Tag Archives: Jesus

Weighing in on the Fourth C. Papyrus.

No one really knows where it came from. The fragment of papyrus is no bigger than a business card. First surfacing in 1997, the wispy section of fiber contains portions of sentences scrawled  in Coptic professing, quite clearly, that Jesus had a wife and that it is OK for her to be one of his disciples.

Papyrologists struggle with empirical evidence of those who state the document is authentic. The type of material, the ink used, the language, the wording, the style of lettering, the apparent emboldening of the word TA for “my” preceding wife, and much more. Is it a forgery just to throw folks who say his singleness and celibacy are relevant to his divinity, message, and lifestyle?

It is certainly possible for this to be authentic in date. However, the question arises as to the author and the purpose of the writing. Gnostic gospels and writings have for millennium been known for their errant descriptions and fictitious nature, almost revisionist in pursuit of something completely different than the historic Jesus.

Would it matter to any of us? Does it change how we perceive and/or Jesus?Does it change his message? What if it were true that Jesus were married? What if the gospel writers, Paul, Peter, and even James and Jude, both half-brothers of Jesus kept that information from us in their letters? Much less that it potentially was Mary Magdalene, a woman of questionable career choice early in life?

Or is this just a red-herring to whip folks into a frenzy? A ruse to mess with the Catholic Church tradition of single clerics?

Here are some links detailed articles on the matter:
Our own very own, Denver Post

NT Blog - “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” blog post

Concordia Theology BlogAn Ancient Manuscript and Jesus’ Wife?

From the Boston Globe “Harvard professor identifies scrap of papyrus suggesting some early Christians believed Jesus was married”

Francis Watson, Durham University, U.K. - “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: How a fake Gospel-Fragment was composed.”

Thank you Denver Seminary for your ongoing scholarly work on matters like this. You force me and others to think theologically, spiritually, and worshipfully.

The admonition to be cunning.

Jesus is more impressed with the cunning of “the people of this world” than he is the naïveté so common to “the people of the light.” And then—back to the doves and snakes analogy—he urges us to be cunning: “I want you to be smart in the same way . . . not complacently just get by on good behavior” (v. 9, The Message). There’s a certain charm to a Forrest Gump naïveté, the kind your grandmother had as she wore her white gloves to church—but is that the kind of person you could trust with your life?

God’s response to the Tower of Babble uprising was cunning—confusing the languages of the earth. It was certainly better than taking away the faculty of speech. Men could make some headway, but they would have a heck of a time uniting the world again in a rebellion against God.

Setting eternity in our hearts was cunning, so that every last one of us would be haunted all our days with unmet longings that would cause us to seek the only Fountain that can quench our thirst. I think the movement of the Spirit in the church is cunning—first here, then there, keeping men from systemizing it, keeping the enemy from squelching it. It’s like a game of rugby.

Jesus is holy and cunning.

(Beautiful Outlaw, 124)

“Seek the Good of Everyone?” Really? Really.

“But you wouldn’t believe what he did to me!”
“And he says he is a Christian.”
“It is just way too hard to forgive her for what she did.”
“She didn’t act like she was sorry when she apologized.”

In Luke 17, Jesus implores his followers to work with people of all types with the utmost respect and dignity.  To further drive the point home regarding dealing with people and their issues, John Calvin makes a good argument. We have no choice but to forgive people when they repent and ask for forgiveness.

If anyone, therefore, appears before you who is in need of your kind services, you have no reason to refuse him your help.

Suppose he is a stranger; yet the Lord has pressed his own stamp on him and made him as one of your family, and he forbids you to despise your own flesh and blood.

Suppose he is despicable and worthless; yet the Lord has deigned him worthy to be adorned with his own image.

Suppose that you have no obligation toward him for services; yet the Lord has made him as it were his substitute, so that you have obligation for numerous and unforgettable benefits.

Suppose that he is unworthy of your least exertion; but the image of God which recommends him to you deserves that you surrender yourself and all your possessions to him.

If he has deserved no kindness, but just the opposite, because he has maddened you with his injuries and insults, even this is no reaosn why you should not surround him with your affection and show him all sorts of favors.

You may say that he has deserved a very difficult treatment, but what does the Lord command but to forgive all men their offenses and to charge them against himself?     (Calvin, GBTCL, 37-38)

“What I must do today.”

