The Memorial Speaker vs the Theologians

Somewhat better than the secular atheistic-leaning theologians are the ones from a believing background. But considerably worse are those from a fundamentalist background gone ‘scholarly.’ Mercifully, there are not many of them because Bart Ehrman is more than enough, thank you very much. He goes on and on about how Christians in the first century did this or that “because they didn’t want to go to hell.” Sometimes I call him “the Bible thumper who became a theologian but you can still see the Bible thumper in the theologian.” I far prefer some egghead professor discarding anything suggesting divine action because ‘critical thinking’ doesn’t allow that than Bart also discarding and justifying it as a departure from the unreasonable doctrines that because they are unreasonable does not infest the teachings of the secular scholars in the first place. 

He is also the only theologian I would characterize as a “smart-ass theologian.” Hear him go on about the “seven last expressions of Christ on the cross.” (there are that many phrases if you count up the gospels.) It never occurs to him to reconcile them. He takes for granted that since Jesus’ words from one gospel do not appear in another that the writers just interjected whatever words fit their own ‘theologies’ with the conclusion that there’s no way to know just what Jesus said and maybe he didn’t say anything other than ‘ouch.’

Whereas the Memorial speaker last night—I have never heard anyone combine the words this way—stated Jesus’ words at Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” then continued to Luke 23:46, “And Jesus called out with a loud voice and said: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” At first glance, these two verses don’t reconcile very well. Would you entrust your spirit to someone who had forsaken you? Then the speaker went on to reconcile them. The withdrawal of spirit (forsaking) was so that Jesus would face the final test of integrity without God’s finger on the scales. One unaided perfect man (Adam) rebelled against God. Another unaided perfect man (Jesus) proves loyal to God. The counterbalance is complete.

That Jesus absorbed this, accepted it, and perhaps figured it out is evident in the saying found in Luke’s gospel, “into your hands I entrust my spirit.” His love for God was such that, even unaided by God’s spirit, he would prove loyal to the end. 

The speaker reconciled the two. Why doesn’t Bart do it? Why don’t any of them do it? The tricky reconciliation is only possible to someone who has an overall grasp not just of scripture but of the main theme of the scriptures. The secular scholarly theologians don’t have that. They haven’t a clue as to the overall theme of the Bible and appear to assume there isn’t any, that it is just a religious hodgepodge of individual ‘theologiies’ competing to outdo each other. 

***The bookstore

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Women Must Keep Silent in the Congregation?—How are You Going to Put Lipstick on THAT One?

Women were lightly valued in the ancient Greco-Roman and yes—even the Jewish world. So God goes out of his way to highly value them.

The testimony of a woman was considered near-worthless back then. So God arranges that the two most important newsflashes in history be given to women.

The news that Jesus is the promised Messiah? First given to a woman:

I know that Messiah is coming, who is called Christ. Whenever that one comes, he will declare all things to us openly.”  Jesus said to her: “I am he, the one speaking to you.” (John 4: 25-26) Even the disciples had to jump through hoops for that one. 

Jesus raised from the dead? That bit of intelligence also first given to women:

Why are you looking for the living one among the dead?” the angel asked the women. “He is not here, but has been raised up. Recall how he spoke to you while he was yet in Galilee, saying that the Son of man must be handed over to sinful men and be executed on the stake and on the third day rise.” Then they remembered his words, and they returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest. They were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. Also, the rest of the women with them were telling these things to the apostles. However, these sayings seemed like nonsense to them, and they would not believe the women.(Luke 24:5-11)

They didn’t believe them! Because the testimony of a woman was worthless? The angel doesn’t even bother to correct the men. They’d figure it out eventually, the clods.

And don’t get me going about Jael in the Old Testament, who had the privilege of pounding a tent pin through Sisera’s head! Sometimes guys need that. (Judges 4:25)

So who do you think is assigned the talk explaining the apostle Paul’s words at 1 Corinthians 14:34? Me, that’s who! It’s not the easiest assignment in the world. Just listen to what Paul wrote:

Let the women keep silent in the congregations, for it is not permitted for them to speak. Rather, let them be in subjection, as the Law also says.  If they want to learn something, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the congregation.

I mean, how are you going to put lipstick on that one? How are you going to account for how they speak all the time in today’s Kingdom Hall meetings? The guy doesn’t even try to be politically correct—that’s Paul’s problem! From this verse stem the modern complaints that he didn’t like women and that he was misogynistic.

