THIS SUNDAY, 2/20
- The Lord’s Supper
- Sammy will be spending time helping you get to know each of the men who sat around that table in the Upper Room that foreboding night. I am looking forward to this. See next article…
- Permit me to whet your appetite for Sunday…
- I’ve lent out my well-worn copy of John MacArthur’s, Twelve Ordinary Men, more times than I can count. As always, MacArthur is studied, researched and responsible as he attempts to help the reader get to know these very ordinary, very diverse men. Trust me – “Match.com” would’ve never put them together on the same team.
- A “role call,” of sorts, of the inner-twelve disciples’ names can be found in the gospels of Mathew, Mark, and Luke, as well as recorded by Luke in Acts 1:13 (Judas Iscariot is missing from the list in Acts since he was, by that time, dead. He would be replaced by Matthias.)
- As you know, there is much written by the biographical/gospel writers about Simon Peter, the brothers – James and John, and the betrayer, Judas Iscariot. Some is known about Thomas. And a little is known about Peter’s brother, Andrew, as well as about Philip and Nathanael.
- Speaking of Nathanael – there’s the confusion that arises from the names, themselves. Nathanael – the “can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael – is not mentioned in any of the lists I just mentioned, which has led scholars to conclude that Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same man. Then, the fun really starts with the disciple “Thaddaeus,” who is also “Lebbaeus” and “Judas, son of James.” His only recorded words are “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
- Of course, this begs the question, “Why would the translators write different names for the same person?” Very good question. The answer is because modern translations and interpreters follow earlier Greek manuscripts that read simply “Thaddaeus.”
- All of this said, the gospel writers provide us with enough information about some of the disciples to at least help us to “get to know them” a little bit. What we do know about all of them is:
- All twelve were Jewish, which brings its own characteristics and nuances.
- Being Jewish, we know they were all, on some level, racist (James and John wanted Jesus to barbecue the Samaritans.)
- We know Jesus didn’t choose a single disciple from the “Bible colleges and seminaries” of the day.
- But, as we travel down the list, it gets more and more difficult. This is when we turn to, both, early church history and the cultural, familial, and political contexts of the day. For example, we know from history details about Jewish zealots and Jewish tax-collectors.
- Last thing: never forget that our extraordinary God uses ordinary (flawed, defective) people to accomplish his extraordinary work. (See “Quote of the Week” below.)
This week’s tip: For those who want to go “deeper.”
Many times I’ve had a person approach me and say sincerely, “Nick, I want to go deeper in our studies of the scriptures.”
My response: “Define ‘deeper.’”
It normally takes a bit for them to formulate a response because they haven’t really thought about an answer to that question.
So, while they’re thinking I reply with something like:
“Consider this: begin by consistently putting into daily practice what you’ve already learned. It’s our obedience that activates our deeper understanding of scripture.”
It’s been said many times,
“The vast majority of Christians are educated past their level of obedience.”
Jesus broke it down this way as he concluded his parable of the Good Samaritan:
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man (to whom Jesus was telling the story) replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes. Now go and do the same.” – Luke 10:36-37 [emphasis mine]
In other words, “Now do, and consistently put into practice, what you’ve learned.”
That’s how we go “deeper.”
YOUR COSMIC PIC OF THE WEEK
Centaurus A, home to an actively erupting supermassive black hole. This galaxy is approx. 13 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Centaurus. It’s diameter is almost as wide as our own Milky Way galaxy!
QUOTE of the WEEK
“After Pentecost the same flawed disciples who had fled from Jesus’ trial became carriers of the Living God. In an act of delegation beyond fathom, Jesus turned over the kingdom of God to the likes of his disciples – and to us.” – Philip Yancey
LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE
When one door closes and another one opens, you’re probably in prison.
I hate when a couple argues in public, and I missed the beginning and don’t know whose side I’m on.
Cop: “Please get out of the car.” Person he stopped: “I’m too drunk. You get in.”
SOUL FOOD: Jesus was not “meek and mild”
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick