Episode 9: POV - Jesus's Box & Moving the Story Forward

In the final episode of the POV series we will be looking at what was Jesus’s Box, and how this entire discussion can help us to have better conversations. 

As we conclude this POV series and the whole Listening spring season, we will be reflecting on how to use what we have learned to listen better on our journey to having the abundant life that God promises in scripture. 

Episode 9: POV - Jesus’s Box and Moving the Story Forward 

Episode summary 

In the final episode of the POV series we will be looking at what was Jesus’s Box, and how this entire discussion can help us to have better conversations.

As we conclude this POV series and the whole listening spring season, we will be reflecting on how to use what we have learned to listen better on our journey to having the abundant life that God promises in scripture.

Main Points: 

Before we end our series on POV by looking at Jesus’s box and how to move the story forward, let’s take a quick recap of where we have been. See below for a handy diagram that used in the studio, to keep us on track. 

Episode 5 

In our POV series of episodes we have taken a look at our own biases that form our box or lenses through which we see and interpret the world. We noted that having biases is not a bad thing, and that everyone has them. In fact biases can be very useful since they help us make decisions, and summarize and categorize much of what we have learned to be true about our world. Where our biases become dangerous is when we do not admit that we have them, and we mistake our biases for the objective truth. 

Episode 6

We examined out own box by taking a deep dive into our churches Creed and Statement of Faith (SoF). We talked about how to do a deep dive into our creeds or SoF’s, and discussed why that is important. A close reading of our church’s SoF can tell us a lot about our box, and what are some of our biases that we bring to the table. 

Episode 7 and Episode 8  

We talked about how our own personal box fits into the larger boxes of the overarching story of the bible and the story of church history. These two bigger boxes formed our superhero origin story, and casted our lives on the larger backdrop of a much bigger story.

In today’s episode we will be closing our our talk about POV by briefly talking about what was Jesus’s Box (or bias), and how we should be trying to move the story forward based on where our discussion has taken us. 

Warning — today is a little more preachy then usual

Part One - Jesus’s box

Is is possible to know what was Jesus’s box? 

This is an important question that has bothered generations of scholars, and I hope it is a question that has bothered you as well. Many people and cultures make the mistake of initially thinking that the people who wrote the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament share the same value set as they do. 

This can lead to a serious misreading of the Bible, and a fundamental misinterpretation of the message of the New Testament authors. It can be hard for people to remember that Jesus is a jew, from a context that is separated from us by over two thousand years. Jesus’s box was much different than our own, and learning to understand Jesus’s box is fundamental to us knowing what to do with our christianity. 

Christianity was never meant to be worn around the neck as a piece of jewelry, or something that we just do once a week. Christianity is meant to be God’s spirit breaking out into the world, and his church should be his active hand moving the story forward. 

This podcast is not an in-depth analysis of Jesus’s Box, but we did want to highlight two main points, that we think are needed in todays modern christianity.

Radical Inclusion and the Challenge of the Kingdom

RADICAL INCLUSION - Luke 4:14-28 

14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.

16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, 

Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. 

He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, 

And recovery of sight to the blind, 

To set free those who are oppressed, 

19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” 23 And He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’ ” 24 And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. 25 But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; 26 and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, He went His way.

Jesus beloved in what many scholars have termed radical inclusion. Most people completely miss the point in this story of Luke. The people of Nazareth are not upset that he is claiming to be the messiah. In fact, at first they are thrilled. They are happy and elated that he is claiming to be the messiah. This is what they have been waiting for! 

What upsets them, is that Jesus makes the point about widow and Naaman who were both foreigners being blessed by God though the prophets Elijah and Elisha. They were enraged because Jesus seemed to be saying the God’s coming kingdom was going to include the Gentiles as well, and that they could not accept. 

In fact, they may have had a point as well, not to initially accept what Jesus was saying. Jesus conspicuously does not read the verses that come right after that quote from Isaiah 61 that talk about the vengeance day of that God would be bringing:  

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, 

Because the Lord has anointed me 

To bring good news to the afflicted; 

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 

To proclaim liberty to captives 

And freedom to prisoners; 

2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord 

And the day of vengeance of our God; 

(Isaiah 61:1-2)

This is the radical inclusion that Jesus was going to be bring, and this was unacceptable to the Jews of Jesus’s day. Many would outright reject Jesus because they would not accept that this could possibly be true. 

Considering the original audience of the New Testament, this was something the the Jewish Christians, and the Gentile Christians were struggling with. They were struggling to be one community and one family, because both groups were so radically different from each other. 

THE CHALLENGE OF THE KINGDOM                   

This is what Middleton calls the challenge of the kingdom. It is as true for us today, as it was for the Jews of Jesus’s day. Many Christians tend to think of themselves as in the kingdom, and everyone else outside the kingdom. Jesus was and is all about bringing the world back together. Of bringing everyone into God’s kingdom. 

This has been challenging for many throughout the centuries and it continues to be so. Modern Christianity, especially in the West can be hyper obsessed with determining who is in the kingdom and who is our out of the kingdom. 

