There might be a lot of rejoicing by the Angels when someone is lost and found. But to be lost or not, is entirely in one’s own own hands, to a very large extent. I say ‘very large extent’ as otherwise, Jesus wouldn’t have taught his disciples the Lord’s prayer with ‘lead us not into temptation’!
And, it is not exactly our business to create ‘rejoicing’ in the Angels, in fact there is more for the three, if one had not taken half of the property and returned without the one half he had demanded and taken from his father.
The story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, is a parable of Salvation & Redemption and NOT a parable which prescribes the benchmark for Christian life.
The context of Chapter 15 is explained at the outset by Luke, wherein it is mentioned that the ‘righteous’ Pharisees were indignant of the Publicans and sinners, listening to Jesus and consequently repenting and obtaining Salvation.
Jesus gives three parables, of how a shepherd lost his one sheep among hundred and found that one sheep, after much searching, and rejoiced over it.
Second is when a woman had lost her silver coin and when she searched and found it, she rejoiced over it with her friends & neighbours.
Jesus says that when these two had searched diligently and found it, in the first case, there was ‘rejoicing in heaven’. In the second case of the coin, Jesus says, ‘the angels in heaven rejoiced’.
The first of these two parables involves an animate sheep which had strayed from its flock, which necessitated the shepherd to leave the 99 sheep in a fold or in fellowship and go looking for the Lost Sheep.
The second was a coin, an inanimate object, which couldn’t have got lost on its own, consequently, the woman sweeps her place and recovers it. In these two cases, there was EFFORT by the owner to trace it.
However, the third parable of the PRODIGAL SON required no effort from the outside. This parable involves a human being’s Realisation after depleting his salt and returning to his father with the realisation that in his father’s house, his servants had a better life than the one he was living. Still, it can be ‘salted’ through the magnanimity of God.
The beauty of the arrangement of the third parable is such that the problem was beyond effort. The solution was self-realisation and repentance.
The third Parable involves property, a father and two of his sons.
Jesus doesn’t talk of whether the properties in the hands of the father were self earned or ‘inherited’.
But I am inclined to believe that the father had inherited those properties, as otherwise the second son couldn’t have been emboldened to ask his father to divide the property into portions that fell unto him, nor would the father have been duty bound to divide the property into two portions. Alternatively, though it was not the second son’s ‘right’ to receive half, the father wanted to sever his properties into two so that he could secure for his first son the father’s half of the one third share and not be molested by the second son in future, on some venial pretext if the second son were to return for more.
This parable is an amazingly apt parable in the context. The second son asked for what fell for him, which means, his father could rightfully have divided his inheritance from his forebears into three and keep one share for himself and the other two to be given, one each to the two sons. But the Wise & Compassionate father divided his ‘living’ into two parts, and gave the second son half of all that the father had. What the father did was a SEVERANCE OF NOT ONLY THE INHERITED PROPERTY BUT ALSO THE SELF GAINED PROPERTY AND DIVIDED HIS LIVING EQUALLY AMONG HIS SONS. The father left nothing for himself, either he trusted God like Abraham and/or had faith in the righteousness of his first son. Either way, he was right by hindsight.
The scripture says that the second son wasted his goods in riotous living, though his resenting elder brother, upon the return of the younger brother says that the younger brother “hath devoured thy living with harlots”! In any case, the resultant Fact was that the second son’s share and half of the father’s one third share were irretrievably lost.
Sure, it was lost. But the father is compassionate and gets the best robe for the Repentant Son, gets him a ring, shoes et al, upon his return; but the father was Not foolish enough to tell his first son to transfer half of his father’s share -which was half of one third of the original property divided between the sons- to the Repentant son, instead tells the disgruntled first son, let us celebrate now and make your brother happy, but still whatever is my share I have secured it for you and the Repentant son will have no say in it.
That’s why Jesus says “JOY SHALL BE IN HEAVEN”, but in no way would the original title as an ‘INHERITOR’ be restored to a Prodigal Son.
