Bottles from the Springs! 9/9/19 Steve Cornell humble distiller and bottler... So this past Sunday Derek Thompson served the assembled Body of Christ at 12 Springs an interpretation flavored by his interaction with words of Jesus in the following passages of the New Testament: John 19: 1-10 and Matthew 20:1-16. As is my usual habit I will show you these passages for your meditation on them. John 19:1-10 New International Version (NIV) Jesus Sentenced to Be Crucified 19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face. 4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” 6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” 7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Matthew 20:1-16 New International Version (NIV) The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard 20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius[a] for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ 8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Well, we have been told that we are having a serious of lessons on the “disciple-ings” or Disciplines of Christian living. We had a guest teach-in from a sister pastor from a sister church and our own beloved pinch-hitter, Brother Anthony Gullo, both weeks good stuff from People Gifts of the Holy Spirit to our fellowship. But this week, as a parting shot, Brother Derek Thompson spoke about how people might just get offended by the Grace of God! Now how does that work out? Consider how Jesus and the people of His day handled Authority...Who had the most Authority? We can see this in the way Jesus met his climactic End Of Gospel Scenario-as I call it. Jesus faced off Vs. the Authorities of His Local Politics. Who were they? Chief Priests, High Priest, Scribes, Pharisees, and the congress of His people: the Sanhedrin. Then there was the Roman Empire-a police state situation. They told the Sanhedrin to jump and expected it to say “How High”?. Caesar ruled his Empire through Soldiers and politicians he called Kings. When we hear about Herod (and there were more than one), Herod was a local Rome-appointed King over Northern Israel, But Pilate ruled in Jerusalem. So Jesus bounces between the Sanhedrin, Herod and Pilate. In each case Jesus spoke Truth to Power. Derek spoke about how Jesus spoke Grace to Human Judgment. Jesus was condemned at trial by how people used their version of the Bible: They abused scripture in Judgment to crucify Jesus. How do we use the Bible? Pilate believed he had authority to condemn Jesus to death. He asked Jesus “where did you come from?” He wanted to know because he desperately wanted to pass Jesus off to someone else! Finally he tried to get Jesus to reason with him. Jesus however saw His authority as higher than Pilate's and that it was allowing Rome to do what Rome did. Pilate or Herod or the Sanhedrin could only do and Judge as Heaven allowed it to do. Jesus expressed that they had nothing that was not given to them. What would have happened if Pilate had appealed to the Greater OverLord than Caesar? What if Herod had sought out the real King of Israel for council? What if the Sanhedrin sought the giver of the Words of God, of the Law, of the Prophets, of the Writings? Would things have gone otherwise? But that is not what history recorded. How does the Human system get it wrong? How do we? I remember a Sister at our Bible Study who expressed the thought that many Christians were speaking too much about God's Love and Forgiveness. She wanted more “real Hellfire” in her Gospel. Is that what we want? Jesus told the authorities, “you do not take my life, but rather, I lay it down.” Human authority wanted death. God through Jesus worked otherwise. We call it Grace. It is easier to find some horrible wrong in the world, distance ourselves from it, and then condemn it as worthy of Death and Hellfire. Those people, we say, are due to go to hell for their sins. Jesus took the cross for exactly the reason to cross those sins and offer folks an exit from hell! Are we ready to love them to the exit? Derek pointed out the parable which today some say has a different meaning than Jesus meant it to have. We forget that the world literally stood at a crossroads! Rome would bring in a shift of thought from East to West. The Jews straddled a shift in spiritual practice and emphasis. God's Grace would offer salvation where the Law could only define evil and condemn it's practice! God's Words were being misunderstood and abused. There is a book about the Abuse of Scripture Written by one Manfred T. Brauch. He lists several ways in which folks today Abuse Scripture: They misunderstand it's Nature. They abuse the Whole Gospel. They Abuse the Biblical Balance. They abuse Words. They abuse Context both Literary and Theological, Historical and Cultural. Curious for details, read the book! It's published by Inter Varsity Press and this writer has a copy if you can't get a copy on Amazon or IVP's website. Do you feel grudgingly to the message of God's Grace? The complainers in Jesus' story complained to the Employer (God) that He was making them (Israel) Equal to the rest of the World (Gentiles) by offering the same wage (the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is Eternal Life) to all! Got a complaint with God today? It's Okay, God is listening! You see He is Gracious! And He is a good listener.