It is this selfish attitude that most religion has toward the world that makes me want to give up on the establishment of the Church altogether. I am not at all saying that a personal relationship with Jesus is not important, and at some point I probably have argued that point for myself, but as I am rediscovering Scripture and Jesus; I cannot help but believe that God came to earth to offer so much more than a simple selfish 'personal relationship'. It is interesting how our Western culture has so easily poisoned what scripture has to say on relationships. If a first century Christian heard that phrase, he or she most likely would not have understood what it meant, because they believed that Jesus didn't come to reconcile us individually back to Himself. God came to reconcile the world back to Himself. This can be somewhat shocking to people, but God did not come back to just reconcile Humans. Humanity was just one of the receivers of this restoration God offered.