Look at the self proclamation of Paul in Philippians 3:6 “touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless”. Even though Paul glories in the Grace of God, he did NOT give up on his ‘blameless’ past. That still continued as a good qualification in the eyes of the gentiles and Paul knew it and exploited it. So to have a blameless past is great, but to insist on such a blameless Past for salvation, is Pharisaical and anti Christian. That is the pith and substance of this parable.
Jesus says, In my father’s house are many mansions, definitely a Repentant sinner would find a place there, but to exalt the Second Son and glorify him over the first is to grant the Repentant sinner the sceptre of power, which is neither tenable as per the Scriptures nor advisable on grounds of fairness. The Repentant sinner has to ‘restart’ with no talent in his hands to work on. He gets a start at life without being consigned to the dustbin of despair, but by no means would a father say ‘All that I have is yours’.
The Second Son got relief from his despair, but his return in now way restored his role as a potential Inheritor. The Second Son might have created the ripple of rejoicing but it does not guarantee the return of his former Prince-hood.
The Preacher in a Church today, 03/02/2019, was eulogising the Second Son, forgetting that human endeavour is not to create ‘rejoicing in heaven’ or ‘rejoicing among the angels’; but to be granted adoption as God’s children.
I am amused at the interpretation of rehabilitation being exalted above Inheritance. It is time preachers stopped taking Parables out of context and flying kites with their warped interpretations and making those parables the mules to carry their pet half baked hypotheses.
Posts tagged ‘paul’
Many would have read the following passage from the New Testament: Matthew chapter 17:
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove from here to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
21But this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.
The above passage was when the disciples could not drive away the evil spirit from the boy, and Jesus stepped in and cured the boy. Thereafter Jesus’ disciples ask him WHY THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO DO WHAT JESUS SUCCEEDED IN DOING?
The Godhood of Jesus is revealed in this passage, not because he succeeded where his disciples failed, but because Jesus says in unequivocal terms that it is the successful efforts of PRAYER &FASTING, which enables a human to perform such miracles. Secondly, Jesus doesn’t find fault with the father of the boy or worse still, even with the boy, but STATES THE INADEQUACIES IF HIS OWN DISCIPLES.
Cut back and let us see some passages of Paul in I Corinthians chapter 11 verse 30 says thus:
For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
James says this at Chapter 4:3:
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
The first is a passage by the self declared Apostle and the latter passage is by probably the earthly sibling of Jesus, if not the one who was one of the Boanerges.
In any case, both the pillars one of the Jerusalem and the other of the Gentiles points fingers at others instead of looking into themselves and spread fear, guilt and a sense of inadequacy in OTHERS. These “apostles” we’re constantly excavating reasons for either the sicknesses or the non-receipt of the things sought through prayers by the lay men!
THAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE. In their eagerness in building the Church, they couldn’t continue the path of self purification through prayers and fasting!
If anyone is eager to believe that Christianity is being used to purvey guilt and portray the laymen as inadequate only in the recent centuries, then they are terribly wrong. The process started immediately after Jesus’ death and resurrection!
Christ did not make the other man’s faults or INADEQUACIES as his reasons for non curing. No doubt He was/is God, but He recommended His disciples to look into themselves and not to find Pretexts.
That is/was and would be Christianity and not as what the disciples wrote with a misplaced fervour to build a Church!
God save us from false preachers of Christianity.
I was always at loss to understand what APOSTOLIC FAITH was all about! With innumerable denominations in Christianity, no sane Christian would ever claim that he knows the doctrinal differences which set apart one denomination from the other – unless of course one has had the inclination to study in a Theological seminary and in fact studied there.
APOSTOLIC FAITH is best described by Jesus in the following passage! Refer Gospel of Mark: Chapter 9, Verse 17 onwards
This is one of the best passages where Jesus reveals TWO CARDINAL PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIANITY. One is that when the father says that he BELIEVES but help thou my UNBELIEF – in all humility he accepts that his experience was in the way of his “belief” even though, he wanted to believe.
Secondly, that ANYONE who prays and FASTS would be able to perform what Jesus was able to perform.