Well, for a guy who doesn’t like women, he sure applauded enough of them. There is Phoebe, who has proved to be a defender of many, including me.” (Rom 16:1-2) There is Euodia and Syntyche, who “have striven side by side with me for the good news” (Phil 4:2-3) And when Lydia “just made us come,” she didn’t interject, “Not you Paul—you’re a misogynist.” (Acts 16:15)

Women weren’t the only ones told to keep silent in that 1 Corinthians chapter. Men were, too, so that it appears to be a matter of special circumstances. Of gifts of the spirit that were destined to fade away but hadn’t yet in those days of Christianity’s infancy, congregation members who would speak in tongues when no one was around to interpret were to keep silent—what good is a tongue if nobody is around to understand it? (vs 28)

If someone was exercising the gift of prophesy and another started doing the same, one or the other was to keep silent. That way “all things take place for building up,” (vs 26) appropriate since “God is a God not of disorder but of peace.” (vs 33)

Always you have to figure in context for any item of scripture. It appears that the women who were to keep silent in 1 Corinthians 14 were also those of special circumstances. Maybe they were speaking just any old time out of order. Maybe they were challenging congregation teachers—male as a matter of spiritual headship. Maybe they were angling to be teachers themselves. It is not a verse that precludes commenting in the orderly Q & A structure of how meetings are carried on today, the same as men are to do.

So I ran all these points past the congregation in my talk. Afterwards, no women gave me dirty looks. At least, no more than normal.

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The Bridegroom of Blood and Rizpah—Verses to Trip up a Scoundrel

When I wrote the post about deciphering the bridegroom of blood, I didn’t know that those verses were on the program. Thus, it might have seemed that I was making some snarky remark about whatever had been written. I wasn’t. 

My post wasn’t really about Zipporah and Moses, anyway—that is but a side point. The real point is that passages like Exodus 4:24-26 are very hard to explain to people...

Now on the road at the lodging place, Jehovah met him and was seeking to put him to death. Finally Zipporah took a flint and circumcised her son and caused his foreskin to touch his feet and said: “It is because you are a bridegroom of blood to me.” So He let him go. At that time she said, “a bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision”

...and that one effect of them existing is that they serve to separate persons conscious of their spiritual need from persons who are not. It is as though a forerunner of ‘separating the sheep from the goats.’

Ida mentioned an ‘apostate’ in her family who was impressed with the Dawkins book, The God Delusion, someone who “was inquisitive in all the wrong ways and too smart for his own boots.” These characters get separated out by such passages, and the others mentioned in the post, like the one of God ‘making’ the blind one (Exodus 4:11) and the one of Jesus’ flesh and blood—true food and drink (John 6:55). The ones too “smart for their own boots“ (my wife says it is their pants they are too smart for) either are excited that they now have a chance to prove their intellect by explaining what it tells us about some technical point that is not spiritual and doesn’t really matter, anyway. Or, they are put off by it, declaring it ‘ridiculous’ and ‘not worth their time’—and you almost wonder if it is deliberate on God’s part to trip them up this way. I think it is. 

I take such ‘bridegroom of blood’ verses, and for the most part I shelve them. I play around with them a little bit, but if you take them too seriously they become like that pebble in your shoe that begins to drive you nuts. Yeah—it could mean a lot of things, and there is not enough detail to know. Besides, they are essentially trivia, something that doesn’t interest me all that much, even Bible trivia. Maybe it should, but it doesn’t. If there is not enough to go on, I make a few stabs at it, glean or salvage what I can, and move on.

It’s far more interesting to me how people are separated out over such passages—and it is roughly according to their heart. I used to illustrate it with a secular parallel: “When Trump tweets that North Korea has launched its nuclear missels, people of common sense will run for the hills. People of critical thinking will run to their keyboards to point out that the idiot can’t even spell the word right.”

Unfortunately, the secular situation has grown so toxic that I can barely use that illustration anymore, though I love it. Trump has been under non-stop attack since he began, he has a sizable ego, a background unlike any politician, a crazy set of hurdles to leap, and he has taken to acting so erratically that you don’t know if he is losing it or deliberately goading his enemies—the list of which grows ever longer with each erratic tweet. I don’t even pretend to know what is going on anymore. Heckuva system for running a country, though.

Rizpah offers another example of how sometimes we try to sanitize verses, whereas I almost think it would be better to say, “Hoo, boy!” and move on. Instead, we almost act as though ones like her are as modern-day Witnesses transposed to a different setting, with concerns intact about dress & grooming, and turning in service time. 

