Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Is the Church in America Unequally Yoked?

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? ... “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” - 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17 (NIV)

No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. - 2 Timothy 2:4 (NIV)

The other day as I was entering the building where I fellowship someone handed me a lapel pin. It was a cross with an American flag filling it in. I handed it back. Could you imagine this kind of thing happening in the 1st century church? 

You're in Ephesus. Its evening and your on your way to brother Caius' house for fellowship. Paul the apostle is there. As you approach the home Paul is out front greeting people. As he is greeting people he hands each person a small cross and in the middle of the cross is a little roman iron eagle symbol. 

I hope you are saying to yourself. "No I don't see that happening." Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. Its from another place." I can't find anywhere in the NT were the disciples were instructed to go and make the nations of this world into christian nations. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ there is only one nation that is christian on this planet and it belongs to Jesus and that is his bride. It is the body of believers throughout the entire world. Peter calls us a holy nation. In modern day american evangelical Christianity the moto is God and Country. However, Jesus tells us its Him alone and His kingdom. It's His kingdom we live for and it alone. When someone is saved they become citizens of a new nation, a new kingdom who's king is Jesus. It is his rule we follow. We are to follow his lead no matter what the cost. When he tells us to love our enemies that doesn't mean kill them in self defense. He tell us to not resist an evil person. 

People ask me the question, "What if someone breaks into your house and you have a wife and kids, shouldn't you defend yourself and shoot them before they shoot you?"  That is what you would call a hypothetical. Then I must ask myself should I interpret scripture in light of hypotheticals? The answer is no. That would be bad exegesis. Hypotheticals do not determine how we are to read the NT. We read the truths of scripture and filter the world around us through it. 

Here's a hypothetical. Imagine the 12 apostle living during the civil war of the USA. 6 of them lived in the south and the other 6 lived in the north. The authorities of that time, on both sides, tell them to take up arms and shoot each other to secure justice for their particular side. Do you think John would point a musket at Peter and shoot him dead because the authorities tell him that this is God's will and you must obey the authorities because our cause is just and right? The honest answer is NO. Hypotheticals can be made up for either side of an argument. That's why we don't interpret scriptures in light of hypotheticals. 

We must let the NT speak for it's self. As followers of Jesus Christ we are to live for His kingdom alone and not the kingdoms of the world. 

You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. -  James 4:4 (NIV)

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.- 1 John 2:15 (NIV)

We cannot create Jesus in the image of an earthly kingdom. That is exactly what we do when we wrap Jesus in an American flag. We yoke the kingdoms of this world with the kingdom of God. This is not part of the gospel of the kingdom of God we see in the NT. If it's not there, it shouldn't be here.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Who Are God's Chosen People?

Who are God's chosen people? The quick answer is those who are in Christ. Are the Jews God's chosen people? Yes and No. They where and are no longer, unless they are in Christ then they are. In the Old Testament they where. Their origins begin with Abraham. From there we have the tribes, the nation, the Law and the prophets. God's main purpose for choosing this ancestral line of humans was to bring salvation to all of humanity through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

God's chosen people in the OT where defined as Jews or Israel. God made promises to them and covenants with them. These were for the purpose of introducing Jesus to the world. When we look at all the promises and covenants today they are to be filtered through the person of Jesus Christ and what He has established. The new covenant. Because it is through Jesus that God is now accomplishing his plan for all of humanity.

We always interpret scripture in light of scripture. With the new covenant in place we see in the writing of the New Testament the redefining of terms as the writers were moved along by the Holy Spirit. For example; Paul in the letter to the Romans redefines a Jew. In the OT a Jew had a human ancestry, an ethnic origin, a blood line. However, Paul, as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote, "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God." (Romans 2:28-29 (NIV) Then later on in this letter Paul says, "It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring." (Romans 9:6-8 (NIV) The nation of Israel today is not the country in the Middle East. It is the people that believe that Jesus is the Christ and who are born again by the Holy Spirit. These are the Israel of God as Paul testifies too.

