Wednesday, July 28, 2010

326: Kiss Ass

Acts 24-26
"We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly." - Acts 24:2-4

[The blog is moving back to Eastern Standard Time. Hopefully this is the last time I have to fiddle with the time zone.]

The day starts with Paul on trial again. Paul's accusers make their case (while kissing the ass of the judge), and Paul denies all of their allegations. The judge says that he will make a decision when the Roman commander shows up. Days later the judge comes with his wife to hear Paul talk about Jesus (why?).

The bible says that the judge keeps coming back to Paul in the hopes that Paul will give him a bribe. Two years go by like this. I guess that Roman commander is taking his sweet time to come testify. He takes so long to get there that the judge is replaced with a new one (Festus).

This causes Paul to have yet another trial under the new judge. This new judge asks Paul if he is willing to go to Jerusalem to be put on trial. Have they forgotten about how bad that worked out before? Paul says, instead, that he is in Caesar's court and wants to be heard by Caesar himself. The judge agrees to this strange request. Why would Caesar care about some unruly Jew?

Festus ends up talking to a king, who he tells about Paul's case. This king is so interested that he too wants to hear Paul. The king is also told to figure out what exactly Paul is being charged with so they can tell Caesar.

When Paul is brought before the king he again tells his entire life story (about Jesus appearing to him etc, etc). Upon completion of his story the king says that he's obviously gone insane (was it the voices or hallucinations that gave it away?). Paul responds by saying he's perfectly sane. This is, incidentally, exactly what an insane person would say.

Paul says that he will pray the king will become a Christian (only the second time the word "Christian" is actually used in the bible). As the king is walking out he tells one of his associates that Paul is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.

What's it like to be a "true Christian"?:
I'm a Christian. Why? "I was raised in church." "I obey the church creed or sacraments." "I live a good, clean life." "I believe in God." Sorry, you're probably not a Christian. Romans 10:9-10 makes it very simple. Confess aloud that Jesus is your master and that God raised him from the dead to pay for your sins.
Don't forget that you have to drink Jesus's blood, eat his flesh, and give away all your money, among other things. Her letter is actually titled "Bible says true Christian believing requires more than just talk". It's interesting that the writer immediately quotes a passage that essentially says all you have to do is talk (about believing in Jesus).
You never know what God will do. Wrong. Jesus always did the will of God. How? He listened to God and did what he said. Ignoring the Bible is the only reason for not knowing God's will.
Ignoring the bible? I didn't think the bible had anything to do with it. Isn't the Holy Spirit supposed to tell you the will of God/Jesus? Does ignorance of the bible make the Holy Spirit not want to talk to you?
I can do all things through Christ. I hear Christians complain frequently about not being able to do things because they don't have the money, the education, the ability, etc.
Jesus says if you ask anything in his name, God will provide it. Try I John 5:13-14.
This argument is just fundamentally absurd. People ask things of Jesus all the time. Namely, those Christians the writer talks about that complain they can't do things. Does the writer think they haven't asked? Maybe they're not asking "for the right reason" but where in the bible does it say you have to ask for something for the right reason?
The point is very difficult days lie ahead, and most Christians aren't prepared. The devil, through people, is out to steal from you or kill you. You have mighty spiritual weapons, but most aren't loaded.
Speaking of "true Christian". What kind of true Christian worries about people stealing their things or killing them? Stealing what exactly? The money and possessions that Jesus told you not to have? Killing you? So you can exist in eternal prosperity? I think if I were a true Christian I'd be hoping every day for someone to steal all my shit and kill me.

1 comment:

  1. Bryan,
    The "judges" Felix and Festus were consecutive Roman governors of Judea, like the earlier Pilate. Felix was governor from 52 to 59 or 60 CE. Festus replaced him and served until 62 CE. (Pilate was governor from 26 to 36 CE.)

    Acts 24:5. Paul is said to be a leader of the "Nazorean sect." First of all, note that it is Nazorean, not Nazarene. Second, the word "sect" (Greek "airesis") is the same one that is used in acts for Pharisees and Sadducees (where it was translated "party" or "faction"). Josephus (and only Josephus) also refers to the "airesis" of the Pharisees and Sadducees (cf. Acts 5:17,15:5), and also the Essenes, which Luke doesn't mention, but seem to be most similar to Xians. (In fact, a number of scholars have speculated that the Xians were originally Essenes.)

    So if Nazorean was originally a sect name, then "Jesus the Nazroean" means "Jesus the sectarian," not "Jesus from Nazareth."

    Acts 24:15: "and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked."

    First of all, the High Priest and elders were Sadducees, not Pharisees, so they didn't believe in the resurrection, as Luke himself informed us in the previous chapter.

    Second, the "wicked" are resurrected, too? Then why do we need to believe in Jesus (or do anything else) to have eternal life?



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