With Rizpah, it’s a worse mess than with Zipporah:

“...the daughter of Saul whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite.  Then he handed them over to the Gibeonites, and they hung their dead bodies on the mountain before Jehovah. All seven of them died together; they were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the start of the barley harvest.  Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it out on the rock from the start of harvest until rain poured down from the heavens on the bodies; she did not allow the birds of the heavens to land on them by day nor the wild beasts of the field to come near by night. David was told what Saul’s concubine Rizpah the...”

When this was in our CLAM program, the comment was that Rizpah’s great love for God was such that she would not allow the hung bodies to be devoured by the birds overnight because she had such high regard for his law—as though any other woman would have no problem letting the birds devour the remains of her sons. She probably went insane, is my take, and whether she had regard for the law or not hardly seems the point. 

Now, it turns out that I amazed everyone by knowing all about Rizpah—an obscure character that no one else had ever heard of. The reason for this is that there is a book called Rizpah, by Charles Israel, that I read shortly after coming into the truth. The remarkable thing is that it made Rizpah, one of Saul’s concubines, the pivotal character, and told everything though her eyes. And in her eyes, Saul was the hero, David the usurper, and “the dishonest scribes” had rewritten history to reverse what had really taken place. 

All the events in Bible narrative were covered. What was remarkable is that it all made perfect sense as she told it—events could be seen from that point of view. I’ll have to read the book again to see if I still feel that way—it’s sitting on my shelf now—I just got it from eBay. But it was the first in a series of impressions—sometimes they have grown weaker and sometimes stronger—that things can be presented another way, and that we choose the way we look at them because we choose a view that leads somewhere—if you choose Rizpah’s view, all you are left with are endless beefs about how things ‘should’ have been.

For me, this carries over as to how we view ‘apostates.’ Things can be seen from their point of view, but we choose ours because it leads somewhere. We avoid theirs because it doesn’t. Or rather it does, just like Rizpah’s views, but it leads to places we do not want to go because of heart. They do want to go where they go, again because of heart. Head has little to do with it—it is just employed to devise a convincing rationale for what the heart has already chosen.

Our choice: matters of life being decided by Jehovah’s standards. Their choice: “The way of Jehovah is not adjusted right,” and thus they choose man’s rule (we do, too, have the wisdom to direct our own step!—and even if we don’t, no one’s telling us what to do!) or they choose ‘Jehovah-lite’—(let’s not worry about us being a people for his name. Let’s redefine it as he being a God for our name). In either case, the head is charged to spin no end of arguments to “make it so,” as Picard would say.

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A Get Rich Quick Scheme From Genesis - It Works For Me!

Abraham and his household left Ur and traveled via the Fertile Crescent—up the Euphrates and down the east side of the Mediterranean—to reach the land God said would one day belong to his offspring. He overshot his destination for Egypt because there was a famine in the region shortly after arrival. (Did he say even a little: “Some promised land!”? He had had no problem with famine back home.)

When he eventually returned from Egypt, he was a wealthy man. Where did he get his wealth? From Pharoah! Pick up the account at Genesis 12:10

“Now a famine arose in the land, and Abram went down toward Egypt to reside there for a while, because the famine in the land was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai: “Please listen! I know what a beautiful woman you are. So when the Egyptians see you, they will surely say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but keep you alive. Please say you are my sister, so that it may go well with me because of you, and my life will be spared.”

I understand this concern because my wife is also drop-dead gorgeous. I mean, heads snap around when cars pass her by—she nearly causes accidents. And being killed on account of men wanting her? I worry about this every time I venture into Walmart.

“As soon as Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians noticed that the woman was very beautiful. And the princes of Pharaoh also saw her, and they began praising her to Pharaoh, so that the woman was taken to the house of Pharaoh. He treated Abram well because of her, and he acquired sheep, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.”

Wow! And she was such a looker, and Abram was so scared of the Egyptians that he figured they would kill him so as to take his wife, as though wife-stealing was something they would never commit, but murder was. (I gave a talk once in which I observed that Abram was then scared for his wife and his life—I liked the rhyming) This, too, only a man like me, whose wife is also a looker, would understand.

“Then Jehovah struck Pharaoh and his household with severe plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said: “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister, so that I was about to take her as my wife? Here is your wife. Take her and go!” So Pharaoh gave his men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.”

As observed previously, he had a lot by then. He had cleaned out Pharoah!

