Epiphany for a gentile

Imagine you are a member of an ancient tribe.  The earth is chock-full of gods, but the one who lives in your area is the one who affects your life.  You have carefully groomed this deity with gifts and flattery (a.k.a., “worship”), so that he will think positively of you and grant you occasional favors.  If you have been really diligent in your flattery, you can have some reasonable expectation that your god will save you from your enemies (who, coincidentally, have the same arrangement with their gods).

As far as you can tell, the nearby tribe of Jews seems to have a similar relationship with their “Yahweh.”  Just like you, they work hard at stroking their god’s ego, and they feed him lots of whatever food he likes (Yahweh seems partial to blood and meat), and they expect him to send them a “Messiah” to crush their enemies.  Good for them.

But one of the Jewish splinter groups believes that Yahweh has already sent their Messiah, this Jesus.  Okay, whatever.  But here’s the weird part:  They are saying that their messiah is your savior, that their Yahweh has crushed your enemies.  That Jesus is not only the Messiah of the Jews, but is also the Savior of the whole world and all the people in it.  Huh?

Here’s their logic:  They say Yahweh is not just their local deity, but the Creator of everything, the God of gods (including yours).  They say Yahweh’s kindness to them is a gift, not dependent on the quality of their sacrifices and worship.  Taking the weirdness even further, they say Yahweh has been kind to them for the express purpose of extending his unconditional kindness to all people, including you.  They call this “the mystery of the ages” (Ephesians 3.6).  It’s a mystery alright…

But if they’re right, if this Jesus is what they say he is, it means the world does not work the way you think it does.  This is worth thinking about more…

8 comments so far

  1. Jane Hinrichs on

    Hey, I like this. Interesting perspective.

  2. Jeannine on

    Great post, John – I see what you do! 🙂

  3. Boyd Merriman on

    Now I know the gods are crazy!

  4. calvin simon on

    great way to put it. also great lesson for us that we dont have to stroke God’s ego, to get anything. thanks

    • I owe this lesson partly to Monty Python’s satirical prayer: “O Lord, ooh, You are so big, so absolutely huge. Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell you. Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying and bare-faced flattery, but You are so strong, and, well, just so super fantastic. Amen.”

  5. Am I the only one who was surprised to discover that the inclusion of Gentiles is “the mystery of the ages”? I remember reading that bit of Ephesians when I was younger, and wishing I knew what the mystery was. For me now, looking at it from the gentile point of view helps me see how earth-shattering it is.

  6. Craig on

    Great post. I have never been here before but as a free believer, away from institutional church, I am always looking for others who are ‘out of the box’ believers. Don’t get me wrong, out of the box doesn’t necessarily mean that the traditional church model has been forsaken, it simply means that the constructs of religion, church, and morality are being viewed with a non-traditional, less jaundiced perspective where we are free in the life of the Father, Son and Spirit and the life we live is pleasing to them. Wonderful to be here and grace and peace to you John.

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