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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Who is the Sanhedrin?

I am preaching this Sunday. The scripture is Acts 4:1-11. The short form is that Peter and the boys are put in front of the Sanhedrin, the religious court, for proclaiming the gospels of Jesus who they claim has risen from the dead. The whole thing is here:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%204:1-11;&version=31;

(biblegateway.com is, btw, super cool. a searchable bible may be as important as printing enough so everyone can have one, seriously.)

One of the first things to recognize about this scripture is that it is frequently misused to attack the Jews. People say, "See, they rejected Jesus. That's why the Jews represented by the Sanhedrin are the villains of the story."

Stupidest reading ever. Did Jesus want to start a new religion? No. But, it is not insane to think otherwise. Within the first few years of the Crucifixion was there a new religion? No, and you're insane to think otherwise. So, this story isn't anti-Jew because everyone in it, heroes and villains, are Jews.

That's what the story is not about. What it is about is faith, and courage, and authority. Stuff I'll be thinking about this week.

2 comments:

Matt Dick said...

Do not get me wrong, not matter what I say below, I think Mel Gibson is a mysogenist and an antisemite.

However, I have a hard time seeing his gospel movie as anti-semetic, given that the hero of the story is a Jew. I mean, his paragon of holiness is Jesus. You'd have to argue that Mel Gibson defines Jesus as the first Christian, which I think has to be a stretch, right?

Again, since I think I have to frame it before and after, Mel Gibson is a terrible, yucky, anti-semetic, racist, bad man who will never make a dollar from me ever again.

JimII said...

First off, I'm not sure if my post comes off as a direct reference to the Passion. It sounds like it might. I didn't see the movie (really for the same reason I didn't see Saving Private Ryan more than out of protest), so the reference is inadvertant.

In general, the presence of the slur "Christ killer" is probably sufficient for me to assume that some people read the story and miss the religion of the protagonist. And like so many times when this happens, it bugs me most that they also miss the real point of the story.