God in us

I like the introduction to Acts in The Message:

Because the story of Jesus is so impressive – God among us! God speaking in a language we can understand! God acting in ways that heal and help and save us! – there is a danger that we will be impressed, but only be impressed.

As the spectacular dimensions of this story slowly (or suddenly) dawn upon us, we could easily become enthusiastic spectators, and then let it go at that – become admirers of Jesus, generous with our oohs and ahs, and in our better moments inspired to imitate him.

It is Luke’s task to prevent that, to prevent us from becoming mere spectators to Jesus, fans of the Message. Of the original quartet of writers on Jesus, Luke alone continues to tell the story as the apostles and disciples live it into the next generation. The remarkable thing is that it continues to be essentially the same story. Luke continues his narration with hardly a break, a pause perhaps to dip his pen in the inkwell, writing in the same style, using the same vocabulary.

The story of Jesus doesn’t end with Jesus
. It continues in the lives of those who believe in him. The supernatural does not stop with Jesus. Luke makes it clear that these Christians he wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus that Jesus was a spectator of God – they are IN on the action of God, God acting IN them, God living IN them. Which also means, of course, in US.

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4 responses

  1. Hi Twyla. What is The Message? I like the thought about not being a spectator but a participant 🙂

  2. Hi Crystal. The Message is a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson. He started out as a professor and a scholar of Hebrew and Greek and made a sharp right turn into pastoring. That’s when he noticed that many people knew virtually nothing about the Bible or found it flat through familiarity. He spent the next 30 years as sort of a translator for his congregation. Then he spent 10 years actually writing out these translations of the original languages of the Bible into the kind of talking we do today.I don’t know exactly why I told you all that. I could have just said it was a paraphrase similar to the Living Bible. I like it in the way I like a turning the water to cold at the end of my shower. It sort of zaps me awake – helps me to see the same old words in a new light.

  3. Thanks Twyla. I have a coworker whose been pushing the Message at me. My response has been — I want accurate I don’t want accessible. Don’t give me a paraphrase when an accuarte translation (with notes) will do the job. They way you put it makes sense. Because you’re right — the other thing I need from a bible is that it be different enough that it makes me look a second time. Makes me stop taking things for granted.I used to love the Jerusalem for that.

  4. Twyla,You really opened this up for me – so beautifully. Thank you for this. To move from spectator to participant is a courageous thing to do. One thought I had was this: you wrote, “It continues in the lives of those who believe in him.” I might change this, based on the rest of your post, that “It continues in the lives who have his Being in them, Christ who lives in them.” No longer a matter of belief, but of Being.Namaste’M

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