Now, I do nothing but study my Bible and I immediately put into practice anything I read. I travel to cities where there are wealthy and powerful men, like Binghamton and Watertown, and introduce my wife to them as my sister. Their eyes bug out of their heads, of course, as soon as they see her, and they lead me to their wall safes on her account, open them up, and tell me to take anything I want. As it turns out, I want quite a bit.

Then they try to put the moves on my wife. She plays it cool, staying just outside of their grasp—we’ve run this scam many times before. Then I manage to let it slip, as though by accident, that she is actually my wife and not my sister at all. They get all nervous thinking that God is going to smite them. Next thing you know, the two of us are on the road, a few million dollars richer, heading to search out another sucker in another city.

Don’t tell me that there is no value in Bible study. Just don’t go there.

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Moses Strikes the Rock and Draws Water in a Rebellious Age

“Finally, Moses cried out to Jehovah: “What should I do with this people? A little longer and they will stone me!” as the Israelites went online and complained 24/7 over everything under the sun. It is an update Exodus 17:4 into the present. Though the July 2018 Watchtower article entitled ‘Where are Your Eyes Looking?’ nowhere makes the connection, beyond a vague reference to those having ‘a measure of responsibility in God’s organization,’ which everyone took as a reference to congregation elders, I couldn’t help but think the ones of the Governing Body had themselves foremost in mind as beneficiaries of the counsel offered.

It is not as though I have any special insight. It is just that I hang out on the internet a lot and I hear all the grousing going on. It is not necessarily to my credit that I do this. It may be like the impression you get from hearing Trump and Obama people scream online at each other day and night but then you go into the real world and you find that people get along with each other tolerably well despite differences, and it is just the internet that gives a skewed picture.

Much was made of the instance in which Moses produced water from the rock at God’s direction. He did it twice, something that I had forgotten, if I ever knew it in the first place. The first was months after crossing the Red Sea, during a time when there was so much muttering over lack of water that Moses in frustration cried out the words above. It didn’t occur to them that the God who slammed Egypt with ten plagues and parted the waters, closing them upon the army in pursuit, could solve the problem of a drought. Jehovah told Moses to strike a rock. Moses did, and water gushed out. (Exodus 17)

The next instance was almost 40 years later, and the people seem to have worn Moses down, what with constant bellyaching and occasional rebellion throughout the interim. This time when they started complaining over the same thing, Moses lost it. “Hear, now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you from this crag?” and struck the rock twice, after which water again gushed out. But God didn’t like what Moses had shouted. Much later Psalm 106: 32-33 says, ‘They provoked him at the waters of Meribah, and it went badly for Moses because of them. They embittered his spirit, and he spoke rashly with his lips.”

Look, if you approach the speaker after a good talk and tell him it was a good talk, he will as often as not say something to the effect that it is not really him who should get the credit, but Jehovah. He says that even though people are capable of speaking all by themselves without any help at all from Jehovah. So what about someone who takes full credit for doing what no human in a thousand years could do? It is what Moses did. Yet that’s what can happen when the scoundrels are nipping at your heels day and night for forty years. This last bit of correction from God, that Moses as a result of his outburst would not be the one to take his countrymen into the promised land, strikes the average reader as pretty harsh. Yet it is entirely in harmony with ‘to whom more is given, more will be expected,’ and ‘he will finish your training; he will make you firm.’ Moses, like everybody else, is being trained for the real life, not this transitory one.

Notwithstanding that the internet is the perfect breeding ground for complainers, one has to ask. ‘What is it with all these malcontents?’ It is as though kicking against the goads is the order of the day, seen everywhere. Acquiescence to the authority of the parent, the teacher, the counselor, the coach, the boss, the consulted advisor, the party leader, the union steward, and those taking the lead in the congregation was once an entirely unremarkable fact of life; today it is selling out one’s soul. I begin to imagine the GB posting God’s rebuke to Moses as their own personal yeartext, in hopes that they do not also lose it one day kicking back at the grumblers.

God counted that complaining about Moses as complaining about Him. “When your forefathers tested me; They challenged me, though they had seen my works,” reads Psalm 96:6. ‘Yeah, well, they’re no Moses,’ I can hear the retorts already, ‘Where are their comparable works? What Red Sea did they lead anyone though?’

No, I think people should think very hard before they go there. The human component of the divine-human interface is always the sticking point. It is even so with Judas. He and God were tight; there were absolutely no problems there. But that fraud that claimed to be the Messiah! That was just too much for Judas.