We see this same Holy Spirit inspired sentiment from the Apostle John where he states, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." (John 1:12-13 (NIV) Then as we continue to read the gospel of John we come to a story he tells that illustrates this truth of who are God's chosen people, His children. Jesus has an encounter with a Jew, a Teacher of the Law, a Pharisee named Nicodemus. If there was a person that from all outward appearances, as measured by the OT standards, this person would probably be considered a person that would be apart of God's kingdom, a chosen one. However, Jesus tells him that unless he is born again he would not be able to see or enter into God's kingdom. That he would be excluded from citizenship into God's kingdom. His national heritage no longer counts. Later on John quote Jesus as saying, "Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36 (NIV) There is no nation of the earth from the time of Jesus till now that is God's chosen nation or a Christian nation. Because Jesus' kingdom is not of this world or from this place.

The question might be asked, What about all the promises and covenants made by God through the prophets in regards to Israel's possession of the land forever? All these must now be filtered through Jesus and what he communicated to his apostles as written in the NT. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises and covenants that God made. "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5:17 (NIV) With this declaration by Jesus all the OT must now be filtered through Jesus and what he established. That includes what God's chosen people now look like.

The only nation that is made up of God's chosen people is the body of Christ. This is confirmed by Peter where he states, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV) Peter is writing to believers in Christ. They are the chosen people. They are God's holy nation. A nation without borders. However, at the end of the age when Jesus returns he will take up residences somewhere on this planet but it will be made up of those who believed in Jesus and where born again and not because of belonging to a certain blood line.

When we read Genesis 12:2-3 (NIV)
“I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
We must interpret scripture in light of scripture. This great nation promised to Abraham started with Israel and is now fulfilled in the body of Christ. As Paul said Israel is now made up of those who are only believers. As Peter said we believers are God's holy nation. This new nation is made up of both Jews and Gentiles in Christ and Christ alone. God will bless those who bless his body and curse those that curse his body.

Paul clarifies the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12:7, 13:15, 17:7,8,10, 24:7 in Galatians 3. It is Jesus and not a group of people that God's promises was meant for. So that it is through Jesus and not an ethnic groups of people that we interpret the promises of God. Because of this all his promise still stand. Paul goes of to say that, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal 3:26-29)

Therefore God's chosen people are now those who are in Christ. These are the real Jews. These are the real Israel. These who are saved by grace through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is not because a person that has a certain human ancestry. There is only one group of not two who are the chosen people of God.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Why Does God Allow Evil?

2 Peter 3:4,9-10 (NIV)
[4] They will say, “Where is this ‘coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”…  [9] The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  [10] But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

The other day while I was driving my car as an Uber driving, I picked up three people. They were familiar with Christianity but only in a superficial way. They were all related, two brothers and a sister. Maybe in their late 20s to early 30s. They noticed the crosses hanging from my rear view mirror. The sister asked me if I was a Christian. I response by saying I was a follower of Jesus Christ. The reason why is because in today's American culture the word Christian can have a wide meaning.

She asked if she could ask me another question. I said sure. (I never turn down an opportunity the share Jesus. Not the Jesus of the media or the Jesus of the institutionalized religion of the day. Or the Jesus that mainstream Christianity has created in the image of their patriotism.)

She ask me why does God permit all the evil we see in the world today? My first response to this kind of question is "That's a good question.” However, when I hear this question from everyday people it's usually not from an academic or philosophical perspective. It's more of an emotionally charged question in response to the world around them. Since mankind really can't do anything about it so why doesn't God? All the money, education, philosophies, psychologies or science hasn't solved the problem so why doesn't God just step in and end it?

From here I try and reframe the question for them to look at it from more of a personal perspective. I asked them if they have ever heard of the butterfly effect? Made popular by an Ashton Kutcher movie called The Butterfly Effect. It is something this age group is somewhat familiar with. It's an exercise in the law of cause and effect. Which states, for every effect there is an antecedent cause.

In theory if we had the resources and ability we could theoretically measure the causal effect of one flap of a butterfly's wing in California to a typhoon is Southeast Asia. With this illustration in mind I ask the question if God were the stop all evil in the world today can he start with you?

