Jesus: The Lowliest Servant

Hello everyone. We’re continuing going through the gospel of John and looking for clues to the Trinity and the self-understanding of Christ. Tonight, we’re going to be in John 13. I won’t be reading the passage tonight as it is somewhat lengthy and it’s a story that we should all know, that is, Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.

In that culture, washing feet was the lowliest of tasks that could be done, and yet an important one. In an age without tennis shoes, a person’s feet would often be quite dirty by the time they arrived at the house of their guest and so in order to avoid getting the floor dirty and for some sake of hygiene, they would wash feet. For those of us who do not understand OT purity laws, keep this idea in mind. While you may not follow purity laws, if you have carpet, would you want someone with dirty feet and not wearing proper footwear to be walking on your carpet?

Thus, Jesus knows that his time is almost nigh and he knows that Judas is going to betray him. He gets up then and takes off his outer garment and wraps it around himself and then proceeds to go and wash the feet of his disciples. It was when he comes to Peter that he faces some opposition.

Peter will not let Christ do such a lowly job and Christ says that if he does not wash Peter’s feet, Peter has no part in him. Peter needed to learn to submit his pride and be prepared to learn what servitude really meant. It was beyond class distinctions of the time. If Peter did not allow Jesus to wash his feet, then he would be in the same position as the Pharisees and thinking that he was above the world of the lowly, the world that Jesus would be calling them to.

Of course, Peter does eventually consent and allows Jesus to wash his feet. Jesus then asks them if they understand what he has just done for them. He is their Lord and teacher. They do rightfully recognize that. If he, being so much greater than he, will wash their feet, ought they not to wash one another’s feet?

Now a question arises. We have Communion or the Eucharist on a regular basis in church. Why? Because Jesus told us to. Why don’t we have foot-washing ceremonies as well?

There would be nothing wrong with that if we so desired. However, when Jesus instituted Communion, he did so with specific signs and those were the signs to be used just as a lamb was to be what was used at Passover.

Jesus is not doing the same thing here. In our culture, we would take this to mean “There should be no task that a Christian is above doing in the service of another.” The Christian should be one who lives a life of service regardless if its footwashing or something else.

What does this tell us about Jesus? It tells us a point that function is not tied up with ontology, that is, one’s being. Now in some cases, I think it is. I think men are to function as men and because they are men, they cannot give birth, for instance. There are some things women can do that men cannot. I like the way Peter Kreeft puts it. Men are superior to women at being men. Women are superior to men at being women.

Why bring this up? Because many anti-Trinitarian errors fall here where they look at function and derive an ontology from that. If that is always the case, then this passage would prove that Jesus is lower than his disciples, when we know he isn’t. Jesus, however, being greater than all, gives us an example, an example that is far more beautiful when one sees him as he really is.

Are we going to follow it?

Charles Taze Russell on John 12:41

Hello everyone. I’ve had a busy day today. I spoke at a conference earlier today that required that I get up at 5:30 AM and I am exhausted as a result. However, it was a good conference and I did speak on an enjoyable topic and due to some shameless promoting of my blog there, there could be some new readers tonight so welcome aboard. If you are new from there or anywhere else, we’ve been going through the New Testament trying to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. 

We’ve been in the gospel of John and a couple of nights ago, I did a blog on John 12:41. A friend suggested Charles Taze Russell’s work on that verse. I asked for him to send it and he sent me a PDF copy. Tonight, I will be looking over that material.

Russell grants that John 12:41 does refer to Isaiah 6:1. What is his reply in response to this? His response is that the text says Adonai, which it does, however, let’s do a search for where Adonai comes up. As I go through I have the NWT and I see that in most places, it translates this as “Jehovah.” Here are some highlights.

In Genesis 20, Abimelech has God (And God will be Adonai unless stated otherwise) appear to him in a dream and Abimelech responds to which we are told “The true God said to him in the dream” to which we say either Adonai is the true God, or else Adonai is a false god and the JWs are polytheists. (Based on their translation of John 1:1, I’d say they are.)

Exodus 4 has Moses addressing the one speaking to him as Adonai, but in Exodus 3, we saw that that speaker took the divine name on himself.

Deuteronomy 3:24 has Moses speaking of the God who is incomparable to anyone else. This same one is called “Adonai.”