Jesus is not applauding the father of the boy, like in the case of the woman with an issue for 18 years, or that of the Centurion whose servant was ill where Jesus did “tele-curing” from a place afar off; but was kind to the father who had the burden of his experience with his son, and WILLS ON HIS BEHALF. That is Christianity.
But come to the Apostles of Jesus and the Pseudo Apostle Paul, they were acutely aware of the fact that they were not ABLE TO CURE ALWAYS, but desired to CURE ( rather it was every Apostle’s ‘ASPIRATION” to cure). Jesus did not lay the blame on the DISBELIEF of others, but BELIEVED on their behalf.
I have no issues on the apostles not being able to CURE the sick and the invalids, but their prescriptions have been to lade the believers with GUILT. The following passages would bear me out:
James Chapter 5:
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
I Corinthians Ch. 11
These are the cornerstones on which APOSTOLIC FAITH is being propagated. They have forgotten the following passages which narrate what Jesus Himself said:
Luke Chapter 13
There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Another one is JOHN Chapter 9
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
So, from the above mentioned passages from the Gospels of Luke and John, it is clear that it is not because of SINS that a man suffers. But Jesus says there is a greater chance of relapse, if one falls into SIN again. So CURING of Jesus was to remove the SINS of man, for man to receive HEALTH. But, the APOSTOLIC doctrine was to PRAY for the ‘sick’ and then leave it for TIME to HEAL. In case, the person gets CURED, then take all the credit, if not , anoint him with Biblical verse that suits their inability to CURE.
My experience is that Jesus’ teachings have been HIJACKED by the not so competent Apostles by reiterating the sin of man, instead of going and PRAYING & FASTING themselves.
Even in the case of Jesus, mighty works could NOT be done always, yet HE never ever said that the lack of their CURING was because of their SINS. Pls read the following passages:
Matthew Chapter 13 says : King James Bible
And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Mark Chapter 6, Verse 5 says
And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
If one sees the second verse above, Jesus Himself had come to the ‘HEALING” mode and not the “CURING” mode. That was because everyone was an OBSERVER of the MIRACLE WORKER, instead of SEEKING GOD’S BLESSINGS! But never did Jesus say, it was because of their “sins” that they could not be CURED or could not be the beneficiary of MIGHTY MIRACLES. He admitted that their UNBELIEF could be a CLOG. Jesus never laid the sins of any man for him not receiving the CURE. That is Christianity.
That was what Jesus INTENDED. Not to lade men with GUILT of the PAST SINS. But the very same Apostles couldn’t get the message, how can I expect these 21st century APOSTOLIC FAITH people to get the message? All these have hijacked JESUS’ statements under the Pauline & Jacobean THREATS, which were mainly a cover-up for their own deficiencies and a HEAVY DUTY REVENUE MODEL, to boot!
Deuteronomy Ch.23, verses 15 & 16
Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:
He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.
This is the commandment given by God the father through Moses. Moses had been overruled by Jesus on many such laws and in proof thereof please read Matt: 25 and 26, wherein Jesus says, “…. but I say unto you…” and amended the Mosaic law with DIVINE authority. However, Jesus does not make any statement about SLAVES overruling the Mosaic law relating to escapee slaves .
Paul has an opinion on anything and everything. Having an opinion is not as bad as having scripted his opinion and such scripted having been found worthy by the compilers of the New Testament to be included in the New Testament. Further, Paul’s opinions were addressed to members, of the fledgling faith of Christianity, who were not rooted in the Judaic tradition. So when he wrote to the new members in Ephesus, he wrote for the edification of those members who were surrounded by a different spiritual ethos. Even when King Solomon, after having surrounded himself with Sidonian, Egyptian, Hittite women, succumbed to their gods and goddesses like Ashtoreth, Milcom, Baal etc. So Ephesians were in a different milieu and when Paul says at Ehesians 6:5- Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ, he is not recommending SLAVERY, he is merely telling the slaves not to worry about their present plight but “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” of Christian salvation and hope! Is such attitude tenable in Christianity? I am certain that Christianity never did nor would have ever recommended SLAVERY.
Let me first re-quote the Mosaic law:
Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:
He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.
