It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Repayment, a Reflection on Matthew 16:21-28

When Peter was told what what was going to happen to Jesus, he rebuked Jesus. As Allen and Williamson put it, he turned from being the rock to being a stumbling block. (Preaching the Gospel without Blaming the Jews)

When the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and promised them to him in exchange for being worshiped, Jesus told him to go away.

When Peter pleaded with Jesus to skip the suffering, Jesus called him Satan and said, "Get behind me." Boring and Craddock suggest that Jesus was not telling him to go away. Rather, Jesus was telling Paul, "Get in line behind me. You're next." The People's New Testament Commentary

"If any of you want to be my followers, take up your cross. What is going to happen to me, you can expect to happen to you."

I wondered, as I thought about this passage, what modern-day evangelists were saying to potential converts. Then I remembered who he was talking to--his disciples, insiders, not the crowds, the uninitiated.

He was telling those who were already following him what the Christian way will be like for them. I then wondered about what our current Methodist evangelism material is like. I found this resource: Transforming Evangelism: The Wesleyan Way of Sharing Faith

Here's a quote from the review by Kwasi Kena:
The book looks at John Wesley, in particular, as a great evangelistic practitioner. Wesley's central motive for evangelism was not to recruit new members. Instead, profound gratitude to God and deep compassion for others motivated him. Love for God and neighbor were central. Wesley abhorred cheap love. He challenged people to broaden their thinking of who their neighbors were and to discern what responsibility they had toward their neighbors.
"After all," Jesus tells them, "worrying about and working for things that make your life comfortable for a while doesn't do you much good for very long. Focusing on the unimportant draws your attention away from the more important."

Jesus knew as much about cost as a CPA. "What you decide to do today will affect what happens to you tomorrow and the day after that and for time to come. Take care of the matters that God cares about, and God will take care of what should matter to you." 

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