Monday, June 18, 2007

5 Things I Dig About Jesus

I was tagged by Emerging Grace via John Smulo to write 5 things I “dig” about Jesus. While I am way too old to actually use the word “dig” without my teenagers rolling their eyes and sighing, I shall attempt to write the 5 things. (They probably don’t read this very often anyway)

I also purposely decided not to read anyone else's first. Mine are probably not as “spiritual” as others will be. – But in light of coming out of my Church Lady persona, here they are

1. I dig the fact that Jesus’ first recorded miracle was making really good wine. I bet it was an Australian Shiraz.

2. I dig the fact that Jesus could be really mean. When he used the example of the Samaritan being the Jew’s neighbor he was really pushing things. (like the fact that tensions had become so bad between the two groups that just a few years before Jesus was born, some Samaritans had come into the Temple and spread dead men’s bones in it. – not cool for someone who is not supposed to touch dead things.)(for a list of things that fueled the Samaritan/Jewish hatred see the comment section that I added to the end of this blog.)

3. I dig the fact that Jesus was the only one who could have stoned the woman caught in adultery – but he didn’t. And he gave forgave her even before she “got saved” or proved that she was going to be any sort of a “good Christian.”

4. I dig the fact that as of tomorrow, when one of my daughters turns 18 and moves out to live life the way she thinks she wants to live (think punk, rock, pierced poster child) it that Jesus will be sitting on the right hand of the Father interceding for her. I love the fact that he will be ready at any chance she gives him to show his love to her no matter what she does and that he will send goodness and mercy to follow after her all her days.

5. I dig the fact that Jesus thinks I am funny. The other day when someone told me that they get up really, really early to find time with Jesus, I told them that they did not have to get up that early because Jesus meets me after I’ve had a couple cups of coffee (much later in the morning) and they could just come by then and not have to get up so early. They didn’t think it was that funny but I think Jesus “digs” my humor.

I tag Erin
And Best Friend - you can forward it to me and I will post it anonymously.

I tried to get people who have not been tagged before - sorry if I got someone twice.


Barb said...

OK, about the Good Samaritan. I think all of you know the story well. I heard a sermon on it the other day and it sparked my interest. The question that the Pharisee asks Jesus was, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus asks him, "What does the Law say?" He answers correctly and says that to love the Lord our God and love our neighbors as ourselves is the answer. Jesus said, "you have answered correctly."

For some reason the Pharisee wanting to justify himself then asked, "Who then is my neighbor?" Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan stopping to help a naked stranger when a priest and a Levite would not stop. At the end of the story the answer to the Pharisee's question of who is my neighbor was, according to this preacher, "Who do you hate? That then is your neighbor, that is who you are to love as yourself." See, in the Pharisee's mind his neighbor was the other Jews - just like him.

So I started wondering why the Jewish people hated the Samaritans so much. What I found out was amazing. Here are some bullet points on the history of the Samaritans and why the Jews hated them so much:

- Ahaz (the really bad king - his wife was Jezebel) set up the Northern kingdom of Israel in the main city of Samaria

- The story of Elisha and the priests of Baal on the mountain where God's fire came down and consumed the sacrifice happened here. Jezebel promoted baal worship.

- Many really evil kings of Israel ruled from that city

- The Assyrians came into Samaria and took about 30,000 captive - mostly the rich, the rulers and the priests. (Upper class) God allowed it because of the evilness of the Israelites.

- The Assyrian king took people from Babylon cities and sent them to settle in Samaria.

- The people who were left in Samaria (think farmers, lower class,) did not do a real good job at not integrating with the new foreigners in both marriage and worship

- When the Assyrians let the captives back into Israel they came back with Nehemiah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.

- The Samaritans who had been left in the land went down to Jerusalem and asked if they could help them rebuild the walls and temple.

- The Upper class citizens who were rebuilding the wall told them that they were not worthy to help.

- The Samaritans got really ticked

- The Samaritans wrote to the Assyrian king and told him that if he let the walls and temple be rebuilt, that the Israelites would not pay taxes and would rebel against the king. Look in your history books, they said, you will see why these guys should not be allowed to rebuild.

- The Israelites were really ticked. They finally got it all straightened out with the king and went ahead and rebuilt Jerusalem, but from that day on, there was a huge rift between the two

- It went back and forth between the two, ranging from just mean pranks (Samaritans lighting lamps on the mountains to make the Israelites think it was a new moon) to marching into Samaria and destroying their temple.

- The final straw came just before Jesus was born. The Samaritans snuck into the Temple in Jerusalem and scattered dead men's bones, - thus rendering it unclean

- the Pharisee's of the day actually prayed curses on the Samaritans during their daily prayers.

So for Jesus to use the Samaritan as an example of godliness - was really pushing the boundaries. The Samaritans were the only peoples of the world that could not come into Judaism. They had NO hope for salvation. In that Jesus passed through the country (most all went around into the pagan lands to avoid the Samaritans) and talked to people there (the woman at the well), and now used them as an example of how to get to heaven was so revolutionary. He chose the absolute worst person for the Pharisee. This hatred was over 700 years old.

I walked away from all this study thinking, "Who is my neighbor?" "Who do I hate?" Who do I religiously hate for, what seems to me, a really good reason?"

The final "kicker" was that the oil and wine that the Samaritan used were the very things that the Priest and Levite would be carrying to work in the Temple. That would be like me using pages from the Bible and the communion elements to take care of a stranger. Or maybe you can come up with a better analogy that Jesus would use for today.

It stretched me to think. Hope it does you.

Anonymous said...

I loved your list. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading everyone talk about what they like most about Jesus.

An Australian Shiraz, eh? I'm a little tired of Australian wines after living there for 9 years without a whole lot of selection of other wines. But the thought brings back memories of a great Shiraz I bought in the Hunter Valley.

Anonymous said...

Here are the 5 things i dig about Jesus. Great list. I especially love what you say about your humor, complete with the example.

Sally said...

Smiling at the thought of Jesus producing Aussie Shiraz!

Great list!

Anonymous said...

loved # 1 and praying for your daughter too. Wonderful how you are trusting God even in this and a real example for me.

Anonymous said...

I love your list! I especially loved the humor part. :) This meme has been great for me the last couple days as I've really been able to focus on who Jesus is. Thanks for your reminders of things I hadn't thought of!


Erin said...

Got it! Thanks!

Martha said...

Thanks for including me in the game of tag. I posted the 5 things I dig about Jesus on my blog.

Anonymous said...

-He always comes when I call

-He sees me as I can be but..
He loves me as I am

-His Mercy endures and endures and endures(man, am I glad about that)

-He thinks rest is really goooood

Best Friend

Linda said...

just me,
I loved your list and your take on the good samaritan. I will pray for your daughter too. I'm so glad that you can see her through the Father's eyes and that you understand His amazing love for her.

best friend,
I liked your point about His rest. That is a truth I am trying to make a reality in my life.

Benjie said...

Loved your list. Yours may not sound as "spiritual" as others, but is probably more so than most of us using lots of church-y language.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I'm so late at this! Thanks for tagging me :D I'll answer and post it tomorrow.

Rich Tatum said...

Great post and interesting insights about the parable of the good Samaritan.

I'm actually a fan of not being overly religious on these kinds of questions. I, too, did not read any body's answers before crafting my own. If I had, I might have been tempted to over-spiritualize
myself. For what it's worth, I picked:

1: Jesus digs puns
2: Jesus digs children
3: Jesus digs stories
4: Jesus digs naps
5: Jesus digs freaks and geeks

I wrote, here:

The I Dig Jesus Meme: My Response