1600 years (at least) before Paul had ordained himself an Apostle, Moses had written the above law as having been ordained by God the Father. So, Judaism is very clear on THREE things:
IT IS NOT THE DUTY OF THE PERSON TO WHOM THE SLAVE HAS TAKEN REFUGE, TO DELIVER THE FORMER SLAVE TO HIS ERSTWHILE MASTER.
IN FACT, THE LAW RESTRAINS AND PROHIBITS THE PERSON WITH WHOM THE ESCAPEE SLAVE HAS TAKEN REFUGE FROM CAPTURING AND SURRENDERING HIM TO HIS ERSTWHILE MASTER.
FURTHER, THE MOSAIC LAW SAYS THAT THE PERSON WITH WHOM THE ESCAPEE HAD TAKEN REFUGE SHALL PROVIDE HIM A PLACE OF THE ESCAPEE’S CHOICE AND THE PEOPLE OF THAT AREA SHALL NOT OPPRESS HIM.
THAT WAS THE LAW! AND THIS LAW HAD NOT BEEN AMENDED BY JESUS, THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF CHRISTIAN FAITH.
But Paul was given to much PRESCRIPTIVE CHRISTIANITY, a malaise from which he suffered when he was a Pharisee and later when he altered into a Pharisaical Christian. In any case, none of Paul’s letters show him to be a meek man (Moses was the meekest man Number 12:3), given to boasting but claiming that he wasn’t and in fact that he shouldn’t be! Another instance where SLAVERY finds a reference in Paul’s letter is at Colossians at 3:22, however, the KJV states as “servants” and hence I am disinclined to accept the other versions, where instead of the word servant ‘slave’ has been used. Paul was more than kind to Onesimus in recommending him to Philemon, however, true to his sophistry and chicanery tells Philemon that Paul would pay Onesimus’ debts with a superb piece of verbal calisthenics thus :I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. (Philemon v. 19). Why will Paul pay, if Philemon owes his very self to Paul?
So why did Jesus use Paul? The answer is in Mark 9:39.
John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.”39 But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. 40 “For he who is not against us is for us.…
Paul did what none did or could have done immediately after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. His was to spread the Gospel, he was the greatest CHRISTIAN EVANGELIST, who used letters and speech to turn people into Christians, rather than turn others into Christians by being a model through his own life!
Therefore his office was over and in legal parlance, his evangelism is FUNCTUS OFFICIO and to follow his prescriptive Christianity only helps the Pentecostals to build a brand of Christianity which emphasizes on tithes (revenue model for Pentecostal churches), preparatory Eucharist (denying administration of Eucharist if the priest feels that the communicant is unworthy, and thereby exercise authority!) and Exclusivity!
I hope Christians would abandon Paulian Christianity and return to Jesus and read the Gospels of John and Matthew, without allowing themselves to be tainted by such PRESCRIPTIVE CHRISTIANITY!
To come back to the topic, Christianity is the REPEALED version of the Mosaic law, where no amendments were made, or Moses’ provisions were not abrogated, the old is to be blended with Jesus’ statements. In the light of such an assertion, Christianity always gave LIBERTY to flee from SLAVERY and cast a duty on others to accommodate a runaway and provide opportunity for pursuit of happiness through FREEDOM.
So this leads to the next question as to whether, the slave owner has any RIGHT to own a slave and does that IMPOSE any DUTY on others, excluding the slave so owned? Yes, there was a RIGHT in-personam between the owner and the slave, it was not the slave owner’s right in-rem, where the whole society was to respect the ownership of the master!
Further, there are different categories of slaves mentioned in the Bible viz. those who have been abducted/kidnapped and sold as slaves; those Jews who had fallen into debts and have sold themselves as slaves being unable to repay their debts; Jewish slaves who have renounced their freedom and bound themselves with their masters, and non-Jews taken captive and freely traded.
