SUNDAY, JANUARY 17, 2021, 10:00 AM - ONLINE ONLY
Peace with God, Revealing Reversals, John 4:1-42
"It is no surprise, in view of his teachings and actions, that Jesus was crucified. What is surprising is that it did not happen sooner." -Ben Witherington III
Jesus challenges our ideas of how God should be. Where we want a vague force—Jesus gets VERY personal and particular. Where we want particular favouritism, God zooms out and goes universal. Jesus stands above, through, and in all God-experiences of all times. And we keep trying to kill him, but he keeps coming back!
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BIG IDEA: In order to have peace with God, we need to get around the obstacles to a direct encounter with God. God makes that possible in Jesus—part of Godself.
IMAGES AND ILLUSTRATIONS: Tearing down a wall, Mail Carrier, Temple
Jesus takes on religion in His context - and it's scandalous.
"When we pluck selective teachings of Jesus out of Jesus' human, historical, Jewish, Israel-based, first-century, narrative context, we tend to create a cosmic Christ who acts more like a projection screen that reflects back to us our own assumptions and inclinations. For some people, the reason Jesus always seems to agree with their views isn't because they have studied Jesus and conformed their views and values to align with his, but because the opinions of their detached, untethered, floating-in-the-clouds Christ have been made to align with theirs." (Cavey, EOR, 112).
THE SCANDAL OF PARTICULARITY
"God's universal love revealed in one person at one point in history in one place on the planet the scandal of particularity" (112). God's love is UNIVERSAL, BUT the expression is always PARTICULAR.
TEARING DOWN THE WALLS, JESUS VS. RELIGION
The End of Religion
Robert Farrar Capon, "Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is the proclamation of the end of religion, not of a new religion, or even the best of all religions...If the cross is the sign of anything, it's the sign that God has gone out of the religion business and solved all the world's problems without requiring a single human being to do a single religious thing. What the cross is actually a sign of is the fact that religion can't do a thing about the world's problems--that it never did work and it never will.” (97).
JOHN 4 AND BIG FIVE BOUNDARY MARKERS—The Five “Ts”
Boundary markers are about exclusivity—holiness. NT Wright uses the image of a letter carriers. "Picture a letter carrier who is proud of her big bag of mail. In fact, she is so proud of it that she wears it everywhere she goes like a badge of honour for all to see. 'Look how popular I am,' she tells her friends. 'I have so much mail!' She has forgotten that her purpose is to deliver what she has been entrusted with" (115).
BREAKING THE RULES—Terminating Torah
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSIONCheck-ins and ice-breaker conversation