Tuesday, September 06, 2011

"I Want to See Jesus!" Week of Biblical Storytelling - Tuesday

Character: Malcus - Centurion at the Cross
Theme: Jesus was all about Justice
Message: Jesus taught peaceful political strength. Jesus taught and brought Justice.

I went on a walk
in my imagination
and when I arrived
in the part of my mind
where memorized scripture is stored
I found
in the Kingdom of God
walking on Streets of Gold
and I really must tell you
about someone I met
on that road
His name was Malcus.

Malcus tells story of seeing Jesus crucified.
Forgave soldiers. "forgive them father"
Promised salvation to thief. "you will be with me in paradise."
Cared for mother. "John, your mum. Mum, your son!"
Cried out with broken heart. "why have you forsaken me?"
Darkness. 3 hours. Light. "it is finished!"
Died. Malcus said, "Truly this man is the Son of God."

That's when I knew I believed in him. But, his death was not the only amazing thing about Jesus. He cared about people so deeply! And he taught things that threatened to turn our world upside down.

Jesus was a radical revolutionary of peaceful justice:

Pompous Entry: Pontius Pilate entered the west gate each year at the beginning of Passover to remind the Jews who was in charge. Swords, spears, helmets, mounted soldiers, foot soldiers - all gleaming in the sun. And Pilate rode at the head of the imperial army declaring his reign of power and might.
Triumphal entry: the same day, Jesus entered the east gate on a young donkey - his followers laying clothes and palm branches in his path. He smiled and waved at his friends. This entering king was bringing a kingdom of peace.

Clearing the temple: Who did he think he was? Jarod wanted to keep an eye on this man during the Passover week. I was assigned to follow him from the on.

Paying taxes: Is it right to pay taxes to Ceasar?
Show me a coin. Face of Ceasar. Inscription: "Son of god"
Whose face? Give to Ceasar what is Ceasars. But give to God what is Gods!
(everything belongs to God! And what are you doing with a graven image in your pocket? Especially one that has blasphemy on it!)

Turn the other Cheek: left hand never used to touch other people or food. In the middle east, even today, the left is the "poo" hand.
Right cheek = backhand (superior striking slave)
Left cheek = forehand (how you hit an equal in a fair fight)
Jesus wasn't telling his followers to go around asking to get smacked in the face. He was teaching them to peacefully challenge unjust authority. "you want to hit me like I'm a slave? Fine, hit me. Now hit me again the way I really am - your equal!"

Sued for your coat? Give your robe as well: Only the poorest of the poor would pay a debt by giving their coat. It meant they had nothing else to use as payment. Only a cruel person would ask for your cloak - knowing you would be cold without it. Whenever a tax collector accepted a cloak it was his way of saying, "you are so poor that you aren't even worth keeping alive! I hope you die of frostbite."
Jesus said, "Take off your robe and give it too." What would the man be wearing? Nothing! Being naked would be embarrassing for the naked man, but even more embarrassing for the tax collector who caused it. Everyone would look down on the tax collector for making a man get undressed in public.
Again, Jesus was teaching his followers how to peacefully resist unjust authority. By offering your robe as well you threatened to embarrass the tax collector. "I'll take it off! I will! Want my robe? It's only fair. I owe you more than what I can pay. I'll take it off!"
NO NO NO please NO!
And to those listening to Jesus' advice, they got the message: Look what the Romans are doing to us. They are stripping us bare!

Second mile: Soldiers were allowed to ask a peasant to carry their gear for a mile. And no more. The law had been made because soldiers were making peasants carry their bags all day and then the peasant missed an entire day of work and was a day's walk away from home in the evening which meant it would take another day to get home. This caused the Romans to loose money in taxes and workers in the field. So they made the law to control the soldiers.
If a peasant carried the gear a mile as they were required, they were doing their duty. If they offered to go a second mile they were offering a kindness. But, they were also making the soldier take a risk of getting in trouble. "That soldier made me carry this bag 3 miles!" YOU WHAT? "But he said he wanted too!" YOU TWIT! AS IF HE WOULD SAY THAT! YOU'VE BROKEN THE LAW!
Again, Jesus was teaching his followers to peacefully resist unjust leaders by messing with the system. An offer of generosity messed up the imperial order of things!

Love your enemies: Then Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." So tell me, who's that? US! Love the Romans. Pray for them. And peacefully refuse to be treated as slaves. Jesus was leading a revolt of peaceful justice and he had every leader in a hundred miles scared. The Jewish leaders wanted him dead, the Roman leaders wanted him dead. And yet he didn't do anything wrong. He just spoke truth in a mighty powerful way!

All this talk of justice reminds me of the guy I met yesterday. His name was Micah. He taught me a song about Justice.
Micah’s message
Sing theme song

“Thank you for telling me your story.
I have enjoyed meeting you. But I want to see Jesus. Have you seen Him?
Yes, Jesus is very near. Just before you, he was here!”
Retell the key people and message of previous days
finish with Micah’s message
Sing theme song
To kids: “Thank you for singing with me! I really must go!
I want to see Jesus!”
walk off stage

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