Monday, August 4, 2014

Are We Overlooking an Obvious Answer?

Paraphrasing Phillip Yancy; we claim to be people of The Book, which suggests we ought to be a people of books. One such book is William Barclay old volume entitled The Master’s Men, 1959.

Barclay primes the pump with this thought: “In the vision of the writer of the Revelation the twelve foundation stones of the wall of the Holy City had inscribed upon them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14). The twelve apostles,” suggested Barclay, “are the foundation stones of the Christian Church.” 

It is right he concluded, “that we should study them, not only to learn the facts about them, but also to see what apostleship meant for them and what discipleship must mean for us” (p. 11). This fine little book of splendid character sketches surveys both the biblical and non-biblical content for each of The Twelve. Barclay is biblical scholar as well as a well-versed academic in classical literature. He uses his vast knowledge of detail to remain true to the biblical record while opening windows for new and greater understanding for contemporary readers.

The profound lesson I found in his sketches revealed the wide ranging diversity of this group. These hard working, blue collar commoners, lived in explosive times. Living under the seeming quiet of Roman rule, this tiny Jewish state literally crawled alive, a nest of rebellious maggots. They remained a potential holocaust, ready to explode at any moment, at a given word of rebellion from any of numerous sources. 

Yet, the disciples of Jesus lived peacefully and harmoniously in their common bond with their beloved Teacher. From first to last: Simon Peter to Simon Zelotes (Zealot), Matthew the publican to the sons of thunder; these men in any other social context would have erupted into irresolvable conflict that exploded and utterly destroyed any  and all possibility of negotiating a common life. 

Perhaps the most overlooked lesson to be learned from the relationship of these men with Jesus is the common bond with him that utterly transformed their irresolvable differences into a harmonious symphony of a loving relationship.

When I look at the cacophony of conflict in today’s Middle East and I consider the centuries old dissonance of distrust, hatred, and revenge, I see only the hopelessness of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. Yet, when I behold the social transformation of these twelve men living in their mutually loving relationship with Jesus, I have to wonder why our global community prefers living with dissonance rather than a harmonious symphony of peaceful living.

These men living together proved beyond any shadow of doubt that there is a transforming power that unites the most diverse and flawed of men and binds them in a common life more powerful than the strongest of human bonds.

From Warner’s World,
this is

wondering why our global community continues to discount this all important resource for peaceful living, when no one else has a better answer.  

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