If one were to go by Paul’s recommendation of attitude of the slaves in EPHESIANS, we freeze history to the Roman institution of slavery. But the instructions in the BIBLE, being an eternal book, cannot be limited to a set milieu or political order or even time. Joseph was sold by his brothers before Moses gave the commandment in Deuteronomy, therefore, merely because there was no law can we say that slavery was RIGHT? No, it was permitted by default, because the evil nature of man wanted to subjugate fellow humans and extract labour or other compliance from those fellowmen and women!
When THE BIBLE gives the LIBERTY to a slave to run away and the slave owner denied any protection through other persons, how can one assume that slavery was a matter of RIGHT? A RIGHT is NO RIGHT, if it does not cast a DUTY on others. In fact the Mosaic law casts a duty on the person, to whom the erstwhile slave takes refuge, to provide him space and liberty.
It gained the status of a RIGHT only under the ROMAN law, and since Paul was a Roman (which he invoked whenever it suited him!), he had preposterously made the Roman law the benchmark for advising salves to obey their masters as if they were obeying Christ! This verse in THE BIBLE cannot be taken to support SLAVERY in THE BIBLE. Even Kevin Rudd, fell a victim to such Paulian prescription which has unfortunately been embedded in the BIBLE.
Christianity is the religion of LIBERTY and FREEDOM, let us not choose passages to support our evil inclination, but be humble and read the Gospels of John and Matthew (simply because, a first hand recounting of Jesus’ life and teachings ought to be more reliable than hear say narration!) and LIBERATE ourselves from such self-demeaning practices.
Whenever I launch on my brand of Christianity, which is that John’s Gospel is the first preferred book of the Bible and Matthew, the next: i have brickbats aimed at me, and some have even let loose the much misused verse, “ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY THE INSPIRATION OF GOD AND IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, REPROOF, CORRECTION …..etc.etc.” For me a SUPER EVANGELIST is still lesser than an APOSTLE, who was not only chosen by Jesus himself, but even after the death & resurrection of Jesus propagated Christ and told what they had heard with their own ears.
Paul of Tarsus upbraids Peter, the apostle who was the most daring and action oriented disciple of Jesus Christ. That narration could be seen in Galatians Chapter 2 verses 11 onwards:
11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[d] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
This upbraiding was, in my opinion unworthy of a proselytized Christian who did not have the benefit of the WORD IN FLESH. Further, when the Phoenician woman asks Jesus, while He was in the flesh, for the cure of her daughter, He said,
“But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” (Matt:15:26)
But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. (Mark 7:27)
Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, while in the flesh, had no axe to grind after the resurrection of Jesus to tell something which he did not hear, therefore I suppose Matthew’s narration has authenticity and verity. Whereas, Mark, was first a disciple of Peter and then of Paul and I see more reason to adjust the FACTS to be in harmony with their doctrine. These adjustments may be in line with the present day thinking, but for Matthew who saw and followed Jesus, there would have been no necessity to accommodate the morale of the gentiles, like Paul and his disciples had to!
Jesus said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” (John4:22), which is very clear and as Khalil Gibran says about one’s children in his “PROPHET”: “They come through you but not from you, they are life’s longing for itself”, it is the preposition OF, which spells from where the salvation is to emanate and such salvation is not FOR the Jews only.
One should call into reference Jesus’ many parables, one of which is that the king made a big feast and invited guests but none having turned up, sent his men and collected people from the streets and idlers for the marriage feast. But when one invitee was found without the wedding clothes, Jesus did not say that since he was an invitee, he could come to the dinner without preparation. Even if one is invited, one cannot enter certain places without being WORTHY of that august company to which one has been invited! (Matt 22:5-14)
5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
This parable shows that the Jews were the original INVITEES, but because they did not turn up, citing one flimsy ground after another, the invitation was extended to the gentiles also. This doesn’t mean that the gentiles could go in because of an INVITATION, the gentiles had to be prepared.
So in my humble opinion, Paul was too eager to get in the gentiles into the fold without preparation, all in the name of FAITH, but the Jacobean WORKS was also important.
