The germ of any great idea, machination or agenda is necessity; without a need the scheme is frivolous and the greater the need, the more highly esteemed the solution to the need is. Mickey Mantle was a hero of sorts in his day and he satisfied millions of peoples’ entertainment ‘needs’, but Dr. Jonas Salk was THE hero of the day and Mantle’s flame was very dim to the blaze of Salk’s stardom. The reason is simple: people valued the polio vaccine even more than they did Mantle’s baseball exploits.
Author: Kyle Stephens
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, so that you might speak of the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” 1Pe 2:9 With Christ’s triumphal ascension to the right hand of God and the establishment of the Church there was, no later than this, a change that took place in the way of access to the Father. Since no one may come to the Father but through Jesus (by His own words) and “there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved”, there is no ambiguity in the NT regarding the covenant and the ‘covenant people’; who they are, how they came to be, etc.
Therefore laying aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisies and envyings, and all evil speakings, desire the sincere milk of the Word, as newborn babes, so that you may grow by it; if truly you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” I Peter 2:1-3 I remember, since it was only 15 months ago, holding my firstborn, a daughter, for the first time and I hope never to be able to forget it. In my arms was a piece of me, sharing obvious genetic traits, probably predisposed to certain desirable and undesirable personality wiring as well. Yet, for all that, she was pure, untainted, more so than she ever would be again. I marveled as I beheld and studied her.
As mentioned in my previous post, Christ called his disciples to Him. Other rabbis of that era spent years gaining a reputation and the prestige necessary for students to call on them. The Lord’s model is the exact opposite. I think there are some interesting things that might shed some light as to the differences. The teachers of the Law in Christ’s time were backwards in a lot of ways. Traditions that were younger than the Old Testament itself were given equal weight to those scriptures. Many of those traditions weren’t even Jewish in origin, much less scriptural, as some were pinched from Babylon and Persia–especially regarding the more esoteric aspects of understanding the cosmos and such. The Greeks also influenced Jewish thought, like Philp of Alexandria.
In Christ’s time the Greek word mathetes described apprentices, one adhering to one of the many Greek schools of philosophy, one who kept the company of a particular teacher or simply subscribed to that teacher’s doctrine even if far removed in space and time. There were groups of students who continued their teacher’s traditions after he died (such as was the case with Socrates). This type of commitment usually entailed passing on his wisdom and sayings. As today, one need not be a religious figure to gain and accept disciples. In the rabbinic spheres, the talmid devoted himself to the study of Scripture and the precepts of his particular tradition–one that had been passed to him from his instructor. Disciples were highly esteemed among the Jews of Christ’s time, especially if his rabbi was highly regarded. Most rabbis were, some more than others, and this regard was extended to his followers to a lesser degree until his period of listening and learning was over and he, in turn, began to teach as well.
Mat 28:19-20 “Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen.” I have no problem calling these verses by their traditional epithet-The Great Commission. If I venture into any religious institution that lays claim to Christ and ask anyone randomly, “What’s the ‘Great Commission’?”, I am likely to get an accurate response, even if it isn’t quoted verbatim or the exact chapter-verse is unknown. Most can at least say something along the lines of, “That’s where Jesus told his disciples to preach.”
I’d like to continue our consideration of baptism which I began in my last article. Four times in the Gospel of John, Jesus promises His disciples a Comforter or Helper. John 14: 16, 26; John 15: 26 and John 16: 7 all promise this Helper. This comforter is none other than God’s Holy Spirit, called the Spirit of truth in Jn. 14. Jesus also says something both interesting and important in Jn. 14:7: “You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you (emphasis mine).”
Baptism is always a worthy topic of consideration since its meaning and utility are so diluted today as to render it meaningless in the eyes of many contemporary theologians. As with any doctrine, it must be approached with one achievable goal in mind: to understand what the Will of the Lord is and, with the understanding, to execute it to our utmost. There are few doctrines, with the exception of Hell and Judgment, that are as or more conspicuous in the Bible.
The truth matters. God’s truth matters. If God tells us something it must be important. As His followers we must never take for granted the fact that Satan will never stop trying to subvert the Bible.
You may have heard people say that the Bible blames Eve for bringing evil into the world. That is patently untrue. Paul wrote in R0mans 5:12 that it was by the actions of one man (Adam) that sin and death entered the world. Did Eve play a part? Certainly, but the onus is place squarely on Adam’s shoulders.