Experiment: Reading the Bible without any assumptions
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When Jesus called the first disciples
In my second time of reading the Bible, I was struck by the readiness of Jesus' first disciples to follow him.
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”At once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets.Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Fishing was the livelihood of these men. They were obviously already actively working for the day when Jesus approached them. How did these men have the discernment to realize that what Jesus was offering was more important than what they were currently doing?
I translated the situation into modern terms and mentally put myself into the picture, which is something I do sometimes when a passage puzzles me. My modern-day translation goes something like this:
My brother and I were behind the counter in our donut-and-coffee shop, taking a new batch of donuts out of the fryer, when a man we slightly knew as Joseph's son came in. "Come, follow me", he said. "I will send you out to be salt and leavening for other people." At once, my brother and I walked away and followed him.
I still found it a little puzzling - there is so much left unsaid! Yet, probably, for someone to have without hesitation walked away from their only source of livelihood, they must have known that this was something really important. They must have known this without asking questions like "Well, what does this entail?" "Where would we be going?" or anything like that.
So, I think that for these people to leave their only way of earning a living, they must have known that this man was talking about something far more important than what they were currently doing. Even if they didn't necessarily know that Jesus was the Messiah at this point, they must surely have been able to discern he was a holy man. They must have also had the discernment to know or sense that there was something bigger at hand here than there might seem to be at first glance.
Note that the text didn't say "Jesus sought high and low in all the ends of the country to find just the right people to be his first few disciples." It says:
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee.... from Mark 1:16
When he had gone a little further... from Mark 1:19
It did not say he looked everywhere. He looked for his disciples by walking, but not too far from where he lived. Thus, the first disciples he called were chosen, yes, but also, it appears that a willingness to freely follow Jesus was also important. In other words, he didn't say "OK, according to the scriptures, you have to come with me." Again, this comes down to free will - we all have it.
If Jesus had called me, would I have recognized Him? Possibly not. If Jesus had called you, would you have recognized Him?
Sometimes we fail to see God's handiwork in our lives - sometimes we fail to see Him himself, even when he appears to us through another lens (e.g. the lens of music, science, art, etc).
Ultimately, while Jesus certainly chose to ask certain people to be his first disciples, these disciples also made their own decisions of their own free will to follow Jesus. They must have been men of perception and discernment to recognize that here in Jesus was something bigger and more important than their very way of life. If you found this post interesting, you might also like these related posts on this blog:
I've talked before about what the Bible says about the Mark of the Beast and you can recap that here. Up until now, there wasn't an implanted technology in everyday use that was actually being utilized to make payments as described in Revelation 13.
This has recently changed. NPR reported that a U.S. company has offered to implant chips in the hands of their employees (see reference 1). These chips allow them to make cafeteria-style payments. In other words, a chip inside their hand will be used to identify the employee and to deduct funds from their cafeteria account when making purchases. It is an opt-in program, so the employees are not being compelled to do it.
Let's take a look at what the Bible says about the Mark of the Beast:
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its na…
On my third time reading the Bible all the way through, I noticed that there is some description of where the Garden of Eden was located. Due to the fact that Adam and Eve were sent away from the Garden of Eden, it's not something we would be able to find if we went looking for it. However, it's certainly interesting to find out generally where it was located.
Let's examine what the Bible has to say about this:
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone…
Some people, often atheists, feel that Christianity and scientific theory are incompatible. Nothing could be further from the truth. Science teaches us the laws of the planet earth and the universe (e.g. gravity). These laws to Christians, are simply the "default settings" in this world that we live in. They are laws that God put into place, but which He can supersede under special or unusual circumstances (see my previous post about miracles). Science as a discipline makes no comment one way or another about religion, and the two are not fundamentally incompatible, except for one specific scientific theory: the multiverse theory.
There have been many scientific theories postulated over the years. Of those which are taken at least halfway seriously, there is only one which I feel is completely incompatible with Christianity. This is the multiverse theory.
What is the multiverse theory? It's the notion that every time a decision is made, the universe splits into two: on…