The great evils that humanity perpetrates on itself begin with some mundane, what we might consider innocuous wrong. Such as a little lie or a small theft or an unkind remark. Maybe a selfish act or mild exercise of pride. Most people are familiar with the expression, "stick and stone may break my bones but words can never hurt me." These are our flap of a butterflies wings. If God were to stop all of these he would have to do away with the entire human race. Because we are all guilty in some way or another of causing a butterfly effect for evil. God would has to destroy free will in all humans. However, since God is love and true love does not force another to follow or believe, he will not force people to make the right decisions.

The answer was, “No I don't want him to start with me.” Which is indirectly saying I want mercy not judgement right now. That is exactly what God has been extending to all humanity, mercy. As individuals we all want to see the other guy get their just dues. However, when it comes to us we typically have our personal excuses as to why we shouldn't be judged. Paul in Romans says it this way, “So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
God will bring an end to all the evil in the world today. This means that his mercy has a limit. So we need to stop kicking against the goads with excuse questions like Why doesn’t…? And start asking that personal question, “Am I ready?”

Jesus answered a similar question when some people came to him and ask why did certain tragedies happen to these people? The people were of the mindset that they must have done something wrong for this bad thing to happen to them. In today’s culture we would call it karma. Jesus dispelled this idea of Karma or God’s judgement caught up to them. He told them that essentially that we live in a broken world and that evil comes at us through the hands of people or because of the circumstances of life and the world we live in is imperfect and we feel the effects of it all arounds us. Given these truths our concern should be “Am I ready?” Am I ready to suffer the ultimate tragedy of death and then stand before my Creator and be judged? Or Am I ready to receive mercy?

Luke 13:1-9 (NIV)
 [13:1] Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. [2] Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? [3] I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. [4] Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? [5] I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
[6] Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. [7] So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'
[8] “‘Sir,' the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. [9] If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'”

We all are on spiritual death row. We don’t know when our time will be up. Have you accepted God’s pardon in the person of Jesus Christ?

 John 14:6, 11:25-26 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus proved the truth of his claims by his resurrection. Because of this he still asks every person this same question, “Do you believe this?” 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Are Christians to keep the Mosaic Law?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18 (NIV] “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. [18] I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

In other words, Jesus came to clarify the initial intent of the Mosaic Law. God’s meaning had been perverted by those that were entrusted with His revelation. The Law was intended to set the Israelite's apart from the other nations around them. The form of this was drafted in the context of a Suzerain/Vassel covenant. Within this framework it showed people their need for atonement before a holy and perfect God and His love for them and the whole world. All of this was ultimately to point us to Jesus. Who was going to bring a new and perfect covenant that could never be violated. Jesus didn't come to tear up the contract that God had made, with it's promises, but to fulfill humanities side of the covenant that the Isrealite failed to keep. Jesus' death served two purposes. One was the fulfillment of the part of the covenant that required death for its violation and two the beginning of the new covenant between God and all of humanity. This is God's grace in action. 

Galatians 3:24 (NIV) So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 

However, His love and the Isrealites obligations in the covenant had been replaced with a religious system based on threats and a political oligarchy. What the law and the prophets were intended to do became clouded and obscured by institutionalized religion. Much like what we see today in denomination and churches across the USA in regards to the New covenant God made with the descendants of Adam through Jesus.

Jesus was saying to the Jews that the original intentions of the law that God gave Moses was still in effect. It was meant to point to him. Luke 24:27 (NIV)[27] And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 

It was also meant to show people their need for a solution to their inability be keep a covenant with God and shining a light on the problem of sin and our guilt before God. Romans 3:20 (NIV)...through the law we become conscious of sin. He came to fulfill and make plain the true interpretation of God’s message versus the religious system that the leaders (e.g. Pharisee, Sadducees, Essenes…etc.) had created. It was the restoration of what Adam and Eve lost in the beginning, Eden. Where the people of God dwell in the place of God and eternally thrive in the presence of God. What would be called the Kingdom of God.

