Posts Tagged ‘big bang theory’

Luke 24:11-12 — Have you ever heard a story that you just couldn’t believe. To compound it, the story comes from someone or several people in whom you by nature did not trust their testimony. That’s where the disciples find themselves in these two verses.

The first thing that we notice here is that is was two women to whom the resurrection was first revealed. That might not seem like a big deal to us in the 21st century where, at least in Western society, women have, for the most part, equal rights to men and equal access to the protection of the law. However, this was simply not the case in 1st century Palestine and most any society in history previous to this point. In first century Palestine where we find ourselves in this passage, women had little in the way of rights and little in the way of taking care of themselves financially. They were at the mercy of men. Women were considered hysterical and unreliable. It was so such this way that their testimony was not allowed in legal proceedings because of this perception. But, yet, the resurrection was revealed first to first century Palestinian women. So those that were considered the most unreliable of legal witnesses (just a shade above shepherds – to whom the birth of Jesus was first revealed) were the first to report the resurrection. Why in the world in a society where women were not given much merit would Jesus reveal his resurrection to women first? Couldn’t he as God in the flesh orchestrated more reliable initial witnesses? If this was all a fabrication of the church, why not have someone as respected as Nicodemus be the first to find the empty tomb? I think that this says much about the reliability of the gospels. The early church did not care that the first witnesses were women. They did care about being truthful. Sure, it would have been easier for it not to have been women who first saw the Risen Lord, but they wanted accuracy more than the political correctness of the day. The fact that women discovered the empty tomb and this fact was not washed over or covered up gives me confidence in the resurrection, the cornerstone of our faith.

Sure that is true in the long run, but Peter could not believe what he was hearing. After all, the testimony was coming from women. He just thought, we imagine in the day and time in which he lived, that the women were just so distraught that they had just imagined it all. After all, they were women! His understanding of women led him to believe that they were just upset because when women love they really love deep down in their souls. He felt they were just grieving enormously, as he would think in first century Palestine, in the ways that only women can. He felt that they had just let their hysterical female emotions get the best of them. The story initially seemed like nonsense to him. But then, Peter probably remembered how Jesus treated women with respect and allowed them to participate in his earthly ministry without reservation or complaint. So, Peter goes against his nature for the social time in which he lived, and goes to the tomb to check out the women’s testimony. He sees the empty tomb for himself. But still he was blown away by it all. What happened, he thought to himself. Someone stole our Master’s body?

Peter is not unlike us here. Even though Scripture clearly states and Jesus himself predicted his resurrection, when we hear about it the first time, we may need time before we can comprehend it. At first, we may think it is a fairy tale – the happy ending to a tale of murder and intrigue. We may think it is just something the church added later to make Jesus seem divine. They think that it is too incredible to be believed. They think it is a lie. Yet, these are the same people that think the universe just spontaneously created itself out of nothing for no apparent reason without the spark of an intelligent creator.

Many may think it is a nice story worthy of being believed because they would like to think Jesus was who He said He was, but just really do not believe it deep down in their souls. They avoid the subject of the resurrection so that they will not get mired in the debate because really they are puzzled by the claim themselves. These people may believe in an Intelligent Creator that started all this but yet they are not willing to believe that He is actively involved in man’s history. Thus, the resurrection is a puzzling anomaly in an otherwise brilliantly crafted collection of literature known as the Bible.

It is only when we encounter Jesus in a personal way through the Holy Spirit’s action in our souls that we are no longer incredulous about the resurrection. It is only when we see and accept that Jesus is the Son of God that the resurrection is no longer puzzling. It makes sense that the same Creator, that built a universe by His will and gave it His spark to cause it to be created out of nothing and be created for a purpose, can raise His own essence from the dead. We must admit to ourselves that we do not understand the mysteries of the universe. We must admit that we do not possess all knowledge. Each generation of mankind has thought that they knew it all and with each successive generation we find that what we held fervently as true is not (see world is flat folks, etc.). Therefore, our knowledge is limited. We can debunk the resurrection as being a fairy tale based on the knowledge level that we have in the 21st century, but there is a God with limitless knowledge and limitless power. He created the universe and He can then surely raise His Son from the dead. I may not understand how this happened physically, but I trust that it did. Until though, you accept the fact that we are not our own gods and do not know it all and do not know all the answers to life and come to our knees before Christ our Savior, the resurrection is puzzling, hard to explain, and maybe harder to defend.

