Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cha-cha-cha-cha-Changes

One of them was brash and overeager. Two of them wanted the power to kill their enemies. None of them were brave men—when the moment of crisis came, every single one of them fled out of fear for his own safety, forsaking their master to suffer his fate alone.

Yet literally overnight these men changed into powerhouses of faith, love, and boldness. One of the most powerful evidences for the Resurrection is the sudden and dramatic change in the lives of Jesus’ disciples.

From cowering, defeated weaklings to heroically brave and confident messengers of God’s love to all humankind. One night Peter is shouting obscenities at a maid denying that he even knows Jesus and slinking away into the shadows. Forty days later he is standing before a huge crowd and, with no formal education whatsoever, synthesizes the Torah, Jewish history, and the life of Jesus on the spot to form a complete picture of why Jesus was the Messiah, and concludes with authority,

Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36)
Peter is so powerful and compelling that three thousand people become believers that day.

James, the biological brother of Jesus, thought his brother was insane and at one point actually tried to get him to come home and stop all this nonsense. After the Resurrection he becomes one of the main leaders of the church in Jerusalem.

And every single one of the disciples save one were killed for their belief in the Resurrection.

“Welllll, a lot of people have died for a lie,” some may say.  Perhaps, but the difference here is that if the Resurrection was a lie, the disciples knew it was a lie. They all had ample opportunities to come clean and say, “Um hey, you know what? I’ve made a huge mistake. Sorry for all the confusion.” But not a single one of them did. Instead, they all went to their deaths proclaiming that, “on the third day, He rose again.”

And oh yes, let’s not forget the fact again that if they made it up, then they’ve got the sticky wicket of a dead Jesus still lying in his tomb.

Could these guys really have given the world this teaching, that of peace, justice, and God’s unrelenting love for us, if they were charlatans? Really? For me, it takes more faith to believe that than it does to believe in the Resurrection.

Remember too that these were ordinary men. They weren’t soldiers who’d been trained to be brave in the face of danger. They weren’t rabbis who were trained in theology. In today’s world, they might be shift workers at McDonald’s, mechanics, and accountants. Yet it was these average schmoes who changed the world more profoundly than anyone else in world history. That should give you and me hope!

Even non-believing scholars recognize that something happened to the disciples. A few years back, I was watching one of those ubiquitous shows on the History/Discovery/Science channel about the “historical” Jesus. Generally they’re ridiculous nonsense and not worth watching, but this one in particular was very well-done and fair-minded. One of the scholars they interviewed, who was not a believer in Jesus, said that, while she wasn’t sure exactly what really happened, it was undeniable that the disciples believed with all their being that Jesus had risen from the dead. There was no way to account for the fact that these everyday people completely turned the world upside-down (right-side up?) other than that they truly believed they had witnessed a supernatural event of monumental importance.

I hope she keeps studying that line of thought. Cuz she's right. And there’s really only one explanation that makes sense.

On the third day he rose again.

--Jeremy
Truth poorly defended loses not its truthfulness;
likewise Falsehood aptly defended loses not it's falsity.

4 comments:

  1. "Historical J...."!?!

    The persons using that contra-historical oxymoron (demonstrated by the eminent late Oxford historian, James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue) exposes dependancy upon 4th-century, gentile, Hellenist sources.

    While scholars debate the provenance of the original accounts upon which the earliest extant (4th century, even fragments are post-135 C.E.), Roman gentile, Hellenist-redacted versions were based, there is not one fragment, not even one letter of the NT that derives DIRECTLY from the 1st-century Pharisee Jews who followed the Pharisee Ribi Yehoshua.
    Historians like Parkes, et al., have demonstrated incontestably that 4th-century Roman Christianity was the 180° polar antithesis of 1st-century Judaism of ALL Pharisee Ribis. The earliest (post-135 C.E.) true Christians were viciously antinomian (ANTI-Torah), claiming to supersede and displace Torah, Judaism and ("spiritual) Israel and Jews. In soberest terms, ORIGINAL Christianity was anti-Torah from the start while DSS (viz., 4Q MMT) and ALL other Judaic documentation PROVE that ALL 1st-century Pharisees were PRO-Torah.

    There is a mountain of historical Judaic information Christians have refused to deal with, at: www.netzarim.co.il (see, especially, their History Museum pages beginning with "30-99 C.E.").
    Original Christianity = ANTI-Torah. Ribi Yehoshua and his Netzarim, like all other Pharisees, were PRO-Torah. Intractable contradiction.

    Building a Roman image from Hellenist hearsay accounts, decades after the death of the 1st-century Pharisee Ribi, and after a forcible ouster, by Hellenist Roman gentiles, of his original Jewish followers (135 C.E., documented by Eusebius), based on writings of a Hellenist Jew excised as an apostate by the original Jewish followers (documented by Eusebius) is circular reasoning through gentile-Roman Hellenist lenses.

    What the historical Pharisee Ribi taught is found not in the hearsay accounts of post-135 C.E. Hellenist Romans but, rather, in the Judaic descriptions of Pharisees and Pharisee Ribis of the period... in Dead Sea Scroll 4Q MMT (see Prof. Elisha Qimron), inter alia.

    To all Christians: The question is, now that you've been informed, will you follow the authentic historical Pharisee Ribi? Or continue following the post-135 C.E. Roman-redacted antithesis—an idol?

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  2. Dear Anders,
    First off, shalom to you and thank you for visiting my site and taking the time to comment.

    I would ask you, however, to please write original content when you do so. I visited your blog and noticed that the comment you left here is the exact text of your last blog post. If you'd like to direct readers to your blog in a comment, I have no problem with that as long as it is germane to the topic. But the comments section of my blog is not there for you to copy/paste your own blog posts.

    As to your actual comments, I respectfully submit that the belief that this Rabbi Yehoshua was the basis for the "Christian Jesus" who never actually existed is an extremely fringe view, one not shared by virtually any serious biblical scholar.

    The question of the existence of a man named Yeshua has *long* been settled. Those who claim otherwise show themselves not to be acquainted with serious scholarship, and the burden of proof is on them to show that a man named Rabbi Yehoshua as described was actually the source material for the NT Jesus.

    I believe you have misinterpreted the message of Jesus when you say that Christianity from the very beginning was strongly anti-Torah. Those following Moshiach Yeshua instead believed he had *fulfilled* the Torah. This attitude that he was against the Torah, however, has been very prevalent throughout history, starting from the time of Jesus himself. In fact, that's the main reason they wanted him dead--they saw him as a threat to their entire religious system.

    This to me points out the danger in relying too heavily on tradition. The first anti-Jesus people, referred to usually as the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, were so wedded to their particular understanding of Scripture that they were unable and unwilling to open their minds or hearts to new truth from YHWH.

    As for the claims of late-authorship and redaction of the New Testament, I plan on writing an entire post (maybe another series of posts) on that whole issue at some point in the future. For now though, all I will say is that it is now generally accepted, even among many critics, that major portions of the New Testament were written much earlier than that, even in the same generation of Jesus' original followers.

    Thank you again for visiting my site. I wish you shalom.

    ReplyDelete
  3. To all Christians: The question is, now that you've been informed, will you follow the authentic historical Pharisee Ribi? Or continue following the post-135 C.E. Roman-redacted antithesis—an idol?

    I don't know what that means, but all I can tell you is that I believe in the commandments of Jesus: Love one another.
    I think that's all it really boils down to.

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  4. Nicely put, i angel. The whole of the Law is summed up in loving God and loving one another. Jesus also said we should worship in spirit *and in truth*--it's not worth much to worship something that's not true!

    ReplyDelete