Psalm 68:19 says that blessing be to God, the true God of our salvation. Is YHWH then not the true God of salvation? This is continued in verse 20 as well.

Psalm 86:12 has the Psalmist speaking of “God, my God.”

Isaiah 25:8 speaks of God wiping the tears from their faces. Who does that in Revelation 21?

Isaiah 28:16 has God laying a cornerstone. If Russell wishes us to think Adonai is always Jesus, then is he saying that Jesus is laying himself? A unitarian could have a hard time with this. A Trinitarian doesn’t.

If Jesus is Adonai, then is he sending himself in Isaiah 48:16? Once again, a Trinitarian can say one person who is fully God is sending another who is. What will the unitarian say?

Isaiah 61:1. Was the Spirit of Adonai on Jesus when he read this in Luke 4?

In Jeremiah 32:17, God makes the Heavens and the Earth by his power and his outstretched arm. (The arm is something Russell makes quite a mention of in earlier pages.)

Ezekiel 14:11 has God saying he will be the God of Israel.

Ezekiel 16:59 sees God as the one who made the covenant with Israel.

Ezekiel 20:5 has God choosing Israel and saying that he is Jehovah their God.

In 20:40, God says the entire house of Israel will serve him in the land.

24:14 has Adonai and YHWH both saying the same thing. The speaker starts as YHWH and closes identifying himself as Adonai.

26:14 has a similar situation. “I YHWH have spoken” says Adonai.

34:31 has Adonai saying “I am your God.”

In Daniel 9:3, Adonai is referred to as “Jehovah the true God.” See verse 4 for continuation of this. Verse 15 has him as the God of Israel who brought them out of Egypt.

In Amos 3:7, the prophets are seen as his servants.

Amos 6:8 has God swearing by himself. Compare to Hebrews 6:13.

Never mind all the times that Adonai is referred to as sovereign and all the times he is prayed to….

Also, every single time Adonai showed up, it was translated as “Jehovah.” Apparently, the NWT translators didn’t see a major difference.

Do we have a problem if Russell is right and this is the Son in Isaiah 6? Not at all, for the Son is seen as Jehovah in verse 5. Russell’s resposne? That the messenger of the covenant might well be saluted with the praise of the Father. That’s not what Isaiah says however! Isaiah says that he has seen Jehovah.

It seems Russell did this without considering who Adonai is in Scripture. I recommend anyone just go to an online concordance like and looking up Adonai and see what you find as well.

Russell’s response seems to simply boil down to a distinction without any real substance to it. Why should I deny what I see in the text in favor of the theory of Russell? I see no reason.

John 12:44-50

We’re going to be continuing tonight our look at the gospel of John. We’ve been going through the Bible trying to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity and right now, we’re a little past the middle of John. A lot of our looking has been at the self-understanding of Christ as well as the way those around him saw him, pro and con. Our text tonight will be John 12:44-50.

 44Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. 46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

 47“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. 49For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Jesus is saying some extraordinary things. First off, to believe in Jesus is to believe in the one who sent him. After all, if you believe in Jesus, you believe in what he claims about the Father in that the Father sent him into the world. To affirm the former is to affirm the latter. On the other hand, if you disbelieve, then you deny that the Father sent Jesus into the world. If you do that and the Father did send Jesus into the world, then you are denying the great truth of the Father.

Jesus says the same thing about seeing, which he will later say to an apostle and so I will save that discussion for when we get to that point.

Jesus then says why he came into the world. He came so that no one who believes in him will stay in darkness. I’ve been debating with this point on someone today who says we should just teach the good news like Jesus did. There was no bad news. There is bad news however. We are in darkness without Jesus. The good news is that he came to redeem us from that.

But what about Jesus not judging? Did he not say that he judges the world in John 5? Jesus is here speaking about the person who does not believe. As we saw in John 3:18, they are condemned already. He does point them to the one who whill judge them then, the Father. Jesus does say however that his words will condemn that person on that day. They will be the means by which the Father condemns them.

Notice this at the end however. The Father tells the Son what to say! Doesn’t that prove the Son is an inferior being and thus disprove the Trinity?

Again, how?

Would it be better for the Son to say “I say what I want! The Father has nothing going on with me!”