Peter did not believe it at first and he was right there with Jesus day to day for three years and heard Jesus predict that He would rise from the dead. It is hard to believe. It takes faith more than anything else in our personal relationship with Jesus Christ to believe that He rose from the dead. But when we really walk down the path of life with Jesus as our Savior, we begin to see the validity of the resurrection. Jesus promised it. He did it. He is thus not a dead prophet to be admired like one admires Ghandi or Martin Luther King but a real King, a real Savior, and a living daily presence in our lives. The resurrection is my assurance that Jesus is with me daily. That is faith. Resurrection believed. Jesus with me daily.

Luke 14:1-6 — In this passage, we see the difference between knowing Scripture and living Scripture.

The illustration that comes to mind when reading this passage is the Big Bang Theory. It is one of my favorite shows of all time. It is wickedly funny. It is the first time in TV history where intelligent nerds are center stage and not the butt of a joke. But there is one scene in one of the episodes where there is something wrong with Penny’s car and each of the four main guy characters each can explain the details of a combustion engine and how and why it works. Then someone says (I think in was Penny), “…but can you fix it?” Each one is silent then. For all their chatter, not one could help Penny get her car fixed. That is what is on display here too. The Pharisees knew Scripture like you would not believe. The had created reams and reams of interpretation of the Law. They had built a legal body of work that built fences around the law so that they would not break it.

Then, Jesus challenges them like Penny challenged Howard, Raj, Leonard and Sheldon. Jesus knew their hearts. He knew that they were trying to trick Him into saying or doing something that would give them ammunition to have Him arrested. He knew they were experts in Scripture but He challenged them on the living of it. It is very similar to the main idea of the movie, Do You Believe?, that my wife and I went to see last night during its second night in the theaters since its release. The movie challenges us to live our faith out rather than just saying that we have it. We are to live out being a Christ follower rather than simply being a sideline Christian. So you believe? What are you going to do with it? Are we going to love others as Christ loved us? Are we going to allow the gospel to really change our lives and live lives of principle? Are we going to do the right thing? Are we going give ourselves away to others? Are we going to help others when they need helping? Are we going to speak of Jesus to others when it will cost us something? Are we going to live out our knowledge of the spirit of Scripture?

Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath despite the fact that the Pharisees had created layers of religious law against doing work on the Sabbath. Jesus, being the one who gave us the Law, knew that the intent of the Sabbath was to focus on glorifying God for all that He has done for us. It was to focus on praising Him. It was to take time out of our busy lives to focus specifically on worshiping our Creator, our Protector, our Provider, our Ever Present Help. It was not meant to make life so restrictive that we could not even spit on the ground on the Sabbath. That’s how weird the Pharisees had made the Sabbath. They had turned something that was intended to be joyful and turned it into fear. Jesus reclaims the purpose of the Sabbath. Healing those who need to know of the glory of God. What better way to give glory to God than to demonstrate the power of God. Jesus said that the Pharisees would do no less for their son or even an animal on the Sabbath. He was quietly calling them hypocrites and condemning them for making the Sabbath about them calling the shots rather than it being about glorifying God. He condemned them for knowing Scripture to the nth degree but not living it out in ways that are real. Jesus quietly by his actions shut them up. You hear no chatter. Just as Penny shuts up the Incredible Nerds, Jesus calls the Pharisees out and they are silent.

Do you know Scripture but do not live it out? This is the question that plagues me daily. I know Scripture pretty well. I write about it daily here. I love studying Scripture. I love helping people understand what Scripture means. Do I live it out though? Am I loving like Jesus loved? Am I living like Jesus lived? Am I leaving a legacy of disciples who make disciples who make disciples behind? Am I sharing my faith with others? Am I making Jesus known in places where He is not known? Am I good at talking the talk but not good at walking the walk? What am I doing with my faith? The opening credit to last nights movie was James 1:27 which basically tells us that faith without expression is worthless. We should be compelled to act in a world that needs to know Jesus Christ. Knowledge without practical application is worthless. That is the point of the illustration from the Big Bang Theory. James 1:27 tells us not to just walk by a person who is in need and tell them that we will pray for them. It calls us to actually help that person. Am I living out my faith? Or am I just an academic Christian? Do I put wheels on my faith? Will I sit on the sidelines and wish or will I actually do something? Jesus says by His actions here that you can have all the Scripture knowledge in the world but if you fail to demonstrate the love of God that we all say we have then it is meaningless to a hurting world.

Lord, help us to be traction to our faith tires. Lord, help us to be more than academic Christians. Lord, help us to not to condemn the world around us but to change it by our getting our hands dirty in the lives of the people that need to hear the gospel. Help us make the gospel real to those who see us as a bunch of ivory tower commentators on the world’s problems. Help us to meet needs in the world that really matter and in so doing demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ in action. Help us to heal those who need healing. Help us to make Christ known through our expressed love for our fellow man not just conceptual love. Amen.