The Blog of Gordon Pruitt the Pastor of St. Matthew's United Methodist Church in Richmond Virginia

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jesus Wants to Save Christians 4

One of the things I love about Rob Bell’s preaching is how he connects dots where you did not even know there were dots to be connect to, particularly dots from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The 4th chapter of Jesus Wants to Save Christians connects many dots and brings clarity, and deeper understanding to Biblical passages that I have read many times before but had often skipped important details about these stories.
The central passage for this chapter was Acts 8:26-40 commonly called Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. This Ethiopian and his story is central to what the New Exodus is all about. First the Ethiopian was not Jewish, second he was a eunuch which means practicing Jewish people would see him as damaged goods and according to the law would not have been allowed into the assembly. Third after Philip explained the Isaiah passage the Ethiopian desired to be and was baptized. These are important because under the old system the man would not have been allowed simply because of who he was, but because of what Jesus did, the bringing of the New Exodus everyone now has the opportunity to become a new creation. Lastly the Ethiopian is leaving Jerusalem and is headed back to Ethiopia and is taking with him the Gospel. Some of Jesus last words were to take the gospel to the “ends of the earth” and that is what this man is doing. My favorite chapter so far.


Alison said...

I like the image that baptism is a picture of exodus, leaving the old wrong way of living. I love the question "What do you do when your religion isn't big enough for God?" I think quite a few people need to ask that question. I like the image that the body of sin is anywhere that power is misused.

Alison said...

Paul sees the religious leaders' insistence on a reversion to the customs of Moses as a form of violence. When they are told that if they don't do certain things they'll be condemned, sent to hell forever--that's violence. It doesn't matter what passages in the Bible are quoted, it's destructive. It's the misuse of power. But then, Paul does this. He picks out specific sins from the Old Testament and chooses them as the basis to condemn some people. They're not the basics from the top ten list. They're not ones that Jesus condemned. Paul is very selective about what he preserves from the Old Testament.