Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jesus and the Pharisees III

(Heard on NPR January 25th)

“On the opposite side of every divide in American life there stands the other. Depending on who you are the other might be a right wing evangelical or a left wing Jew. Or the other might be a group of Muslims praying in an airport, two gays kissing on the subway, or a gen next 20 something with purple spiked hair and a nose ring.” -Juan Williams, author of eyes on the prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965

Who is the other to you?

Mark 2:13-17

…He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and `sinners'?"

17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Has somebody ever tried to push their conviction on you? Why do you think they tried?

Have you ever tried to push your convictions on others? Why did you try?

The Pharisees pursued a program to extend the imperatives of the symbolic order to the masses while themselves following a rigorous practice of purity.

In today’s episode and the next two, we see Jesus directly confront the central tenets of the Pharisaic holiness code:

1) Their rules of table fellowship

2) Public Piety

3) Maintenance of the Sabbath

Table Fellowship

Table Fellowship was the central expression of social intercourse in antiquity:

For the oriental every table fellowship is a guarantee of peace, trust, or brotherhood…The oriental, to whom symbolic action means more than it does to us, would immediately understand the acceptance of the outcasts into table fellowship with Jesus as an offer of salvation to guilty sinners and as the assurance of forgiveness. Hence the objections of the Pharisees…who held that the pious souls only have table fellowship with the righteous.

–Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus

What are some ways that we guarantee peace, trust, and brother(sister)hood today?

Do we even have anything that resembles this?

If you haven't already done so (Ian) watch Dr. Muffins

What is the correct question to ask:

1) Is sin contagious?

2) Are we well?

Which of the two statements do you agree with more?

1) By grace, we are saints who sin.

2) We are Sinners saved by grace.

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