Archive for March, 2013

jesus calendarJohn Mark is passing through town and spends the night with John in Ephesus, not very far from the amphitheater and library. Mary has passed away, but the church in Ephesus is going strong.

Mark: Did you hear about the Temple?

John: What?

Mark: Titus’ troops destroyed it last year. Just like Jesus said.

John: Yep. He called that one. Had a letter from Matthew and he mentioned it. He’s in Antioch or headed for Syria.

Mark (smiling) So, guess what year it is.

John: Why are you smiling?

Mark: Guess!

John: Hmmm. According to the Hebrew calendar today is the 19th of Adar I, 3830. Of course it depends on whose calendar you’re using. The Romans don’t think it’s next year yet. Then you have Syrian, Greek and old Hasmonean calendars. Every new king or Caesar starts the calendar over (mumbling) …carry the two…divide by 4…(counts on his fingers)… Does anyone really know what time it is?

Mark (singing the Chicago tune): Does anyone really care? About time?

John (singing back): Oooh, nooo…

Mark (smiling): Barnabas says every time Jerusalem falls, we get a new calendar.

John: Yeah, that’s right.

Mark: So, he figured Jesus, as the reigning Messiah, gets to start a new calendar.

John: Makes sense.

Mark: Peter and Paul agreed, so I’m making the rounds handing out these new calendars. Check out the picture! We’re gonna mark time from Jesus’ birth. Therefore, the year is 71.

John: Uhm. I’m pretty sure he was born in 3756 or 57, not 3760. Pretty sure. Mary’s told me…3760 is about when they got back from Egypt and moved to Nazareth. I think your calendar’s off a few years.

Mark: Nuts! So, you’re saying it’s, like, 74? Wasn’t Jesus 33 when he was crucified?

John: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying, You calendar has him being crucified at 30.

Mark: Are you sure?

John: Almost positive.

Mark: Well, what am I going to do with all these calendars? Plus, I’ve already handed these out in Rome, Macedonia and sent boxes to Egypt and Gaul.

John: It’ll work out. What’s a couple of years, anyway?

Mark: I suppose. Wish we’d have talked with you first.

John: Don’t worry. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. In Jesus, everyone finds a new start. Old things are gone, all things are new. This calendar is pretty impressive.

Mark: Yeah, had ’em made at Delvecio’s in Rome, near the fortress. Of course, they screwed the order up, they’d never heard of a week — put the Sabbath on a Sunday and went solar instead of lunar.

Tr8: Christ makes all things new. If he can restart time for the entire Earth, what might he do for you?

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love scriptureJesus is standing before his disciples and others in a conference room in the public library in Capernaum. They are wrapping up  DiscipleShipConference.

Jesus: So, now you know why I’m not putting anything in writing.

Peter: Got it. You want us to behave like you, not become a bunch of Pharisees arguing about what’s right and wrong.

Jesus: Absolutely. It’s important that you behave. Love God and love one another. That’s it. Total deal. The whole tamale. I’m more concerned about what you do than what you believe.

John: We know and believe in your love, Jesus.

Jesus: If you love me, love one another — even your enemies.

James (Jesus’ brother): Isn’t it important to have faith?

Jesus: Of course, but where is faith without love?

James: So, faith without actions is pointless.

Jesus: Correct. Faith without actions is dead.

Judas (winking): I believe you are our redeemer. I’ve 30 denarius that says Jerusalem will be free of Romans in our lifetime!

Disciples (standing): Here! Here! To Jesus, the Messiah!

Jesus (holding up his hands, shaking his head): Sit back down — my kingdom is not of this world. Here it is: I want you to LOVE Romans, not fight them. The kingdom is in your behavior.

John (thoughtfully): You’re not going to liberate Jerusalem, huh?

Jesus: Yes and no. My love will deliver all who come to me and follow my example — like you guys. The Pharisees and lawyers are looking for a King of the Jews to sit on David’s throne and rule according to the Law of Moses. That’s not happening.

John: But isn’t it important that we believe?

Jesus: There’s a problem with believing as a measure of righteousness. That’s why I’m not writing stuff down — it would become a checklist deliniating ‘us’ and ‘them’ instantly. Listen: THERE IS NO THEM.

Peter: Because love covers a multitude of sins. Our love operates in spite of sin.

Jesus: Upon this rock I’ll build my church! You are blessed to be living now. In 1500 years a guy named Luther will reform “Christians” by using scripture and writings instead of my love to resolve a church dispute. The Diet of Worms — a church council — will kick him out of the church. In fact, it’ll be in your church, Peter. He’ll start another one in protest.  That’ll bring on the Reformation and Protestants. ‘Believers’ of the Word will eclipse doers of the Word. Many in the church, on both sides, will forget love comes first.

Andrew: So, some of these “Christians” are going to become Pharisees?

Jesus: That about sums it up. I’m teaching, ‘Behave according to my love.’ Reformers will teach, ‘Believe according to Scripture.’ It’s unbelievably subtle. My behaviors will be in the Scripture, but the emphasis will get warped. Beware! Keep the tension right — the Scripture comes from inspired men piecing together revealed grace and truth, but I AM the fullness of grace and truth.

John: …the fullness of grace and truth…love is the key, right?

Jesus: Yes, love is the key. If you love God and others as I do, your beliefs will grow up just fine.

Tr8: Love God and others unconditionally. Scripture shows us how to behave.