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Showing posts from June, 2020

Jesus and Systemic Evil: The Faith of the Centurion

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One of the most amazing stories in the Gospels occurs soon after the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 8:5-13; or the Sermon on the Plain in Luke 7:1-10. Read those accounts of this story if you haven't.

When Jesus talks to the Jews about their "enemies" he is undoubtedly referring to Rome. The Roman Empire is THE enemy in the New Testament. And everywhere they looked there were reminders of Rome, reminders of who was in charge, who called the shots, who ran the show. Israel did experience a certain level of freedom and autonomy - but only if they kept themselves in line.

But even so, Rome wanted to make sure that nobody forgot who was the boss. Their coins were imprinted with the profile of Caesar. They used these coins to pay taxes which were collected by fellow Jews who had defected to serve the cause of Rome. These taxes went to support the Roman military machine, including the occupying Roman soldiers in every town of significance.

Roman soldiers were basically the cl…

Jesus and Systemic Evil: Kingdom v. Empire

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As a Christian and a minister I try my best to base my worldview on the life and teachings of Jesus. He is the lens through which I view the world, society, religion, politics, the news, etc. So obviously I've been giving a lot of thought to how Jesus addressed some of the very issues we are facing today.

Particularly I've been thinking about the way of Jesus in response to the protests concerning police violence and systemic racism.

Yikes.

These are difficult waters to navigate, but we must brave the rough waters ahead.

IT'S NOT JUST FOR YOU
I want to begin by drawing your attention to two of Jesus' earliest sermons. His first real "sermon" was delivered in his hometown of Nazareth (Luke 4:14-30). One Sabbath he got up to read from the scroll of Isaiah. He reads what we would label Isaiah 61:1-2a –
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
   …

Justice and the New Covenant

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Needless to say, a lot is happening in our country right now. This past week, I shared some thoughts on current events as they relate to the New Covenant in the blood of Christ and the justice that comes with it. Communion invites us into a new reality, a new covenant, a new way of life fashioned after the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.