Monday, October 09, 2006

Jesus and the (Dis)Order of Service

I really like prteaching. You read it right p-r-t-e-a-c-h-i-n-g. It's preaching and teaching morphed into one communication style.

The reason I like it is that it gives me an excuse to bore down into the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth. I'm prteaching through the explosive, energetic Gospel of Mark these days at Fellowship Evangelical Covenant Church where I am interim pastor.

Jesus is absolutely fascinating. For example, in Mark, Jesus' first "miracle" is an exorcism... in church (see Mark 1: 21-28)! It was in the Jews' sacred space (the synagogue) on the sacred day (Sabbath) and Jesus is doing his own prteaching and, whamo!, Mr. I'm-Possessed-With-the Uglies challenges Jesus to a church fight. Apparently, Mr. I-P-W-U felt comfortable in church until Jesus showed up. There was the typical name-calling and guantlet-tossing, "What to me and you? We know who you are, Jesus of Nazareth. You're the Holy One of God." Jesus said, "Oh, shut up and get out." And there you have it.

Panic, palpable as the smell of Texas barbeque, spread through the prteachees. One guy interviewed after the service reported, "Me, my name's Zeke, and Hulda just came for church. We wasn't expectin' nuthin,' y'know. Jesus, the new guy, was talking about his Father's kingdom as I recall. It was all sort of same old, same old 'til that big mouth guy started jousting with the preacher. You just don't do that up yhere in Galilee. There was a ruckus and next thing you know the man is kicking and screaming and then...peaceful as moonlit vineyard at midnight. 'Scared the purple pomegranates outta me and Hulda. We just wanted a few psalms and some preachin' and then we'd go on home for lamb chops 'n such. But noooooo, we had to witness a mess. I ain't even hungry now."

The take-home question of the day was: What kind of teaching is this? We've got categories for all kinds of teaching, but not for this Jesus' teaching? He says "Jump!" and the demons say, "How high?!" Jesus speaks with authority.

Jesus did say he was "fishing for men [people]." And the demoniac in the Capernaum synagogue on the Sabbath was as good a catch as any. In effect, Jesus was saying to Peter, Andrew, James and John, "Pay attention, boys. This is how it's done...this fishing for people thing." I can hear Peter whispering all bug-eyed to the other three, can't you? "What in the deep Galilee blue sea have we got ourselves into here?"

Isn't it intriguing that the demonic world feels deeply threatened by the presence of Jesus: "Have you come to destroy us?" Yet, human beings blandly invoke his presence and then yawn their way through church. "Kingdom, shmingdom, I've got a golf game this afternoon."

Lord, there is no category for you. You are One of a kind.


At 10/09/2006 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that the demonic world feels threatened by the very presence of Jesus has been a helpful concept for me as I have worked through the puzzlement of why, for instance, the suggestion we be more intentional about authentic relationship with Jesus (over and against things like oh, being better than everyone else or having the slickest programs or preaching or boasting the most correct doctrine etc etc etc) in a church seems to cause, literally, all hell to break loose.

At 10/09/2006 7:07 AM, Blogger Linda said...

Awesome John, I'm glad you're back.

At 10/09/2006 8:26 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

When you see the demon world instantly obedient to Jesus and then at the end of Mark chapter 4, "Even the wind and the waves obey him," you wonder at the patience of God with us humans who tinker around with the Christ. It's safer to have a relationship with a pristine doctrinal statement than with the living Jesus--the Disturber from Nazareth.

At 10/09/2006 8:27 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Right back at you--you are a courageous leader. Hang tough.

At 10/09/2006 12:44 PM, Blogger Jim Martin said...

This is great! I have spent a lot of time in Mark lately and was very blessed by your re-telling this story.

So glad you are back.

At 10/09/2006 3:55 PM, Blogger John Frye said...


Thanks, brother. It is good to be back and to have some time to blog again. Mark is a great gospel.

At 10/10/2006 9:32 AM, Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen John. Great stuff. A good kind of dangerous. The kind we need to get out of our perilous safety. In Jesus. God help us to do so.

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