No. They speak together. The Son and the Father share a unity in this action. The Son speaks in obedience to the Father. It doesn’t go against the Trinity but rather for it as it shows the unity that they share. This is just another case of bringing up an argument based on function and seeing that it therefore equals a different ontology.

Now it could be that the Son and the Father are ontologically distinct for argument’s sake. (They’re not of course.) That, however, won’t be shown by looking at their functions alone. You have to look at their nature.

Who Did Isaiah See?

We’re going to resume our study tonight of the Trinity and going through the gospel of John. I’m not going to cover the Triumphant Entry since we’ve already done that. I’d like us instead go to another part of John 12. Greeks have come to see Jesus. When that happens, Jesus says that the time has arrived and John gives a commentary on all that happens. I recommend you read the relevant portions prior to our text starting in verse 37.

37Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: 
   “Lord, who has believed our message 
      and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 
 40“He has blinded their eyes 
      and deadened their hearts, 
   so they can neither see with their eyes, 
      nor understand with their hearts, 
      nor turn—and I would heal them. 41Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

Jesus has been doing miraculous signs for the people and now, even the voice of God has spoken, and the people refuse to believe. What is going on exactly? John’s commentary on what has happened comes straight out of Isaiah. Let’s look at the first passage. 

1 Who has believed our message 
       and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

This passage should sound familiar. It’s Isaiah 53 which is the noted servant song that speaks about Christ and how he would be rejected as Messiah. The second passage is also a passage of rejection, but it is one that comes much earlier. This comes from Isaiah 6. It’s in verse 10, but I will quote the first five verses.

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: 
       “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; 
       the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Can there be any doubt that Isaiah here saw YHWH? Verse 5 should dispel any hesitancy to say that. Notice how YHWH is described as high and exalted. Is that language used elsewhere in Isaiah. YES!

13 See, my servant will act wisely 
       he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.

Where is this? Chapter 52. In fact, it’s the prelude to the servant song. 

The term used to describe YHWH is used to describe Christ but notice how John’s description continues. Let’s look at why he says Isaiah said these things in John 12:41.

41Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.

What glory did Isaiah see? He saw the glory of YHWH. That is who anyone would think of when he asked who Isaiah saw and that’s what John wishes us to see. John 12:41 is pointing back to say that the one on the throne is Jesus Christ. 

Which also makes Isaiah 6 fit in with John 1:18 as no one has seen God as he is, that is, the Father, but the Son has revealed him.

Did California Get It Wrong?

I’m going to take a break again tonight based on a news story I saw earlier today. The story can be found here:

The first statement is that the CA Supreme Court got it terribly wrong.

No. What was terribly wrong was that the case was even brought to the Supreme Court. While this isn’t a political blog, since this is more about morality, I am bringing this up, but some politics will be necessary. When the people have a free election and vote on something, it is not up to the courts to make a ruling on it. If it is not agreed, there can be another election another time. If the CA Supreme Court had ruled against the people, it would have been rendering all voting useless. We would no longer have a Republic.

Our writer next says that upholding Prop 8 was unfair to homosexual people. How? Homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else. They can marry anyone they want of the opposite sex. “Well we want to marry someone of the same sex.” Then you want different rights. I don’t have the right to marry someone of the same sex. Also, if marriage is a right, then I say bring forward my girl! I’ve been patient for a long time and I’m single!

No. Marriage is a privilege. It is a gift. 

Our writer next says that homosexuals can be targeted as a minority. Upon what basis? You could fill in any group this way. Accountants are a minority. Left-handed people are a minority. People who are bald are a minority. Is there any real basis for saying homosexuals are?

It’s because they have a different lifestyle? So do several other people. Why should a lifestyle that seeks a relationship of an erotic nature with the same sex be different?  With something like race or being male or female, that is inherent to the person. To make the case, someone would first have to show that homosexuality is inherent to the person. Sorry, but it hasn’t been done.

Even if a genetic link was shown, what would that prove? Would it prove that homosexual actions are moral? No more than showing a genetic link to alcoholism would show that alcoholism is moral. You have to look at the action itself. 

The writer also speaks of fundamental values enshrined in the California Constitution. Could our writer please go to the California Constitution and show where the founders of the state wished to include a fundamental value that homosexuals ought to be allowed to marry one another? I’m sure that’s what was on their mind when they wrote out their constitution after all.

