These are some reflections by a friend of mine. See the tab “A Second Peter” at the top of the page for more background. I’ll be sharing his thoughts from time to time. If you appreciate his perspective (or not) please leave a comment and let us know you dropped by.
God Can’t Be Killed. (John 20)
This is the last blog in a series on the significant actions of Jesus. (Miracles)
I haven’t really talked about the magical part of the miracles, because I’ve wanted to talk about the actions of Jesus that a rational person could accept. It’s possible for someone to walk away from abusive power, it’s possible to care about a party running out of wine, it’s possible to do physiotherapy on a lame man, in spite of hundreds of others needing care. For believers in miracles, I believe Jesus did miracles, but his sub-miraculous actions were also worthy of respect, and copying.
Not so with the resurrection. It’s probably the exclamation point on Jesus’ life and although I could talk about the symbolism of a new life: like a new career, or a recovery from some damaging addiction, or even the resurrection of towns after a bushfire, I’d prefer to give you my reasons why one Sunday morning, I believe Jesus sat up, as if he’d been asleep for parts of three days, swung his feet off the bed, pushed aside the rock entrance and went off in search of his friends.
#1. Sociological transformation. Jewish people had always been ready to die for their beliefs rather than to assimilate. Yet 10’s of thousands of them began following Jesus, and considered non-Jews to be their brothers and sisters.
#2. Personal transformation. Some of Jesus’ close friends changed from gutless wonders who were too scared to watch his execution to men and women who risked death to announce that Jesus was back alive. Some say Christian martyrs are like Terrorist martyrs, however to die for a lie that you know is a lie (which would be the case if Jesus wasn’t raised and they died for announcing something they knew was untrue) is a far cry from someone who dies for a lie that you think is the truth.
#3. Secular historians. People who had no loyalty or interest in Jesus, reported his death, and the news of his post death life.
#4. No body. Experienced executioners and experienced guards and a whole nation failed to find a body when it was profitable to do so. There are no dingoes in palestine.
I’ll keep writing from time to time, however I’ve tried to explain the core of the book of John.
God has an odd funeral manner. (John 11)
In the book of John, Jesus’ enemies started wanting him dead when he raised Lazarus (a good pal) from the dead. Before he did it, he cried! I’m sure it wasn’t good for his credibility since he claimed to be God, who breathes life into dust! So why did God cry? Possibly to show that he’s gutted by loss, death, pain, and disappointment, and wants everyone to know there isn’t a funeral he hasn’t attended or a tear he hasn’t noticed. God stands nearby and the things which break our hearts also break God’s.
God gives new sight. (John 9)
The purpose of these notes was to explain the significance behind some of Jesus’ actions. In John 9, he fixed a man’s sight. New sight for the man wasn’t just a physical thing, as he was also able to see what’s important. Jesus aimed to correct all sorts of blindness, like:
- Selective blindness: the art of not noticing opportunities to be kind.
- Beer goggles: the ability to like ugly people only when wasted.
- Colour blindness: racism.
- Blind following: holding to an unexamined theory.
- Others welcome
God thinks power is a responsibility rather than a privilege. (John 6)
A lot of Jesus-followers believe that Jesus fed a crowd of close to ten thousand people with a few loaves of bread and some fish. I think the real miracle was afterwards when the people tried to make Jesus King. He walked away, because he’d just fed thousands and He didn’t need to legally control them as well. Most people in our day seek power so they can coerce people, rather than caring for them. Budgets are stripped because a budget surplus is better looking than a reduction in poverty or more peace.
God often prefers small-scale action over inaction in the face of the need for large-scale action. (John 5)
In Israel, in 30AD, a sect of influential Jews had made it illegal to be kind on a Saturday, if it involved work! (What the?) One such Saturday, Jesus wandered into a courtyard full of sick people, researched who had been sick the longest, healed the guy, and ran away before the morality police noticed. (They later found him and yelled at him.) What he signalled by this action was that if you cant fix everything you have a responsibility to fix something. Kindness is mandatory, ESPECIALLY on Saturdays.
God Has Serious Affection for His Enemies (Luke 7)
Palestine has often been an occupied territory, and at one point the Romans were occupying it. What is strange is that during that time Jesus happened to show concern for and healed the son of a Roman soldier. Melbourne is going through a period of strangers caring for strangers, but Jesus showed how to care for the enemy. I’m not sure how he would treat any of the mass murdering arsonists of the last week, but I am sure he was creatively kind to people who other people would’ve tortured if given half a chance.
God Likes to Party (John 2)
The story goes that there was a floundering wedding party in Palestine. The hosts had misestimated the drinking capacity of the guests. A man named Jesus rescued the hosts from social ridicule by supplying 180 gallons of high quality wine, which some say he made hastily out of water. It was Jesus’ first public action and the question is why? Could it be that God intends people to enjoy themselves and doesn’t want the party to stop? Or that God aims to reduce feelings of failure instead of increasing them?