It’s another day: a fresh start and a fresh look at Romans 5:1-11. Yesterday I got all the predestination and free will thoughts out of my brain system, and I’m a clean slate ready for new perspectives. Today I want to ask a much better question: what is happening to us? Because it’s clear from this passage that whatever our role, whether active participants or wholly passive recipients, in what is happening to us, something is happening to us.
Let’s just rip off the band-aid: I know at least one of you has no interest in seeing the topic of predestination and free will considered here on Chocolate Book. (I know because this person has told me.) But every weekday I open up the Bible, read the passage, and write up my thoughts on it, and right now I can’t read this passage without thinking about the Verboten Subject. We’ve got to spend all week in these eleven verses for the Triad study, and as much as I wish I could write something else about them, I’m squeezing my brain and this is what’s coming out. Better to get over the predestination-and-free-will hump sooner rather than later, so that hopefully tomorrow I will find myself able to think other things about the passage. Sorry, friend.
Wait, what’s that strange book on the table? Why is the scripture passage a printout from a spiral-bound workbook instead of Jackson’s dad’s well-worn, possibly leather-bound Bible with handwritten notes in the margins? You would be forgiven for having forgotten it, but that’s right, folks: the Triad study is back! Just as a refresher, the Triad study is a program put together by Hope Church, in which three dudes or three ladies go through a curriculum and meet weekly to grow in the Christian faith and be discipled by Jesus together. When they complete the Triad study, the idea is that they each can start a new Triad with two new people, thereby multiplying disciples. And after an intermission of roughly half a stinkin’ year, we are returning to the study to get back on that horse.
Green & Black’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds bar is 37% cacao, and I’m pretty sure the other 63% is almonds. Just look at this thing!
At this very moment, I’m looking at the physical page, and dang if that thing isn’t 99% red. Literally the only words in this chapter that aren’t the Words of Our Lord are a “then-Jesus-said” to open the chapter and, later, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him” (14). (Of course it’s a dunk on the Pharisees.) Everything else? Jesus’ teaching.
For a guy with a contentious relationship with the Pharisees, Jesus sure gets invited to their houses a lot. Today’s chapter opens with him having a meal on the Sabbath with a prominent Pharisee and his peers, and to be honest, it’s as if Jesus is playing a game with himself to see how provocative he can get without actually getting kicked out.
So: I tried to shoehorn a point about modern-day Pharisaism into yesterday’s post, realized halfway through that it had little if anything to do with the text, an wisely scrapped it in favor of other topics. But Jesus’ teaching in today’s chapter actually pertains to the ideas I wanted to talk about. Looks like Pharisaism’s back on the menu, boys.