Observing that literal food and drink prefigures the greater spiritual food and drink, the accomplishments of the Witness organization today are nothing short of amazing, The average person of a developing nation is stuck with some 200 year-old turkey of a translation that he can neither afford nor understand because those in the church world think it only natural that Big Business be entrusted with the distribution of God’s word. Only Jehovah’s Witnesses devise an entirely separate channel to place a modern understandable translation in his hands at minimal cost, even free. The Bible satisfactorily answers questions that are answered nowhere else, the deeper questions of life such as ‘Why would God permit suffering, why do people die and what is the hope afterward, and what is the ultimate purpose of life?’ Although this fellow may not have a nickel to his name, he has access to the answers no less than someone in more affluent lands, some of whom count it as nothing as they grouse about matters of personal inconvenience.

It is not nothing. However, when people become obsessed with their own immediate needs and wants, it can become as nothing. I don’t dare do it: simply become a whiner over present inconveniences. There are some inconveniences, of course, in pursuing a united service to God today, but to carry on excessively about them seems to me a reality not too far off from Moses in Sinai. In any organization there is a chance that a given decision will not go your way. Should organization be jettisoned on that account? It is exactly what opposers would wish. That way individuals flail away, accomplish little, and can likely be absorbed in time by the popular cause.

Obviously if you take away the upside there become nothing left other than to bitch about the downside. The rage today of the young is to go atheist. Who smoothed that path for them? However, when they come around complaining about the ‘restrictions’ they have broken free from, always ask them what they have found that is better. What is it that they have to offer? Are they not just ‘promising them freedom’ while existing as ‘slaves of corruption’? What do they have to offer? Simply the freedom to do whatever one wants without check? History shows that freedom has not worked out particularly well for humankind.

Poussin _Nicolas_-_Moses_Striking_Water_from_the_Rock_-_1649

 

 

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Ben Franklin Gets Jilted and Flip-Flopping on the Resurrection

Ben Franklin courted the widow of his good friend, but the woman turned him down flat: ‘I could never be untrue to my husband.’ Then, in a dream, he went to heaven and met his good friend. They exchanged pleasantries until the friend presently said: “You must meet my new wife. She’ll be along soon.” Ben Franklin couldn’t believe it. ‘Your earthly wife is more loyal than you!’ he said. She turned me down cold on your account!’ ‘That’s too bad for you,’ the friend said. ‘She is an excellent woman and I missed her terribly at first, but now it is time to move on.’

As Ben Franklin grumbled, the ‘new’ wife showed up and it was Ben’s own deceased wife! Ben Franklin turned his rebuke on her, but she said: ‘I was a good and loyal wife to you for 50 years. Let that be enough for you!’

It is a mangling of Luke 20: 34-36, most likely, botched, but nonetheless used as a starting point. No need to say what is wrong with it. Suffice that it addresses the changed nature of relationships after death:

“Jesus said to them: ‘The children of this system of things marry and are given in marriage, but those who have been counted worthy of gaining that system of things and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. In fact, neither can they die anymore, for they are like the angels, and they are God’s children by being children of the resurrection.’”

For the longest time Jehovah’s Witnesses took those verses to mean that those who lost a spouse in death would not reunite in the earthly resurrection. The words were in response to a beef of the Saduccees, who did not believe in the earthly resurrection. Jesus went on to speak of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who will benefit from it.

After a certain public talk years ago that had mentioned the verse, a sister raised her had during the chairman’s remarks, something I had never seen before and have not seen again. She was new in the faith, widowed, and she looked forward to reuniting with her husband in the resurrection. She quizzed the chairman until the speaker himself raised his hand and said he would clarify the verse for her afterwards.

About 30-40 years ago, the Witness organization looked at the verses anew and said maybe she could reunite. They didn’t want to be dogmatic. Maybe the verses just applied to those having the heavenly hope, as they were the ones in abundance back then. It can’t even be said of earthly ones “neither can they die anymore.” They can, and surely will, if they show a rebellious spirit. I mean, if you were raised up to life on a paradise earth, would you grumble about the ground rules? And who is the that is "counted worthy" of an earthly resurrection? Essentially, all you have to do to qualify is to show up; it is "the righteous and the unrighteous" who benefit.

Grousers who say that Jehovah’s Witnesses flip-flop on doctrine miss the point. They’ve never said they didn’t. They do it all the time, re-examining verses in the face of accumulating knowledge. It has been called ‘the light getting brighter.’ (Proverbs 4:18) It has also been called tacking. The only ones who say they can’t do it are the grousers themselves.

