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Paul upbraiding the Chief Apostle Peter!


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)

“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 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.

 

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LOVE & FEAR!


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.

PHILOSOPHY


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. 

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