Tag Archives: Galilee

Reckless Abandon

What would you attempt if you knew you wouldn’t get hurt or injured?

  • Skydive from 10,000 feet
  • Race a sports car at 200 mph
  • Bungee jump off a bridge
  • Strap on a hang-glider and leap off a tall cliff
  • Step inside a metal cage and get lowered into shark infested water
  • Climb Mt Everest or Kilimanjaro
  • Walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls

Reckless_Abandon_470X270Would you attempt them if you knew you’d be safe?

What if Jesus’ resurrection was meant to give us confidence not only to face death head on but to face life head on?

When Jesus was arrested all of his disciples ran, after a brief sword incident involving Peter, because they were genuinely afraid for their lives.

According to historians there were at least 18 Messiah wannabe’s around the time of Jesus. The book of Acts tells us about two of them. One of those men is Judas the Galilean. (Acts 5:37) The historian Josephus tells us that this Judas of Galilee founded the Zealots – the group of Jews who believed in physical rebellion against the Romans. He and 2000 of his followers were crucified.

The crosses were all left standing in the Galilean countryside because the Romans wanted to send a message. Jesus grew up in Galilee as did some of his disciples. They would have seen those crosses. They knew what the Romans did to the followers of men claiming to be Messiah.

They had every right to be afraid for their lives. But when they discovered the empty tomb and were visited by the resurrected Jesus all of that changed.

Jesus killed death! There was nothing left to fear!

It’s one thing to trust in Jesus’ resurrection so that we can face death with confidence and peace. It’s a whole different matter to trust in Jesus’ resurrection so that we can face life with confidence and peace.

That’s what we see happening in the lives of the disciples and the early church. Because of their trust in Jesus’ resurrection, and defeat of death, they lived with a reckless abandon.

  • They sold their possessions to help those in need.
  • They openly shared about Jesus even when it brought persecution.
  • And they crossed cultural and social boundaries to do so.

Sociologist Rodney Stark argues that one of the primary reasons for the spread of Jesus’ movement was the way his followers responded to sick people.

During the reign of Marcus Aurelius around AD 165, an epidemic of what may have been smallpox killed somewhere between a third and a fourth of the population, including Marcus Aurelius himself. A little less than a century later came a second epidemic, in which at its height five thousand people were reported dying daily in the city of Rome alone.

Historians tell us that the Greeks and Romans tossed their sick loved ones out into the street to die and avoided burying the dead all in an attempt to escape death. Historians also tell us that the followers of Jesus remembered what He taught about caring for the needs of others, even strangers, and they tended to the sick, even though it cost many of them their lives.

What if Jesus’ resurrection was meant to give us confidence not only to face death head on but to face life head on?

What would it look like to love and forgive and pray for and meet the needs of others, even our enemies?

What would it look like for us to live with such reckless abandon?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Compassion, Courage, Easter, Faith, Forgiveness, influence with the world, Jesus, Loving others, Religion and Spirituality, Resurrection, Serving

If you follow Jesus, you can’t just take your name tag off!

Most of us know that the word hypocrite comes from a Greek word used to describe actors in a theatre. But here’s where it gets interesting.

In the first century, one of the great theaters of the day was built in a town called Sepphoris. It seated between 3,000 and 4,000 people. Sepphoris was less than an hour’s walk away from… guess what small town? Nazareth!

In fact, there is a very good chance (most scholars will say now actually a probability) that a craftsman from Nazareth by the name of Joseph and his young apprentice son, Jesus, would have found work helping to construct the great building projects going on in Sepphoris. So from a young age Jesus would have been familiar with the stage and the term hypocrite.

I’ve always understood the term hypocrite to be a negative one used to convey a harsh judgment on a person’s behavior. But originally, it was simply used to describe how actors would assume a pose or play a role on stage.

It was Jesus who used the term as a stinging rebuke!

The term is used a total of 17 times in the New Testament, all by Jesus when He rebuked the religious leaders of His day. His use of the term is responsible for shaping our thinking about this whole issue of how the condition of the inner person doesn’t always match up with their outward behavior.

Stephen Nordbye writes, “At a recent annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Atlanta, 300,000 doctors and researchers came together to discuss the importance of low-fat diets in keeping our hearts healthy. But during the meal times, they consumed fat-filled fast food, bacon cheeseburgers and chili fries, at the same artery-clogging high rate as people from any other conventions would. One cardiologist was asked, ‘Aren’t you concerned that your bad eating habits will be a bad example?’ He replied, ‘Not me. I took my name tag off.’”

If you follow Jesus, you can’t just take your name tag off!

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Filed under Authenticity, Christianity, Discipleship, Jesus