Who is going to heaven and who is going to hell? 

Who is right with God, and who has fallen away? 

The kingdom of God has always sought out the rejected, the outcast, and those on the fringes of society. When keeping the bible at a distance, it can be easy to think that this no longer applies to us, and it certainly does not apply to the people of the church. 

I would argue that like the Jews before us, the people of the church struggle with this more than another group I have ever met. 

There are many types of people that we would be quick to state that they are out side of the church and apart from God’s grace. 

*For more information on the challenge of the kingdom and radical inclusion see Middletons book in out recommended book section. 

ONE OF US - Luke 9:49-50

49 John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.”

Even when Jesus was still with them they argued about who was really with Jesus. Today we do the same thing and we often judge other christians who are not a part of our family of churches. 

However, remembering the Christian family tree form last episode we can see that we are all in fact connected. We are all one great big dysfunctional family. How many of the churches and congregations that we judge as having so called false doctrine and being not true christians, are actually our brothers and sisters. 

Like any family we many not agree all of the time, but that does not negate that we are in fact a family, and must learn to see them as one of us. Just like Jesus tried to get his disciples to see that if they are not against us then they are one of us. 

***see our deep dives to links to the Ten Minute Bible Hour, where an evangelical goes to engage in real and meaningful conversation with faith leaders that are much different that his tradition.  

Part two - Move the story forward

Taking a closer look at some of the things that were important to Jesus, and what that means for our own lives in moving the story forward is extremely important. What should we do in light of everything that we have learned. 

Commit to unity 

    • It ends here 
    • No more denominations 
    • No more breaking up
    • COMMIT TO UNITY
    • 1 John 4:20 - DON’T BE A LIAR 

STAY CURIOUS

    • Commit to learning and understanding others both in your church tradition and outside your church tradition
    • Romans 14:4 - WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE ANOTHER MANS SERVANT 

SEEK TO UNDERSTAND

    • Commit to healthy conversations 
    • Not useless arguments and debates
    • It has never been about who is wrong and who is right
    • It has never been about determining who is in and who is out
    • Colossians 4:6 - CONVERSATIONS FULL OF GRACE AND SEASONED WITH SALT 

RADICAL INCLUSION 

    • Forgive easily and quickly
    • BE SHREWD - Luke 16:8

ONE OF US 

    • Try and erase lines that separate us along religious and denomination lines
    • Colossians 3:11 - CHRIST IS ALL, AND IS IN ALL

Challenge of the Week (C.O.W.)

Every journey starts with a single step. Our goal is for us to personally share our takeaways and put things into action. Do you want to be held accountable? Or hold us accountable?

Choose one or two of the challenges below.

Welcome to the Life to the Full Community!

Episode 9 C.O.W. (POV - Jesus's Box & Moving the Story Forward)

CHALLENGE:

No challenge this week you over achievers!

In the meantime why don't you check out one of our book recommendations or deeper dives. That should keep you nice and busy for now.

Book Recommendation

Book nerds! Below are this episode's book recommendations. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, then please use these links below.

They help support the show with no additional cost to you. Thanks in advance!

A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology by J. Richard Middleton

J. Richard Middleton's Book, A New Heaven a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology,  is one of the the best book redefining ones position on the ultimate fate of believers, nonbelievers, and the world. He talks extensively on the dangers of the going heaven theology that has seriously damaged many churches, and how uncovering a biblical understanding of what N.T. Wright would call, "life after, life after death," is crucial for every Christian. For this episode Middleton really shaped my understanding of the radical inclusion of Jesus and the challenge of the kingdom that is still with us today.

 

 

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth E. Bailey

This book is a great introduction for beginning to understand Jesus's POV, and what box he have been coming form. While I do not agree with everything in Bailey's book it is a great introduction to thinking about Jesus in a different way, and one that more aligns with Jesus's actual historical context.

Deeper Dives

Okay this section is for deeper dives. Here we will be recommending a variety of resources that we could not fit into the podcast. Some were mentioned on the podcast and some were not mentioned at all. They are videos, other podcasts, online classes, and other ramblings that Patty would not let Jimmy bring onto the podcast otherwise it would be a four hour show.

 

Also all promised handouts should be found here.

 

Dive in!

Using Google Earth in Archeology

As talked about on the episode, you can't really understand that whole story until you can step back and see the entire picture. We used the analogy of how Google Earth allowed many archeological discovers to be made, even by people who were not archeologists.

Check out some of these resources for some totally interesting but unrelated information.

An example of a teen finding some interesting Archeological discoveries using Google Earth. 

Interesting article about using Google Earth in Archeology

The Ten Minute Bible Hour

Matt Whittman makes some incredible videos where we goes to meet with other church denominations to have respectful, kind, and thought provoking conversations. This whole experiment was fascinating for me to watch, and the cool thing is that he is still in the process of conducting these interviews, so there should be more great conversations to see in the future.

You can learn more about him at his website the The Ten Minute Bible Hour.

I am linking one of my favorite conversations below between Matt who is an evangelical protestant, and a Catholic priest. But you should definitely check out his entire playlist-- its just so good!