Archive for March, 2015

Holy BibleIt’s 78 and Murphy, the non-disciple, sits in front of his public house in Caesarea. He’s very old. As he sits, his son, Josh, joins him.

Josh (excitedly): Dad! Guess what? A bunch of us have made a book!

Murphy (quizzically): Made a book?

Josh: Yeah, we’ve collected all the Jewish histories, all the gospels and a bunch of letters from James and the Apostles–we call it, The Holy Bible.

Murph: Hmm. The Holy Bible. Sounds impressive.

Josh: See, we’ve put it all together and then we can tell people, “Believe the Bible and you’ll be saved.” It’ll all be in one clean package. You know, all the answers in one place. One-stop-shopping!

Murph: Believe the Bible? I believe–I knew–Jesus and was a witness. I believe in Jesus, who didn’t die, for us.

Josh (exasperated): Duh! Sure, it’s all about Jesus. We believe what you believe, we’ve just made it easier to tell his story.

Murph: I have my doubts.

Josh: Listen, Dad, you believe the Hebrew histories and prophet stories, right?

Murph: I find it hard. After all, we’re not Jews. Yet, I believe the histories and stuff on Jesus’ word. He believed ’em and quoted them, that’s good enough for me. I don’t have to understand ’em. I trust him.

Josh: Well, that’s splitting hairs, isn’t it? Doesn’t really matter why, just that you do.

Murph: It’s different to me. The key is he didn’t die. He lives. In me. Now. Histories don’t really concern me. They didn’t change my life.

Josh (more exasperated): Good grief! Well, you DO believe in the gospels, right?

Murph: I believe the gospels because I know the guys who wrote ’em and saw what they saw. I’m pretty sure John is in Ephesus and I’m pretty sure Matthew is alive someplace. All but James, cleared out of Jerusalem before it fell. Jesus warned ’em to flee and they did.

Josh: So, we agree. The gospels are important and should be believed.

Murph (shaking his head): They’re Jesus’ story. I believe what I saw and I saw what the gospels say. They are reliable.

Josh (getting angry): Why are you fighting? We agree! You always have to be right!

Murph: I know we agree, but while the truth in the stories is important, the grace and love is more important–it’s what HE lived. It’s why he didn’t die.

Josh (irritated): Okay, I’ll concede that. Just work with me on this. The book is a good idea.

Murph: With the right perspective it’s a good idea, with a legalist, it could be disastrous.

Josh: What about the letters? We included James’, John’s, Peter’s, Paul’s, that Hebrew letter and even one by Jude.

Murph: I’m not sure about Jude and I think Barnabas wrote Hebrews, but I’m not sure. Could be Apollos or maybe even Paul in his “Hebrew phase.”

Josh (emphatically): But it’s all good and reliable, right?!

Murph: Yes.

Josh: Finally! It may take a few centuries to catch on, but this book has legs. I promise. All the guys in my small group agree. Your generation seems to be the holdouts–funny how the witnesses seem to resist this project.

Murph: Truth is, some of us have discussed it. Here’s our concern: After our generation this is all going to sound like a tall tale or myth. People will surely say the gospels aren’t true because they won’t know the historical context.

Josh: What?

Murph: Jerusalem, the war, the destruction of Herod’s Temple, the mass crucifixions and genocide. They won’t know that everything changed in the 60s. WE all KNOW about the fall of Jerusalem in 70. What future generations won’t know is what happened in 70 validates the gospels and letters.

Josh: What do you mean?

Murph: I mean, if they knew about the destruction and genocide, they’d know the gospels and letters were written by eye-witnesses. Why? Because the elimination of the Hebrews as a nation would have been mentioned–Jesus prophesied it, then we saw it happen decades later after he went up. Those of us who are still around talk about it and marvel. That’s just how he was when he lived with us…

Josh (thoughtfully): Sorry, Dad. I know it’s tough, still….so, future generations will have the gaul to suggest the gospels and letters aren’t real, or are just stories?

Murph: What do you think?

Josh (thoughtfully): Hmm. That’s something to think about. But surely, if we get the Bible all together, people will believe it.

Murph: Well, I hope so. But you know what the Sanhedrin did with their “Scripture”–they crucified Jesus. He died, then he came back. I saw him myself.

Tr8: Believe in Jesus. The one who didn’t die, for you and me. He lived so we can live in his truth and by his grace and love.

Watch this!

 

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churchJesus and his disciples are standing in the middle of the Women’s Courtyard of Herod’s Temple. Jesus stands looking toward the Holy of Holies and gestures to some passing Levites.

Jesus: Destroy this temple and I’ll raise it in three days!

Levites (surprised): Look at this, he’s got a demon! He’s cursing the temple! He is so going to hell.

Disciples: Wha?

Jesus: This is just a pile of rocks. The day is coming when a holy mountain here, in Samaria or in Sinai won’t mean a thing. I am the cornerstone of the temple.

Levites (indignantly): Somebody get the guards and a couple of Pharisees. ‘Mr. Messiah’ doesn’t appreciate the Scripture or the temple.

A pharisee arrives.

Pharisee: Let’s stone him!

Levites: Yeah! A stoning!

Scribes and sadducees gather.

Scribes: We can get him for blasphemy and swearing…yeah, he’ll stone real good.

Peter (trying to calm folks down): Here! Here! Let’s not go overboard…he’s speaking in mysteries. You’ve heard his parables! We hear this all the time.

Crowd (mumbling): Isn’t this Jesus, the rabbi from Galilee who heals everyone?

Levites: Doesn’t matter who he is. He’s got a demon and is talking about destroying the temple.

Jesus (holding up his hands): If you can hear, listen! Within a generation THIS temple (motioning toward the courts) will be destroyed. But THIS temple (pointing to himself) will rise again in three days.

Disciples: Um, Jesus, maybe take a minute and explain your parable…or, we could slip out about now…

Jesus (pauses, then heads for the Beautiful Gate): Let’s go back to Bethany–the ladies have dinner waiting.

Disciples (hustling Jesus on): Yes! Dinner time! (To the crowd) Sorry for the inconvenience, we’ll be back tomorrow and we’ll tell you what he’s saying.

Levites: Well, what about stoning the demon?

Scribes: He got away…maybe we get him tomorrow.

Jesus and the disciples head toward Bethany. They take a short break for a drink at Siloam Fountain.

Peter: Jesus, what were you talking about back there?

Jesus: God’s temple is not a place, it’s me and you–all you guys. Your bodies are God’s temple. Everywhere you go is a holy place.

John: We are God’s temple? I thought the Holy of Holies was God’s footstool and his glory is behind the veil with Moses’ ark.

Jesus: Yes. You won’t understand the three day thing until later, but remember: No more temples. We are done with holy places, holy guys, holy rituals and stuff. You are to do two things: Love God and love others as I have loved you. From now on, all you need to be doing is loving. When you take care of the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and imprisoned you are taking care of me.

Peter: What about holy places?

Jesus: You are a holy place and you have the Keys to heaven and hell. The temple model is over and done. The model temple is you loving those around you.

______

Tr8: Things have changed. In Jesus, you are okay, it’s not about you anymore. It’s about those around you.

Temple Model – The Old Way

  • holy places
  • holy texts
  • holy guys
  • holy rituals
  • supporting holy people

Model TempleThe Way

  • You loving others as Christ loved.

References: John 2:19, John 15:12, Matthew 25:27, 1 Cor. 13, Galatians 5:6 (b)

A MUST SEE series: www.brandnewseries.org