A good reminder of what is truly urgent.  Nice post from Tom Rainer today from his blog.  Original found here.

I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35, HCSB)

I have incredible vision to see the faults of others. I can tell you quickly what’s wrong with someone who is close to me or someone who is a critic of me.

My problem is that I don’t look in the mirror enough. I don’t see the plank in my own eyes because I’m so busy seeing the splinters in others’ eyes.

My plan for this year is to read the four Gospels repeatedly. Today I read John 13. Today God broke my heart.

The text above is so clear. The primary way that others will know of my faith is how I treat fellow believers. The love I demonstrate to others will be the test of my witness to the world.

I have a long way to go.

May I share with you what God said to me through these two verses? I have enumerated them into five “I must” statements.

  1. I must demonstrate love to all Christians. The “one another” passage is clear. There is no exception clause. There are no qualifying descriptors that allow any believer to be exempt from my demonstration of love.
  2. I must demonstrate love even to those who do not show love to me. This statement is a corollary of the first. It’s easy to love those who always have my back, who are some of my closest friends, and who would never say a critical word about me. But I must love the unloving, the critical, and the hurtful as well.
  3. I must ask God to work on me before I seek to examine the faults in others. If I truly follow this command, I need work first in my own life. I must repent of my sometimes loveless attitude toward others. I cannot demonstrate real love toward some people in my own power. But God can work through me. He reminds to love others as He first loves me. And He loved me so much that He died for me.
  4. I must demonstrate love to my family. Sometimes my actions or lack of actions communicate lack of love to those closest to me. Sometimes my priorities tell my family members that I really don’t love them as I should.
  5. I must realize that one of my most potentially powerful acts of evangelism is to show love to other believers. I asked my barber once what he thought of Christians. He said without malice that he knew what we were against, but he didn’t know what we were for. That stung. I often lament the woeful state of evangelism among believers and churches. And then I realize with conviction how many times I have likely hurt the cause of evangelism with my own lack of love toward other believers. The world is watching me. And though it pains me to admit it, what the world has seen in me is not often a pretty sight. I know I have at times been a hindrance to the Great Commission.

It is amazing to see the power of God’s Word. And it is amazing to see the power of God’s Word convicting my own life.

I came away from my Bible study today with a message from God to me. It was a clear and convicting word.

This one thing I must do.

I must love others.

B90X2012 “Loud and clear”

Just because I can, does that mean I should?  In the good ol’ US&A, we have this thing called Free Speech.  Our founding fathers thought it best that ideas and opinions ought not be censored.

I think I understand the ideas and arguments to free speech,  when it is OK to yell “Fire” and when not to.

The prudence of when to speak and what to say when doing so requires wisdom. As we journey through the Bible in rapid form, today we hit a preponderance of scriptures in Proverbs dealing with words, speech, our tongue, cursing, lying, and  the like.  We are drilled with the differing types of uses of both the good and the bad.

The author of proverbs does bring a plethora of sayings about the words which fill our airwaves, however, the sayings are not about words which come out of vacuousness.  Solomon is reaching beyond the airwaves and into the viscera. Past our esophageal airway and into our heart.  Words are really nothing in and of themselves.  They have an origin.   That origin is the wellspring of life, our splangkna, our guts, our heart.  The Hebrews often equate the emotions of our guts with the kidney.

“A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction” (Prov 16:23, NIV).

“The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction” (Prov 16:21, NIV).

Without being majorly redundant, the source and style of words a person uses is rooted in the heart. How perfunctory of us when we quote Jesus when he said, “But the things that come out of a person’s heart come from his heart” (Matt 15:18, NIV).  It seems so oft quoted, it kind of has become trite.

Bottom line, what are the intentions of my heart?  Rather than just read the words of the proverbial sayings mechanically, every time I read a verse pertaining to speech and words, I thought about intentions.  These sayings ought to inspire us to examine the intentions of our hearts.

We should take those occasions when we are inclined to speak harshly as opportunities to reflect on our motives for speaking and to ask whose interests we have at heart.  We may find that our motives are more complicated than we imagined, that we want what is right but all too often seek what benefits us at the expense of others.  A heart that weighs its answers will also remember that little with love is better than meat with hatred (Prov 15:17, 28).