That said, the major teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses regarding the nature of God (no Trinity), the nature of the soul (not immortal), who goes to heaven (not everybody good, but only a minority), have been firmly in place for over a century. Ridding the false doctrines that make knowledge and a close relationship with God all but impossible is part of the job of ‘the messenger preparing the way.’ The first thing you do in preparing the way for a building project is to take out the trash.

(the Ben Franklin writing is called 'A Proposal to Madame Helvetius')

Franklin-Benjamin-LOC-head

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He Messed up the Lord!

Jesus healed the leper and specifically told him to keep a lid on it. Show yourself to the priests, thank God, and go about your business.
 
What did the fellow do? He shouted it out everywhere. He messed up the Lord! Jesus wanted to keep visiting the city. He no longer could do it. He had to hole up out in the wilderness!
 
What could he do? Apart from divinely muzzling the guy or handing him back his leprosy, he was stymied! The Lord!
 
He adapted, though. The cured fellow raised such a ruckus that everyone had to go out in the wilderness to check Jesus out. Maybe it even worked out better this way; they had to do something.
 
I think there’s a lesson for us. You want your companions in service to be discreet and to behave in a certain way, and they don’t. You want them to be like the silhouetted fellow in the videos and they are the exact opposite. It’s enough to drive a guy crazy. It was enough to drive Jesus crazy, too, yet he didn’t go crazy. He just adjusted tactics and it all turned out okay. And maybe at a later date he even ran across the fellow and said: “You know, you really should have kept your mouth shut. But it all worked out.”
 
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Just How Does One Evade a Lynch Mob?

Why did Jesus turn on them anyway in that Bible account at Luke 4? They (his hometown's people) had been very nice to him: "And they all began to give favorable witness about him and to be amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth." (vs 22) And then he turns around and insults them! - comparing them to lowlife Israelites that the prophets ignored so they could lavish attention on the widow of Zarephath and General Naaman,

It seems to be because they were patronizing him. He was the hometown boy what done good...he'd become a sensation...they'd heard great reports abroad, and they wanted a piece of him. In fact, they were put out that he had done his miracles elsewhere, and not started at home where they would drag out everyone with phyical complaint and he could do his vaudeville trick on them and make them well....just like he did in those others towns, only more so.

And here they are carrying on (same vs: 22) that "is this not the carpenter's son?" It can't have been easy for them to hear him stand up to give his talk at the synagogue, like he'd done many times before, quote Isaiah 61:1,2:

"The spirit of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah is upon me,
Because Jehovah anointed me to declare good news to the meek.
He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And the wide opening of the eyes to the prisoners,To proclaim the year of Jehovah’s goodwill*
And the day of vengeance of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,"

and say: 'Right here. Right now. It's me,' even though he had the record and works to back it up; he was a nobody, a 'carpenter's son.' Alright, so he had learned some cool tricks abroad somehow...use them here! with your childhood townspeople!...but to go 'Messiah' on us is just too much.

As one brother pointed out last night at the meeting, they did get their miracle: When they sought to hurl the ungrateful upstart off a cliff, he got away by "passing through the midst of them." Just how does one pass through the midst of a mob seeking one's execution? I'll bet it's like that scene from Ben Hur (the Charlton Heston version) where the Roman soldier challenges Jesus (a fictional account) and then falls back at something he sensed in his manner or countenance. INTRO-BEN-HUR

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

He Walked Through Their Midst

Evereyone wants bragging rights from a favorite son - a local person who goes on to make something of himself. It didn't work with Jesus, though, who went on to tell his sponsors that they were the worst of all Israelites. (Luke 4:23-27)

They were also a bit touchy about it:

"Now all those hearing these things in the synagogue became filled with anger, and they rose up and rushed him outside the city, and they led him to the brow of the mountain on which their city had been built, in order to throw him down headlong. But he went right through their midst and continued on his way." (28-30)

How did he do that?

Beach-cliff-coast-614495

 
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He Messed Jesus Up!

Okay, let's cut through the pious tape: The "I want to - be made clean" fellow that Jesus cured went on to mess him up!

1. Jesus cured him.

2. He said 'keep a lid on it.'

3. The fellow told everyone under the sun.

4. Jesus could no longer come and go openly and had to from that point on slink in the back door.

It's a good thing he was not like that last pointy-headed boss that you had. Otherwise, he might have thrown the guy's leprosy right back at him.

Mark 1:41-45

Pointyhairedboss

photo: Scott Adams (hopefully he won't mind)

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)