So this is Pentecost. The Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples and they suddenly speak in many different languages. The city was probably packed with people because it was the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot. So we have many Jews from all over the world hearing the disciples speak to them in their own language about Jesus. Many people think this is the explosion that kicked off the modern church.
Pentecost is seven weeks after Easter Sunday. So this isn’t a special comic or anything. Maybe I’ll make another one for when it actually happens. I just always liked this passage because of the response Peter gives to the accusation that they’re drunk. It’s not, “Of course not, we don’t drink.” It’s, “Not this early in the morning! C’mon!” Everyone probably laughed at that. Actually, since this is in the middle of a big feast-based festival, a lot of people probably were drunk already. So maybe this wasn’t a funny comment, but something they actually needed to clarify.
Either way, passages like this confirm my belief that I can drink beer with a clear conscience. Beer is delicious; the church should stop trying to deny delicious things. Of course it needs to be in moderation, like everything. We suffer from the disease of overindulgence in the west. College culture and Hollywood ideas of drinking have helped the church over here convince itself that drinking is evil. But with that kind of approach, maybe food should be evil too. The obesity rates in the west aren’t something to laugh at. And maybe credit cards should be illegal, as we suffer from a huge debt problem. It’s not the product that corrupts people, it’s the mindset they already have. It’s our culture that tells us it’s normal.
Keep in mind, I completely respect people who decide to not drink. It’s when you claim you don’t drink because you follow Jesus that I cringe. I have lots of non-Christian friends who don’t drink. It’s not exclusive to religious folk. Nor can you back it up with the Bible. It’s just another rule we try and enforce, and Jesus came to break us free from rules. So feel free to drink. But be responsible. And not before nine; that’s ridiculous.
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I took a little creative license with this passage, but I think I still portray the meaning. This is a sequence of parables Jesus is using to describe the kingdom of heaven. It goes, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” and then he tells a parable, or story with a point. This is an interesting approach. I think it’s a fair assumption that the kingdom of heaven today means clouds, angels, and perhaps Philadelphia cream cheese. In the parable I’m using here, Jesus states at the end that those who are first will be last, and vice versa.
I’m reading through Rob Bell’s new book right now. It’s about heaven and hell. It’s actually nothing I haven’t read before from N.T. Wright, or Bruxy Cavey. But maybe I take the stuff they discuss for granted. For instance, that the kingdom of heaven is something Christians try to live in here and now. It’s not some fancy far away place you go when you die. You live in it now, and in death you continue that life. That’s what Jesus is talking about when he mentions it. Living in the here and now, with an attitude that you will carry it with you forever. And in the future, or when you die, who knows when… God will restore the earth and make things right. So horrible things like tsunamis in Japan won’t happen. It’s a pretty radical message, and I’m not going to get into everything it entails here. I would suggest just getting one of those books.
The point is, Jesus isn’t saying, “when you die, this is what it’ll be like.” He’s telling us how to live in a kingdom that exists today. And apparently, in this kingdom, those who are first will be last, and vice versa. So we have one guy working hard and expecting a greater reward, but he gets all bitter and mad when this other guy gets the same reward for far less work. That’s not a kingdom attitude. You should just be happy for that guy and what he got. Getting angry and bitter will only hurt you in the end. At least, that’s my summarized interpretation of events.
I’d like to thank this blog for talking about my comic. The second to have done so. It’s awesome, and I hope word spreads about the comic. That way I’ll feel better about working all day instead of playing in the sun. Sorry sun. Also, I’ve been using twitter and facebook more, so I’m gonna bug people to follow me. Please? Twitter Facebook
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It never ceases to amaze me how many times Jesus has to correct his disciples. I mean, these guys spend all their time with Jesus, yet it takes them forever to understand something. There are a few times, three or four I think, where Jesus basically tells them he will die and be raised three days later. He does use kind of cryptic wording, but still, it sounds pretty clear. And every time the disciples are like, “Huh? this again? I don’t get it…” So we shouldn’t feel too bad if it seemingly takes forever to “get it.” At least that’s what I tell myself…
I also like how the disciples think they have some kind of exclusive right to Jesus-type things. They must feel pretty special, traveling around with this holy celebrity. I wonder if that danger bleeds into modern day church culture. I can think of a couple examples of people who seem to think they’re something special. Even though Jesus isn’t physically with us, the idea is that we’re still walking with him, learning. So it’s kind of a direct lesson for us too. It would be like if someone trained at a Bible college saw some untrained yuppie trying tell people about the Bible and what it means. (Untrained yuppie, that’s me.) So to any trained theologians out there, Jesus says leave me alone. =p
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The Bible is full of sinners and their stories. This one is about a sorcerer named Simon. He probably spent his whole life practicing and honing his trade, earning the amazement and respect of the local people. Along comes Philip, an apostle of Jesus, who performs legitimate miracles. Suddenly, Simon’s power doesn’t seem so hot. At this point I feel kinda bad for him. Now I am assuming a lot here, mainly that he was more of a practicing magician or alchemist, and not some crazy cultist conjurer or necromancer. Please bear with me while I apparently list character classes from Dungeons and Dragons, haha. But imagine if you trained your whole life to do something, and then you’re confronted with a truth that shatters all the knowledge and training you’ve undergone throughout your life. That would be pretty devastating I would imagine.
There’s a couple responses I see from this in the Bible. There are people like Simon, who eventually realize what he’s seeing is true, and try to start following Jesus. And there are others, like the Pharisees, who refuse to acknowledge it’s true, and that way cling to their beliefs and knowledge.
There is an entire other interpretation for this passage. Sorcerer can also refer to a drug giver, or pharmakeus, basically a pharmacist. They sound like they used poisons and rituals to cleanse sickness. If this is true, then Simon was some kind of magical healer, and Philip actually healing people just straight up destroys his business, and reveals him for the fraud he is. This interpretation makes way more sense to me. But I like the idea of Simon being a trickster or magician too.
Either way, I don’t think he was an actual sorcerer casting spells and stuff. So this passage doesn’t really condemn Harry Potter. Nothing does, because those books are just too good.
I read these articles to arrive at that second opinion.
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