The dissenting vote said  “discrimination against a minority group on the basis of a suspect classification strikes at the core of the promise of equality”. It’s quite the opposite. Attempting to change the social fabric of society based on a suspect classification is the problem. There is also no denial of equality. The debate is not about the nature of persons. It’s not being asked if people who are homosexual are fully human. (If it is, it shouldn’t be.) It’s asking if homosexual union is a legitimate lifestyle right alongside heterosexual marriage. Are those two equal? The answer is no in every sense of the word. 

The writer is confident that California is a temporary setback. California is not known for being a bastion of conservatism however and yet, it ruled in favor of a highly conservative value while all the way electing an incredibly liberal president. Our writer mentions Iowa as an example. If anyone wants to know the truth about Iowa however, I recommend this article from the Ruth Institute:

Our writer sees it as a temporary setback as I said. I hope he’s wrong. It’s my hope a fire will be lit under America to uphold true marriage and morality. I do not believe our society can last if we lose this battle. I ask America to wake up and take a stand now. Your children are counting on you.

The Threat Escalates

Okay. We’re going to resume our study of going through the New Testament. Tonight, we’re going to pick up again in the gospel of John. For those who are just now joining us, we are looking to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity and going through the New Testament to see what it says about who Jesus is and his relationship to the Father and the Spirit. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at John 12:1-11.

1Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

 7“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

 9Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.

The anointing of Jesus involves a gracious act done by the donator. A year’s worth of wages was nothing to sneeze at back then. (And it still isn’t today!) This was a most valuable perfume and it was all used on Christ. Judas was indignant. (He also had an ulterior motive as he often helped himself to what was donated to Christ.)

Jesus tells them that Mary has done a wonderful thing. The poor will always be there. Christ will not always be there. Let us be sure we don’t see the poor always being with us as a good thing. It is a reminder that there will always be evil and the church will always need to be there until the return of Christ. There will never cease to be a need for ministry.

The most interesting aspect in John’s account however is that Lazarus is there. In John 9, we saw the Jews expelled someone from the synagogue because of belief in Jesus. Now they’re escalating the threat. Not only do they want Jesus dead, they want to get rid of Lazarus. He’s a living testimony to what Jesus has done.

When we realize this, it should remind us of the kind of message Jesus was speaking. Jesus was not weak and meek. Jesus was an iconoclast. He was going after the greatest sacred cows that the Jews had and all the while making them worry about the Roman threat that was all around them. 

If Jesus had just gone around  teaching that we ought to love our neighbors and basic morality, then chances are we would not have heard much about him. There is no shortage of moral teachers after all. Who in a society that claimed to follow the Law of God would want to put to death someone teaching that?

Jesus was teaching much more and what was worse than that was that he was someone who seemed to be credible to many. He wasn’t some crackpot that everyone would dismiss. This guy was teaching this stuff and he was getting a following. He was teaching the strangest message the world had ever heard, that God had come among them and his kingdom was beginning and Jesus was the focus of all of it.

Is it any wonder they saw him as a threat?

And what’s sad is that they took him more seriously than we do. One should look at Jesus and either fall down at his feet and call him Lord or sentence him to the lowest level of Hell. As C.S. Lewis would say, he did not leave you any other options.

What’s your choice?

Thank You For Your Service

We’re going to continue our brief break again from the Trinity topic to remember what today is here in America, Memorial Day. Our society today has a huge disconnect with the past. I remember growing up and thinking in many ways that the life I lived was the way people around me always remembered life. Today’s children growing up will find it hard to realize that there was a time when you couldn’t find answers immediately on the internet and where you actually had to go home and pick up your phone if you wanted to call someone rather than reach in your pocket. In fact, many kids are pressuring their parents to get them cell phones where they just endlessly text each other.

Not that I’m against technology. I’m all for it. I just think too many times we can take it for granted and not realize that it is something that is meant to serve us and not to dominate us. I am quite pleased with my IPhone for example and like having a Wii nearby. I try to realize however that the age of technology was not always here. There was a time when life was much harder.

But throughout each time, there have been people who have stood for a greater cause. Our danger today is not so much the technology we have but that the technology will make us focus only on us today and not realize who all went before us so we could enjoy the benefits we have. The benefit I have of sitting down in the evening and watching an episode of Smallville, for instance, is not something that popped up out of nowhere. It’s something someone died for.

