I’ve been absent from this journal for quite some time…I’m only here because some akanekid made me feel guilty about not having some recent posts. But, not to blame her, she has definitely not the only one who has made comments about my poorly updated journal.
This online journal thing is pretty interesting. It is an invitation to voyeurism (hey check out the giant set of thoughts on that chick!). My immediate judgement is that only lonely and friendless people do online journals (or “blogs”, is that still the current term?). Blogs appear to be some sort of cry out to the world. “Hey, I have no friends or family to pour out my life to, so I’m going to indiscriminantly post my inner thoughts for all internet-accessible people to see. And maybe, just maybe, someone will listen.”
But you know what, I’m totally wrong. I doubt if any strangers have visited my journal (I really don’t understand why someone would be interested in my thoughts, since they don’t know me). But my friends visit my blog. So I guess blogs are actually just a more convenient way of keeping each other “in the loop” as far as personal thoughts? And maybe for people who do have friends, and who aren’t always lonely, it is still a cry out to the world…
Why am I even contemplating the purpose of BLOGS?? This is really pathetic. It’s like I’m gonna publish some pop sociology paperback with a black matte cover and glossy green courier font, revealing the truth about the blogging kulture. No thanks.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned anywhere on this journal that I recently got married…yes, me…this past April. Just to put that for the record, cuz, you know, this journal is official record, right?
Alright, now that I’ve digressed to random thoughts, I guess I’ll just share a little of what I’ve been thinking about lately. I feel like I have to make up for all these months of silence.
WARNING: This portion of my blog will very likely bore you to death. I am not understating myself here, I’m quite serious. So read if you will and imagine exlamation points after every sentence, if that helps keep you awake.
My thoughts, lately, have centered around Gentiles (non-Jews) and the Gospel (the Good News of Jesus).
So it seems that my understanding of the Gospel has been quite incomplete. The standard Gospel comes like this: God created us so that we could have a wonderful relationship together. He started out with Adam and Eve, but they screwed it up by disobeying God (sinning). A perfect God can’t have a real relationship with imperfect people. So God kicked them out of Eden, but he always wanted the days of Eden back again, so he implemented this plan for his son, Jesus, to come in human form, to pay the penalty for our sins (because if you can’t be perfect, you need to at least pay for your imperfection, thus making you pretty-much-perfect). As humanity, we need to recognize that we’ve sinned against a perfect and holy God, repent of our sins, accept and believe that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. Once we do this, then we’re “born again” and we have joy and peace to hold us over until we get to heaven.
But, it seems from a simple reading of Scripture that this is not the complete Gospel. I remember when some JW’s came to visit me once (actually, they came like 20 times because I enjoyed debating with them; I was 15 at the time), and they shared that the heart of Jesus’ message was about his Kingdom. I remember very vividly thinking: kingdom?! No, Jesus was here to share about personal salvation! But you know, that led me back to my Bible, and I started realizing that the message of personal salvation wasn’t really the focal point of Jesus’ mission. He really was proclaiming “good news” about the kingdom.
To understand this at least on a basic level, we need to remember that the Jews had been occupied for centuries. They were oppressed, persecuted, and all that. It was terrible. And to make matters worse, they claimed to be the people of the “real” God. Remember, back then, every people group had their own gods. But the Jews had the audacity to claim that all the other gods were either weak or fake, and Yahweh was the one real God. The problem was, being people of the the one true God, they were under captivity! It was embarrassing! If they were really the people of the one true God, shouldn’t they be on top of the world, even conquering everyone else?! In fact, some Jews were so enraged by this dissonance that some would try to rise up against the Roman powers; today we’d call them terrorists, freedom fighters, revolutionaries, etc. Some others thought that if the Jews would finally lead a holy life, then God would send a “Messiah” or “Anointed One” to finally make things right: overthrow the Romans, establish Israel as the ultimate world power, make everyone recognize the Yahweh, not any man, was the real God and King.
So when Jesus came proclaiming Good News about the Kingdom, he was making a spiritual-political statement to the Jews. The Good News, or Gospel, was that everything that the Jews had been hoping for for generations was finally coming true. The Jews would soon no longer need to submit themselves to a foreign power, because God would finally be restored as their king! See, this really is good news! When the black slaves received the Emanipation Proclamation, that was good news! When America was finally free from British rule, that was good news! So for the Jews to hear that they would be free from Roman rule, and not only that, but God would be their king, this is really the best news that they could ever hear. This, friends, this is the good news, the Gospel.
So what’s my beef?
I’m not a Jew.
What’s my good news?
I asked my friend, Paul, this question, and he said, “Well, the good news for the Gentiles was that the Jews were right!” I totally cracked up. But, obviously, I still wasn’t satisfied. And then he mumbled something about reading some books…
Now that I am a Christian, I understand that I am a “new” Jew. The non-messianic Jews rejected the Savior and gave up their birthright, so to speak, to Gentiles like me. So I am a Jew, now. I understand that much.
But, my question is this: how is this attractive to people who are outside of the faith? If I run down the streets proclaiming, “The Jews were right! The Jews were right!”, I’m not likely to get many converts.
So what is the Gospel to the Gentiles today? That’s my question.