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- Jesus' Surprising Interactions With Other Religions
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- Editorial: Inviting diverse and disconnected people to follow Jesus together
Jesus did not come to live in your heart like an imaginary friend. Violence promises us, that in the end, when the last battle is fought, the last bomb is dropped, and the last enemy is slain, we will have what we always dreamed of — safety, a world without suffering, death or bloodshed; a world at rest. Yet, these are the very things Christ offers with the Kingdom of God.
A world where the lamb will lay down with the lion, where swords are beaten into plowshares, where mercy and justice flow down like the waters, where every tear will be wiped away from our eyes, and where there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. Christ and violence seem to offer the same final result, the two being competitors for our allegiance. These stories are the medicine.
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These stories show us that things are not as they appear. Our tidy, well-packaged ideas about spirituality, faith, and reality shatter when confronted by Christ and the God he represents. He came to blow religion off the map. Jesus did not come to tinker with our ideas about God. He came to show us who God really is. Jesus did not come to build cathedrals or pulpits. He came to start a revolution.
Leaving Religion, Following Jesus | Free Delivery @ bordahlcelota.ga
Jesus came to initiate a way of life, a new way to live, that knocks the props from beneath everything else we have ever known. Serving others will remind us of our identity and call us out from this self-absorbed, selfish world to be the people of God on a journey following his Son, Jesus. Why is this? It is because we believe that violence can somehow save us; we believe that killing will prevent future killing; we simply trust the way of the gun more than we trust the words and way of Jesus.
To be unmoved is to risk the greatest danger of all: To misunderstand and misrepresent God. To be like God is to dirty our hands with the labor of love. Jesus is not a Democrat, a Libertarian, a Marxist, or a Socialist. Jesus is not a Baptist, a Catholic, a Lutheran, or a Buddhist. Jesus Christ is Lord. It has arrived!
It is now! Heaven has come to earth! Rather, it is a revolutionary strategy to redeem the sufferings of earth by putting the rule and reign of heaven inside of people.
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This is not high-minded idealism or a feigned quest for utopia. Forgiveness is not something we can accomplish on our own or within our own power no more than we make the kingdom of God happen in the world. If forgiveness flows out of us to others, it is because God is doing it and not us ourselves. We say we are in the redemption business, but the door to that redemption is often locked by us from the inside.
All are welcome! How, I ask, can the world change — how can heaven come to earth — if we stingily protest against God for his grace to others, grace we have freely received ourselves? Typically, I refuse to do so, or at least I refuse to do so in a way that will please my critics. I do stand for something: I stand for love. For if Jesus came, not to condemn the world, but to redeem it, how can we who bear the Name respond any differently? Yes, what I believe about all these moral and social issues matters, without a doubt.
But these beliefs mean nothing, if my first and consuming conviction is not love for those who are different and believe differently than me. Sometimes, it is impossible to do both at the same time. A child—whether seven or seventy—is that person who still has a trusting heart, who is still dependent upon the Father and who has not lost the God-given gift of humility.
However, both the house and the boat can help to dispel the romantic notion that Peter was a humble fisherman from a rural backwater.
Jesus' Surprising Interactions With Other Religions
Galilee was in fact a strategic part of the Roman Empire and Capernaum and the surrounding settlements were centres of commerce where at least two languages were spoken. Could it be that Peter was not in fact a poor fisherman but a businessman with his own boat, hired help and a family to feed? Whatever Peter's life was like before, it was turned upside down by Jesus. The story goes that Jesus called Peter to follow him and Peter did not hesitate; he left everything and embarked on an incredible journey of discovery. In fact one could say that Jesus altered his very identity, for it was Jesus that changed his name from Simon to Peter.
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This was a hugely significant nickname, for in every language other than English Peter means 'The Rock'. Jesus appointed Peter as the rock on which he would build his church but the character revealed in the gospels seems far from stable, so did Jesus really know what he was doing? One stormy night the disciples were battling against the waves as they crossed the lake.