Today, we honor those who went before us. We honor the soldiers who died and often went into battle knowing that they would die. We think of the soldiers who climbed walls on D-Day knowing that they were fodder for machine guns only in the hopes that those coming behind them would be able to wear them down. They went knowing they would never see their wives and children again, and yet they kept going.

War today knows no season. We remember those who aren’t there when Christmas and Thanksgiving roll around. We remember those who aren’t there to see their children being born. We remember those who are over there now in that they may never come back and they are well aware of this. Yes. I know that this is Memorial Day and not Veterans’ Day, but one must be of the latter before being of the former.

We Christians should be especially mindful. Freedom is not cheap. We have freedom from sin through Christ, but there are places that do not have the freedom of worship like we do. There is a persecuted church all around the world. I can go into my bedroom and reach for a number of books I have. I have several versions of the Bible for study around here. Many a Christian around the world would love nothing more than to have a copy of the Bible.

Life is a precious thing and we take it for granted. We have a cavalier attitude towards it and do we really sit back and think about it? To be honest, I haven’t done so enough today. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the day that you just forget that. We can look at today as a holiday we get off from work. I was on vacation this weekend, which I arranged before realizing it was Memorial Day and before knowing I had that day off, and I’m sure many see today as just a weekend with one more day in it.

Those who went before us died for a whole lot more than our enjoying an extended weekend.

Before you go to bed tonight, be sure to take some time to remember those who have gone before, and if you know someone in the service today, thank them.

Interpretation of Scripture

I plan to write on Memorial Day tomorrow, so tonight, I’m going to do a side-topic based on a comment left by someone who read an old blog of mine. It is going to be on the way of handling Scripture and this has been on my mind a lot after being in discussions with friends on Genesis 1-3.

I’m going to state clearly that I affirm inerrancy. I don’t believe the Bible contradicts itself. However, I do believe some interpretations are wrong. I had also listened to a program on the John Ankerberg show debating the age of the Earth and I had liked how Walter Kaiser said the Bible tells us. It says “In the beginning God.” When asked how old the Earth is, he said we go to the book of nature then and find out.

I liked that, and I realize I have many friends who are YEC. If you can read Genesis that way and interpret it that way and interpret nature accordingly, go for it. Right now, I also agree with the poster that the Bible is not meant to be  scientific textbook. I believe it’s true in all propositions it supports, but I don’t think it’s to be read as a modern 21st century American would.

As I thought about this, I considered that one of the great problems we have is that we forget the Bible is a piece of literature. My roommate is a good reminder of this. He studied English in college and he knows how writers write. I know when he reads literature, he sees some things that I don’t because of his training with that. He talks about the style. I’m more interested in the content. I don’t wish to imply he has no interest in content. He does. He just sees some things that I don’t.

When we read the first three chapters of Genesis, I think we’re forgetting that the Israelites probably weren’t wondering how long it took God. They were more interested in that God did it and Moses expresed that the way he did for a reason. Now it could be he meant the days to be 24 hours. I don’t think so, but it could be. It could be he meant the days to be long periods of time. It could be that it’s meant to be chronological, but it could be that it’s written more in the style of the framework hypothesis where poetry is going on.

I’m open to many views. My stance is that I believe based on the testimony of Christ that the text is reliable and true and I should seek the best way to interpret it. Am I reading it with a mindset that is scientific or with one that is more like the Israelite would? Truth be told, I have a hard time appreciating literature. When I read something, it is difficult to focus on what I am reading and really pay attention as my mind is bouncing in a thousand different places.

Now some might think I’m talking about allegorizing everything. No. I’m talking about reading the text in accordance with its genre. I tend to be very conservative in how I interpret the text. I wish to do it as much justice as possible and my concern with the first few chapters is we spend so much time debating how long it took when I really don’t think that was God’s intention in giving us the text. Make sure this is the first thing you get out of creation. “GOD DID IT!”

Maybe to end much of the conflict, what we need to do is return to an appreciation of literature. It’ll be difficult, and I need to also, but I think it’ll help us greatly.

Review of Star Trek

To begin with, let me give a word of caution. I am not a big Star Trek fan. I’ve only seen two episodes in my life. However, we’d heard so much about this movie that myself, my roommate, and another friend all decided that we should go see this one. I can definitely say that it was worth it. This is a movie I never had to look at my watch once. If you haven’t seen the movie and plan to, you might want to read this blog later. Also, if I misspell any references to Star Trek characters, the fault is all mine and I ask Trek fans to please have mercy. I in no way mean to denigrate the series.

