Posts Tagged ‘Messiah’

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Jesus was not a small group leader with 12 followers…he was a rock star and came to Jerusalem as THE MESSIAH with a huge following. The populace rolled out the red carpet and screamed, “Hosanna!” Yet, he surrendered to the Jewish religious leaders and Romans without a word or a fight. They executed him.

To the amazement of Jerusalem, he returned and said, “I am the Son of God, whom you crucified. Repent and love one another!”

Then he proved he was THE MESSIAH by establishing his kingdom HERE, NOW, in our hearts–love one another”

Tr8: Believe in Jesus, love one another and live!

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, suggested Jesus was either a lunatic OR indeed, the Son of God.

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Jesus was a rock star in Capernaum and the north end of the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus began rounding up disciples in the area of Capernaum, on the coast of the Sea of Galilee. He eventually sent out 82 disciples. Jews traditionally recognized 12 tribes and 70 gentile nations (dispersed after the fall of Babel). Over the space of three years Jesus gathered a group of 12 to preach first to the Jews–“God’s Chosen”–and 70 other disciples to preach to “the nations.”

His Capernaum “gathering” numbered at least 120–many of these would follow him to Jerusalem then spread his resurrection story around the world. If each of the 82 disciples had families, the total “Gathering” may have been as many as 500 or more. In Jesus’ day Capernaum had 1500-2000 residents. Thus, Jesus followers may have made up as much as 30% of the local population. Jesus drew (and fed) crowds of  5000, plus their families.

Jesus was full of grace and truth. He modeled faithfulness to the truth and graciousness toward sinners.

Jesus was not a quiet, soft-spoken small group leader with a handful of men. He was a regional hero–a rock star–THE Messiah! Jesus was to Capernaum what the Beatles were to Liverpool–only more so.

Generally speaking, Jesus concentrated on Jews during his ministry and chose 12 men from the Capernaum-Bethsaida region on the Sea of Galilee. A significant number were fishermen and the rest ran the gamut from Roman tax collector to militant Jewish radicals. Despite their professional diversity, they were apparently literate. Jesus and his crew turned the region upside-down preaching a new “Kingdom,” raising the dead, healing the afflicted and feeding the poor.

Leaders

  • Andrew and Simon of Jona: Fishermen brothers from Capernaum. Andrew was one of John the Baptist’s first disciples. He followed Jesus after his baptism and then brought Simon, his older brother, to Jesus. Jesus renamed Simon “Rock.”
  • John and James of Zebedee: Also fishermen from Capernaum. Jesus gave them the name “sons of thunder.” They anticipated leadership roles in Jesus future kingdom, but Jesus told them to go to the end of the line to lead.
  • Judas Iscariot: Probably a militant Jewish fundamentalist. Jesus put him in charge of the group’s money.
  • Levi: A tax collector, probably from Capernaum. Jesus renamed him “Matthew,” meaning “gift from God.” He wrote the first Gospel narrative.
  • Jude (Thaddaeus) of James: Not much is known about Jude, but he may have written the epistle bearing his name.

Also…

  • Philip: From Bethsaida, near Capernaum; probably with a Greek background.
  • Nathaniel Bartholomew: A “guileless” man.
  • Thomas: A skeptical twin.
  • James of Alphaeus: Not to be confused with James Jonas or James, the brother of Jesus.
  • Simon Zealot: Perhaps a radical Jew.

Odds are these men were aware of each other before Jesus drew them together. As they gathered around Jesus, they brought their parents, wives, children and relatives into Jesus’ “kingdom.” Eventually, they moved as a small army, led by “The Messiah,” toward Jerusalem. There, they were welcomed as liberators. Jesus challenged Herod’s handpicked Temple leaders and their lackeys as Rome watched carefully.

The Temple leaders were not amused. They retaliated.

Much to the surprise and confusion of his followers, Jesus (“The Messiah”) surrendered voluntarily. He was put through a mock trial and executed. The disciples were shocked and went into hiding–fearing Jewish and Roman retribution. As they hid, Jesus appeared to some of their women, then to the disciples, and then, to others. They were shocked again.

The Messiah was indestructible. He lived. His kingdom reigned and his “good news” was preached.

The disciples became apostles.