So that leads to the next question whether eating with or being seen eating with the gentiles was proscribed by CHRIST? My answer is that it is most important that there are some etiquette which are necessarily to be followed. Let us cut back and go to the feast organized by Joseph for his brothers in Egypt, Joseph did not want to be seen eating with the shepherdic Jews and did not eat with his own brothers for a while. Peter was merely NOT WANTING TO DISTURB THE FLEDGLING FAITH OF THE JERUSALEMITES, Jerusalem was the core. There was no reason, much less, any authority vested nor did Paul have the heritage to go ballistic and write such an epistle to Galatians proclaiming his doctrine and how he upheld his beliefs, even before the centre. According to me he broke ranks and even if that was forgivable, he did not have the courtesy of deference to an Apostle like Peter, who despite his impulsive nature was chosen by Jesus, after having seen through the heart of Peter. At I Timothy 5 :1 , Paul says:
Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
But Paul doesn’t seem to have practised what he was prone to PREACHING. But, who am I to judge? Yet I have to choose a Christian path, which is : to wisely make choices like a serpent, yet to be INNOCENT like a dove in, ACTION. And therefore I WEIGH to CHOOSE! Even if I have done something wrong in such weighing, may the Lord be merciful to me.
Paul to me was a messenger of God to the non-Jews, but Peter was chosen as the ROCK on which Jesus brought every believer. Peter’s ability to REPENT as soon as he realized; the trust he had to try walking on water – can you imagine the TRUST he had in Jesus? No other disciple dared, but Peter did it! He was shown in his utterly human weakness so that I do not glory in my flesh, but depend on His Grace. If Jesus died for me, Peter trusted and DID, but he could not sustain and thereby has shown that my failings do not have to hinder my access to God. Thomas by his doubting, has cleared my ‘fundamental’ doubts!
Paul is a bundle of contradictions of a dying Pharisaical attitude, with a relentlessly emerging CHRISTIAN CONSCIOUSNESS. And Paul chose his company – Paul tonsured his head because of a vow- WOW! But it is his EFFORT, which surpasses all his defects. Yet Paul is no norm for a Christian.
There is this beautiful passage which appears in Chapter V of The Book of ACTS in the New Testament of the BIBLE. I would like to remind the reader that these things happened after Jesus was crucified and resurrected and Peter was running the nascent Christian fellowship in Israel (or whatever was left of it then!)
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
PETER, as could be seen from the various incidents reported in the Gospels, was an IMPULSIVE PERSON. Not only that he was IMPULSIVE, but also a WILLFUL person. No doubt, he suffered a lot for Jesus and if God had forgiven him who am i to judge? Yet, Peter along with the NEOPHYTE Paul, who declared himself to be the Apostle of the Gentiles had brought in a brand of Christianity, which in reverberating through the centuries and has become the stumbling block on which many a church foundations had been/ are being laid.
If i believe JESUS LIVES, i cannot submit to the belief that Peter had a better claim to Christianity than i have as a Christian merely on the grounds that Peter lived in the flesh along with Jesus in flesh.
JESUS SAID, “SELL ALL THAT YOU HAVE, GIVE IT TO THE POOR AND FOLLOW ME.”
Jesus did not want to benefit from the sale proceeds of anything which anyone had who followed Him. Of course His daily needs were met by many people around Him, but at no time did He command that anyone should sell something and hand over the proceeds to Judas. Jesus was supreme, whenever he wanted a colt he sent for it and told his disciples as at MATT 21. 3 :And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. Whenever Jesus wanted food he asked and took. Once bread and fish was furnished by a small boy which fed many and Jesus must have packed the boy a load out of the fragments of twelve baskets gathered after feeding those thousands! JESUS was a GIVER not a TAKER. HE definitely did not want to take from those who intended to follow Him.
I do remember that Abram (later renamed ABRAHAM), after he had pursued the 4 kings and recovered all and returned the goods to the King of Sodom, Abraham said: Genesis 14: 21-24
21 Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.”