So the story begins with a starship flying through space approaching a lightning storm, an odd occurrence, and out of that storm comes a mammoth-sized ship that their ship seems like a speck to. After a battle, the captain orders everyone to leave, including his wife who is about to give birth to their new son. One of the last things the husband says before he dies in giving a colission course with the enemy ship is to name him James.

So later on, we see James Tyberius Kirk who lives a hedonistic lifestyle, but is stellar in his knowledge. After a bar fight, he is told that he should join the starfleet because he should realize he was meant for something more.

This need for adventure, this is a Christian idea. Other adventurers of the past adventured for some goal or sought to have the adventure come to an end. The Christian is the one who goes on an adventure purely for the sake of the adventure. We can think to the medieval writer Petrarch who would have us say that we ought to climb the mountain because the mountain is there.

Through a series of mishaps, Kirk winds up on the enterprise and realizes that they are about to engage the same ship that was responsible for the death of his father years ago, that of the Romulans with their emperor Nero. (And they do refer to an empire one time in the movie.) Kirk is there to see the planet Vulcan destroyed where Spock is from.

Spock deserves to be spoken of. He is half-human, a race that most of us have some understanding of, but half-Vulcan. The Vulcans are a race that tend to be unemotional and extremely logical. Spock is offered a chance to join the high council of science on Vulcan and is congratulated on his acceptance despite the downside he faced. When he asks what that is, they tell him his human mother. With that, Spock says he declines to join.

Spock reminds us of an important aspect of being human. There are times some of us might want to not be emotional and live purely by logic. Seeing the Vulcans, we realize that might not be the best for us. We do realize emotions can take control of us, as the Vulcans do, but the way to respond is not to eliminate emotions but to learn to control them instead. In fact, numerous times in the film, it’s hard to not see emotion even in the Vulcan race.

Kirk and Spock have their exchanges, but in the end they work together. Of course, I’m leaving a lot out, but I don’t want to spoil a lot of it and if I went into more detail, I would. Kirk is more interested in doing the right thing despite regulations. He’s interested in not just logical right but moral right also. Moral theory, of course, will be something discussed in future blogs. 

I definitely recommend seeing this one. If you’re not a Trekkie, worry not. You can follow along just fine, although I’m sure my fans who are Star Trek enthusiasts would have noticed a thousand things that I did not. 

Also, there will not be a new blog tomorrow night. I will be taking a short vacation and Lord willing, I will be back Sunday night. Enjoy this one for two nights then or go back and look through the archives. They’re always there!

The Jews Respond to Lazarus

Hello everyone. We’re continuing our study of the doctrine of the Trinity and the self-understanding of Jesus. We’ve been going through the New Testament trying to find information on the doctrine, which is kind of like trying to find seashells on the beach. Yesterday, we read about the resurrection of Lazarus. Today, we’re going to see what the Jewish leaders said in response to this miracle of Jesus. We start at verse 45 of chapter 11 and continue to the end:

45Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

   “What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. 48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

 49Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

 51He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

 54Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the Jews. Instead he withdrew to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.

 55When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. 56They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the Feast at all?” 57But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him.

It’s interesting that there is no denial that this miracle has been done, but despite raising someone from the dead, the Jews STILL don’t believe that Jesus is the Messiah. (Kind of makes you wonder about all these people who thought the Jews would be gullible ancients who’d believe anything.)

What’s the concern? The concern is that Jesus will get a following and that this will turn into a revolution and the Romans will come and take away their nation. The tragedy about this is that the Romans came and took away their nation anyway.

Caiaphas says it is better that one perish than the whole nation. John tells us that he had prophesied earlier that year that Jesus would perish to bring all the children of God back. He prophesied that, but he did not understand it. He thought that the crucifixion of Jesus would unite the Jews in stading against Rome. God instead used the sacrifice of Christ to unite all the children of God, not just Jews, together in him. This is what we see in the book of Ephesians.

As a result of this, Jesus cannot be out in public. The decision has been made. The die is cast. The Jews seek to take the life of Jesus and the next time they meet, something is going to happen.