They proclaimed, “Jesus, the Messiah whom you killed, is alive and he says: Repent and love one another.”

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Tr8: Life as a disciple is studying and obeying Jesus. Life as an apostle is becoming Jesus to those around you.

revolutionariesJohn and Andrew are leaving the post office. They had just picked up a package for John’s mother — a carrot peeler from K-Tel.

John: I talked with James and Peter. I think we can force Jesus’ hand.

Andrew: You mean, you think he’ll come out as Messiah if we put him in the right situation?

John: Yeah. Peter has no doubt Jesus IS the Messiah. We all think so. He’s fulfilled all the prophecies and we’ve seen him heal, calm the water, feed thousands and speak with absolute authority.

Andrew: If there was ever a king, it’s him. You can tell by the way he handles himself. Nothing — NOTHING – seems to ruffle him, except the Temple guys. He gets ticked off about their legalism. They need to realize a few eggs have to be broken to make a new Jerusalem.

John: Straight up. I know a servant of one of the chief priests. Judas and I are trying to get Jesus and the leaders to bury the hatchet and rally the people. Every time it looks like we’re ready to go, Jesus splits us up with his preaching.

Andrew: Right. We have to stop fighting among ourselves if we every hope to defeat the Romans.

John: We’ve gotta get Jesus to ramp up and clarify the call. More will follow him if he’ll go ahead and make the call clearer.

Andrew: Peter asked Jesus to meet us at the MacDonalds on the square. He’s gotten Judas to gather some of the synagogue guys and Simon’s rounded up his former group of freedom fighters. One of Matthew’s friends in Roman security says the Romans are going to do a “bow to Caesar or die” traffic stop next to Micky-Ds near the fountain. And we plan to have Jesus there.

John: That’s bound to work. Jesus won’t bow to Caesar. No way.

Andrew: Yeah, no way.

They turn the corner and almost trip over Jesus feet. He’s sitting at the corner with Murphy, the non-disciple.

Jesus: Hey, guys! Figured you’d be along. Did’y’get the carrot peeler for Salome?

John (looking at Andrew): Uh, yeah. Right here.

Andrew: Yeah, hey, Jesus. Murphy.

Jesus: Have a seat. Let’s talk.

John and Andrew: Sure.

Jesus: Andrew, who do you say I am?

Andrew: Why, I agree with Peter, you are the Messiah. The Son of God. Our liberator.

Jesus: Hmmm. What if I asked you to die for me?

Andrew: Lord, we were just talking about that! I’d die for you — and — we have tons of friends and others who will follow you all the way to Jerusalem or even Rome.

John: Master! We want to see your kingdom soon! PLEASE! We and others are ready to die for the cause.

Jesus: My kingdom IS here, RIGHT here. With me, you ARE in The Kingdom.

John: We know that, Jesus. We just want to expand your kingdom. It’s time!

Andrew: Yeah, it’s time!

Jesus (smiling sadly while shaking his head): You guys follow me. You listen. You serve. You even heal. Yet, you don’t see.

John: Don’t see what? Tell me! We see you are the King of Kings! Let’s move it to the next level.

Jesus: John, the next level is down.

John: What?

Jesus: Yeah, the next level is downward. The Son of Man came to minister, not be ministered unto. As Isaiah said, I’m a  suffering servant-king. We shall establish God’s kingdom on earth, but we make war by surrendering. I, the Son of Man, the Chosen One, the Messiah, shall reign in the fulness of love and truth.

John: Exactly! Let’s get down, then. Hooo-yaaaah! You are Lord!

Andrew: Right on, Jesus!

Jesus (gazing at both): Love you guys, but really…when I say ‘kingdom,’ it doesn’t mean what you think it means. The war you anticipate? It’s over. It’s won. Bury the swords, join hands, dance and love one another. You, too, or two, are sons of God, and though it doesn’t yet appear so, you shall be like me. So, be like me.

John: So, we’ll see you MacDonalds this evening?

Jesus (sighing; he and Murphy rise): We’ll see. Murphy and I are going up in the mountains to pray for a while.

John looks at Andrew and frowns.

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Tr8: Don’t force Jesus’ hand, relax and let him do what he’s doing.

(Based on John 6:15)