22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’— 24 except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”
If Abram wouldn’t take would JESUS take, who said, “BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS I AM!” That is the brand of Christianity that Jesus wanted. But Peter and Paul had IMMEDIATE interests and the victims were ANANIAS and SAPPHIRA! That brand of Christianity still continues and would till kingdom come. Peter and Paul built a Church based on FEAR, but that is not what Jesus wanted. He wanted people to give up their attachment to wealth and if that attachment were to be an impediment to their spiritual life, then they had to sell and come out of that ATTACHMENT.Let me give the prime examples of Jesus’ disciples who were wary of declaring themselves as His disciples: one was Joseph of Arimathea and the other was Nicodemus. They were RICH, but that did not come in the way of their following Jesus. Moreover, when Zacchaeus wanted to sell half of his goods and give to the poor, Jesus did not want a share in that! That was Jesus, but look at the followers who had turned CHRISTIANITY into THREATENING BEGGARY!
NOW MANY SUFFER FROM THIS FEAR- WHAT WILL THE PRIEST SAY? WHAT WILL THE PREACHER SAY? WHAT WILL THE PASTOR SAY? WHAT WILL THE BISHOP SAY?WHAT WILL THE CARDINAL SAY? WHAT WILL THE ARCH BISHOP SAY? WHAT WILL THE POPE SAY?
Instead CHRISTIANITY should be a free flowing offering made out of gratitude or LOVE. That would be Christianity. There was more GRATITUDE shown when the woman opened an alabaster box of ointment and wouldn’t stop wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair. THE MASTER SEES THE HEART.
LOVE EXPRESSES but FEAR REVEALS.
The following is the analysis of Philosophy and the evolution thereof according to Nietzsche:-
In every philosophical school, three thinkers succeed one another in the following way: the first produces out of himself the sap and seed, the second draws it out into threads and spins a synthetic web, the third waits in this web for the sacrificial victims that are caught in it- and tries to live off philosophy.
Nothing can be truer than this epigrammatic statement. Let us take the example of the trio Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Socrates had to consume hemlock before his Philosophy sprouted in the youth of Athens. Plato drew the thread and spun the synthetic web of UTOPIA and Aristotle with his ETHICS waited with hope for the sacrificial victims.
Let us come to Christianity, where Jesus produced out of himself the sap and seed, then Peter spun the web and Paul through his specific advice to the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Thessalonians, Romans etc. along with his votaries got his sacrificial victims. Not for nothing we have the Idiom ROB PETER TO PAY PAUL!
Even in Politics, the same holds good. E V Ramasami Periyar had sown the seeds of Dravidian movement: C N Annadurai drew thread and spun a synthetic web and I do not want to mention the third name, who waited for the sacrificial victims and made a good life for himself.
Nietzsche stands unparalleled in EPIGRAMMATIC TRUTHS.
When i reached Church for morning worship, i was amazed to find that last Sunday was the Sunday of Mary Magdalene. Whether there was any substance in DAN BROWN’S epiphany DA VINCI CODE or not i do not know, but his bunkum has had a startling effect on the Church establishment, otherwise they would not call Mary Magdalene an Apostle. Yeah, in the pew sheet for the Sunday (18/07/2010) Mary Magdalene had been described as an APOSTLE.
Well, an Apostle in the general sense is merely a proponent or a strident supporter of a postulate/hypothesis, but when the same word APOSTLE is used in a Church, it carries a special meaning. This is clear from verse 13 of Chapter 6 of LUKE in the Bible:-
And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;
Jesus had called only these 12 as APOSTLES. Later Paul the Saul Of Tarsus calls himself one. From thereon the APOSTLESHIP has caught the fancy of CHRISTIANS.
The point is when Jesus chose 12 of his disciples and called them Apostles, why did not Jesus call Mary Magdalene an Apostle? After all she was contemporaneous to Jesus. If Jesus did not call her Apostle, why are we eager to bestow that title on her? Curious. Yet, some Feminist Christians ( of both gender) take the instance of the resurrected Jesus first being sighted by Mary Magdalene as sufficient reason for elevating her to Apostleship. There is a verse in the Bible which says at Ecclesiastes 7:13-
Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?
But some Christians have launched themselves on that path of not only making things straight which God has made crooked, but also to HALLOW things which God had made PROFANE!!
Mary Magdalene from whom Jesus evicted 7 demons, provides HOPE for Christians, but she ain’t no role model baby!