One of the most challenging parables Jesus ever told, was perhaps his simplest one. A seed that falls on good soil eventually bears a crop far greater than the size of the seed sown. That’s it. The DNA of the kingdom of God is bound up in the word of God. When it’s spoken, it falls on good soil….or not so good soil. The ironic thing in Jesus’ parable is that here we have a crazy farmer who indiscriminately slings seeds everywhere including unlikely places to sprout. “What a waste” the farmers in Jesus’ audience would have thought. Everyone knows you don’t plant seeds in a patch of weeds, or in crummy, shallow dirt, or on a path.
But the hook in the story is this, reader, you are soil if you’re reading this. Like it or not. You are good soil. Or bad soil. Jesus tells you what good soil does – good soil listens, good soil grows voraciously, good soil produces a crop. But how to become good soil if you’re not? Jesus doesn’t say much about that. And that should unsettle us more than a little!
Path, rocks and weeds have already quit reading this post. If you’ve made it to this sentence, maybe, just maybe you get what Jesus is talking about. And if you’re curious, but still not sure you know what the parable of the soils is about, come on out to Christianity Explored. And keep listening.
Christianity Explored meets at 9:00 and 10:45 in room D-126 at Christ Community on Sunday mornings.
Why does God accept us? Because he has to? Because we’re basically good people? This week in Christianity Explored, we’ll meet a successful “good person” no one thought could fail to connect with God. Jesus asks him a question that completely pours cold water on his spiritual motivation.
Sundays at Christ Community Church – D 126 at 9:00 or 10:45
In order to reach God, there is a point at which a person must let go his sense of what is fair. “There are some things we’ll never deserve, we can never earn and should never attempt to pay for.” When Jesus says in order to enter the kingdom of God we must become like children, no one imagines how hard it is to overcome pride and self-sufficiency of adult proportions! It’s excruciating. And only something as incredible as God’s idea of salvation can prove that to us. We’re too proud to just receive it – it can’t be that good!
Christianity Explored installment number 6 happens this weekend at Christ Community Church. Come join us at 9:00 or 10:45 in Room D-126. Bring a friend!
We’re nearing the end of our series Simply Unconvinced. In the closing weeks we’ll be centering on the events of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. This week we’re looking at Pilate. As the Roman governor in charge of the Fifth Praefectus of Judaea, it was Pilate’s responsibility to enforce the Roman military occupation over the Jews in his territory. The list of things Pilate was uncertain and Unconvinced about was dangerously long.
Pilate was unconvinced of…
1- the validity of the capital offense Jesus was charged with by the Jews.
2- that Jesus’ was a legitimate king (Pilate recognized only Herod)
3- what a Messiah was supposed to be. He took the word of the Sanhedrin that Jesus was claiming to be God.
4- how dangerous Jesus actually was to himself. Jesus was powerless as an insurrectionist.
5- his own moral guilt in having Jesus executed (he deferred responsibility as much as possible).
6- the fact that Jesus was harmless. Jesus’ claim to a non-earthly kingdom did somehow unsettle him.
7- the need to protect Jesus. In the end he deemed it a lesser risk to execute Jesus than let him live.
Without understanding what the death of Jesus really meant, he cracked under the pressure of needing to do something to regain control of the Jews. Pilate would give the word to end Jesus’ life, but that was just the beginning of his troubles.
Come find out more about how Jesus’ death plays out. What became of Pilate? How will history remember him? What did the resurrection of Jesus mean for the Roman power system that put him to death?
Unconvinced meets Sundays at 10:45 in room D-126.
Come on out and bring a friend.
Week 11 – Text
Week 11 Handout
A great read I’d highly recommend for understanding Eschatology. He develops a theology of the Kingdom from a historic, pre-millennial perspective. Here’s a summary of chapter one: What is the Kingdom of God?
1 – A present Spiritual Reality.
2 – What people experience when they give their lives to the rule of the Spirit.
3 – An inheritance that God will fully give his people at a point in the future.
4 – A realm of power or dominion into which true followers of Jesus have entered.
5 – Anywhere the king is present and his subjects recognize his authority.
6 – An inner redemptive blessing experienced only by spiritual re-birth.
7 – The rule of God.
Why is the kingdom so important? In order to understand how and why God will bring the present age to a close, one has to have some starting point of what the rule of God in our world is like. The apocalypse is all about the handing over of this age to the next by the power of God on his time-table. It really should be thought of as the in-breaking from the future into our world as we know it now in order to fulfill the plan of God.
Send me your questions! Let’s get this thing rolling now.
Here’s my first shot at an eschatology time-line. This comes from a great book I’ve been Nordicizing called The Gospel of the Kingdom by G.E. Ladd. Of all the numerous end-times schemes, this one actually seems sane to me (eschatology timelines get crazy real fast). We’ll explain it on Sunday at Gathering when we begin our series called Apocalypse.
I offer this sketch to preview the conversation we’ll have this week. The best starting point in my opinion in talking about the end times is the overlap between “this age”…and “the age to come”. See Chapter III – The Kingdom is Today. Ladd’s book is so refreshing because he keeps it simple.
When Jesus came announcing the Kingdom of God, he started to connect the time frame human history has always happened in (the bottom line) with the age to come in which the Kingdom of God overtakes all human history and the rule of Jesus is made complete.
The age we live in now – is a time of transition – a huge overlap let’s call it between the world as we know it and the world to come in which all things will be made new. The first half of that overlapping history is called the church age and the second half of that time scripture calls the millennium.
Enough for now. We’ll add more to the diagram as we talk about it from week to week at Gathering. I’ll try to get you a few more posts before Sunday comes and start defining some helpful terms. I’ll show you the book in the next post.
PS – you can ignore the stamp.