Listening: Gavin Degrawposted by Little Mo | Permalink |
This is an AWESOME album - Gavin Degraw's Chariot. Loads of tuneful piano, jangly guitar, heartfelt lyrics you can nearly make sense of but not quite, and the bonus CD with acoustic versions of all the songs. I am LOVING IT.
That was just to draw you in though - this is really a Bible post.
Matthew 8 was house groups' treat on Thursday - Matthew 8. Go read.
Healing of the leper and the centurion's servant. Just another couple of miracles to show Jesus was God right?
Dealings with these type of passages generally fall into three camps.
1) Jesus was compassionate to people. They were particular outsiders that he was nice to. You should be too.
While you can't argue with the principle, words can hardly say what I think about this line of interpretation - it is utter rubbish. the What would jesus Do approach to the Gospels is just so unhelpful, as it bypasses the wonder of grace in these verses completely, and turns Jesus into just another moral teacher.
As one Christian preacher once put it, any person with an ounce of decency should know to be kind to those less fortunate, we hardly need the son of God to come to earth to tell us that.
2) We are outsiders, but if we have faith in Christ's mercy and trust in his authority he will get rid of our unclean-ness.
This is more like it. The grace to those who had no right to expect his help in the society in which He lived; that is striking thing about Jesus here. He is SO willing to deal with our unclean-ness, he is so kind to the man who was oppressing his people. We love to put ourselves as Jesus in this passage, being kind to the outsider, the happy truth is we ARE the outsiders and have that greatest of privilege of the loving Lord Jesus healing us by his grace, and using his mighty authority to meet our needs.
This is, until Thursday what I would have plumped for is dealing with God through this passage. But, in the words of Jimmy Cricket, there's more.
Scan your peepers over these verses:
I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
What's this saying?
3) Faith is about YOUresponding to Jesus' authority, not belonging to the club.
Now, of course, this is evangelical staples. And yet, look at how these people respond to Jesus as models of faith - humble asking for his mercy, submitting themselves to his great authority. And so I asked myself, am I personally responding to jesus personally like that NOW, or am I, actually thinking that I am in the club, a subject of the kindgom, so doing ok? If so, and this is the chilling truth, I will end up in the outer darkness.
Incidentally, this is another reason why interpretation 1 is SO wrong, as it is entirely predicated on the very dangerous assumption that we are the insiders.
I'll be honest - my "quiet times" or whatever you call them where you are, have been pretty hard going and erratic over the last little while. And while we want to avoid legalism about that, the fact is I've been using not doing them as a way of avoiding responding to Jesus' authority. Why do I think I can get away with that - well my underlying assumption that I am in the club.
Silly, very silly. And playing with fire.