As dawn was breaking they saw Jesus coming out to them, walking on the water. They were terrified, thinking it was a ghost, but Peter asked Jesus to call him out onto the lake with him. Peter took a few steps towards Jesus on the water but fear and doubt then made him sink. Peter is remembered in this episode for his lack of faith but, as commentators point out, although he failed he was the only one to try.
On another occasion Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is, Peter is the one who says "You are the Messiah". In Matthew's account Jesus commends Peter's observation; it seems the penny has finally dropped! But just moments later Peter receives Jesus' sharpest rebuke "Get behind me Satan!
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Peter shows he does not fully understand the nature of Jesus' Messiahship. Throughout the gospel narratives Peter seems so near and yet so far from understanding Jesus' message and yet he is consistently portrayed not only as one of the chosen 12 but as one of Jesus' most intimate group of three or four. Peter is the spokesperson for the disciples but frequently says the wrong thing at important moments.
He is constantly asking questions and is not afraid to argue with Jesus. He is rash, impetuous and even foolish at times but he is never slow to pledge his absolute loyalty to his master. However, he was not to know how much this would be tested. One night in Jerusalem, after Jesus asked his friends to pray with him in a garden, Peter fell asleep. Moments later, Judas arrived with a mob from the temple to arrest Jesus. In John's account Peter lashes out with a sword and cuts off the ear of High Priest's slave.
This may have been the act of a man protecting his friend but if Jesus had been preaching peace, what was Peter doing carrying a sword? Peter got it wrong again. Jesus is arrested and the disciples scatter but Peter follows at a distance. Earlier that same evening Jesus had predicted that Peter would deny him three times before the cock crowed. Peter was adamant that he would remain loyal. Now, as Jesus faced a sham of a trial, Peter stood in the shadows of the High Priest's courtyard and three different strangers recognised Peter and accused him of being one of Jesus' companions.
Each time Peter denied it vehemently and just then, a cock crowed. The cockerel became a defining symbol throughout centuries of Christian art and this episode became one of the most famous of Peter's story. Scholars believe that Peter would have reached hero status by the time the gospels were written and history has a tendency to write about its heroes in a good light. The fact that Peter's denial remained so foundational to the narratives underlines the authenticity of the whole story.
For Peter in that courtyard, it must have seemed like the end of the line. He had let his master down, Jesus was sentenced to death on a cross and the movement was over The gospels say that in the following days an incredible event took place.
Editorial: Inviting diverse and disconnected people to follow Jesus together
Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his followers. The accounts differ as to what happened in those days but from the earliest sources Peter is listed as the first male witness to the resurrection. Whatever the precise nature of his encounter with the resurrected Jesus, the result was that Peter was transformed from a scared and dejected failure into the leader Jesus had predicted at the outset. The opening chapters of the Acts of the Apostles show Peter working miracles, preaching boldly in the streets and in the temple and standing up fearlessly to those who had condemned Jesus just days before.
The number of believers grows enormously and it is Peter who leads them with authority and wisdom as chief of the apostles.
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From such unpromising beginnings it now seemed that Peter had indeed become the rock of the church but in actual fact his leadership was soon contested. Midway through Luke's account in the Acts of the Apostles it is clear that the man known as James the brother of Jesus, and not Peter, is leader in Jerusalem; a fact that is often overlooked by readers of the Bible. How or why Peter is superseded we are not told but scholars suggest James had a greater religious pedigree that gave him a better standing with the Temple authorities.
Or perhaps, if James really was a relation of Jesus, it was only natural for him to succeed his brother. Whatever the reason, it is clear that Peter defers to James' authority. Yet the power struggle was not just two-way; Paul was taking the message all over the Mediterranean and setting up churches wherever he went. It is clear that on one occasion Paul and Peter had a major disagreement and Paul calls Peter a hypocrite for siding with James.
Peter seems to be caught between two extremes with sympathy for both; James believed that anyone who became a Christian must subscribe to the Jewish customs; Paul believed that no obstacles should be placed in the way of non-Jewish converts. It was an issue that could have split the fledgling church, perhaps it was Peter's stance that held the movement together. Considering Peter's prominence in the Acts of the Apostles, it is remarkable that he completely disappears from the narrative halfway through.