May 16, 2013

The Bible - Part V

I’m finally in the New Testament! Yay! I’ve been rather tardy in blogging, so we’ll be covering the Gospels and Acts.

The Gospels cover the life of Jesus four times. You hear from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and get more or less the same stories each time. Just like any other happening, you get slightly different points of view and a few different stories here and there. While I was familiar with the overall story, this was my first time reading it all, and I greatly enjoyed it.

It’s sort of funny how some of the parables like the seeds that fall on fertile ground or rock are so familiar and seem so obvious to us, but at the time not even the disciples really understood what Jesus was saying. That particular story is a good example because the disciples went up to him afterward and asked, “What the heck were you talking about?” Jesus does explain it to them, but sometimes I feel like he’s also a little impatient with them. To us, it makes the disciples sometimes seem foolish because it seems obvious, but at the time it was so new that it’s no surprise that the disciples wondered why Jesus was talking about farming.

Actually, I kind of got the impression that there were a lot of times that Jesus got frustrated. I wonder what it was like to have all that knowledge and power, spend all your time trying to enlighten people, and then have those same people come up and ask what seem like the dumbest questions. It probably was frustrating on some level. After all, he only had limited time and he was trying to pack in as much teaching as possible. I’m sure there were some times he just wanted to say, “Listen, trust me. I know what I’m talking about.”

Acts is entirely new ground for me. I enjoyed learning how Paul went out and spread the word all around the Mediterranean, but it also saddened me by how little has changed in human spirit from then to now. Paul was doing a good thing. He was teaching about love and forgiveness. He wasn’t discriminating, but trying to teach anyone who would listen. Yet, the powerful Jews, who stood to lose power and prestige if this new church prospered, tried to have him killed. They were so threatened at the thought of losing their position they wanted to kill him for spreading love. Love! How insane does that sound?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed for the very same thing. What’s equality if not loving one’s neighbor? Power is so corrupting that even when the “subversive” message being preached is one of love, it threatens us. And you can extend that perceived “threat” to so many other topics.

It leads me to hope that one day we can truly embrace those principles of love and forgiveness. The world would certainly be a better place for it.

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