Israel was going through the motions of religious piety by following the Law but ignoring it's intent. Jesus challenged them because they were perverting the original intent of the Law.  The Law was not about checking off religious acts but rather to point people to their need for redemption and the solution being found in the person and work of Jesus Christ, who brings us back into the kingdom of God. The kingdom we gave up in Eden.
Paul in his writing also alluded to this fact.  Paul writes, “But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death....What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. (Romans 7:8-10, 24-25 (NIV)
Jesus fulfill all the requirements of the old covenant  that we could not. Jesus was the fulfillment of all the promises and covenants God made in the Old Testament. 

The Mosiac Law was a covenant made with a specific people, the Israelites. 
For example: 

Jesus did not come to abolish the Sabbath. He fulfilled the reason for it, therefore it is no longer binding. Because the Sabbath was a sign of the Old Covenamnet God made with the Israelites. This was not translated into the New Covenant in Jesus. The Sabbath is now found in Jesus not on a particular day. A clearer view of the intent of the Sabbath for believers in Hebrews 4. In the New Covenanent we have the sign of the Lord's supper. 

It is clear through Scripture, that Jesus did not come to do away with the intent of the Law (Luke 22:44). Which was to show humanity that it stands condemned before a perfect and holy God and their need for someone outside of itself to rescue them, a Savior and that Savior is Jesus. He was against many of the mis-interpretations of the Law especially by the religious leaders (Matthew 6:1-4).

Matthew 23:1-4 (NIV) Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: [2] “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. [3] So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. [4] They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 

Since the law was intended to reveal our sin and our need for a Savior.  Which it still does today therefore it is not done away with. It still is used to point us to Jesus however, we are not bound by it.

Romans 3:20-21 (NIV) Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

As believer we have been freed from the tyranny of the law and are now to live by the Holy Spirit.  Romans 7:6 (NIV) But now, by dying to what (the Law) once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Someone might suggest that the written code or law that Paul was speaking about in Rom 7:6 was the ceremonial laws. However, we must always read "words" in verses in their context. So if we keep reading the verses that follow, Paul makes it perfectly clear what he meant by the law or written code. In the next verse he tells us the law he was referring to was the Ten Commandments by referring to the tenth commandment itself. Romans 7:7 (NIV)What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet. 

If you are in Christ the Law is not what we obey. Because we can't. 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Now that Jesus has rescued us from this dilemma it is by the Spirit we now live. 
Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV)But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.….. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

No law can produce the fruit of the Spirit and no law can be produce that can stop the fruit of the Spirit.  In short, we are to obey God’s Spirit not the Mosiac Law.  There is no law that can create this kind of obedience or stop this kind of obedience. 

Jesus told the woman at the well that God is looking for people that will worship Him in Spirit and in truth not the Law.

If I'm living by the Holy Spirit I will love God, the saints, my neighbor and my enemy.

Hebrews 8:13 (NIV) By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Criticizing Government Officials

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NIV)
[2:1] I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— [2] for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. [3] This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

In Christian circles today, in the USA, we have "so-called" christian leaders and popular christian authors constantly speaking out against the kingdoms of man's public officials. I don't see the apostles speaking out against those in secular authority, even if they didn't agree with their political decisions. Instead they tell us to pray for them. Why do you think this is? Because, since we are citizens of God's kingdom and declare that Jesus is our Lord our goal as believers is to represent and declare the message of the gospel of the kingdom of God with as few obstacles as possible and we are to be a people of peace. We are to invite people from the world into Jesus' kingdom, which is not of this world. The people of the world are concerned with power and image and if the body of Christ intentionally diminishes that image or threatens that power then don't be deceived those same people will do everything in their power to make the message of Jesus harder to get out. 

The body of Christ must exist within every man made political system. That is why, as citizen of Gods kingdom, it's not our concern to persuade secular government official to conform to Christian ideals. 2 Timothy 2:4 (NIV) No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.

As followers of Jesus our goal is to tell the world about another kingdom that brings reconciliation with God and a desire to live at peace and to love as Jesus showed us how to love. As people of the King our presence within any political system should be seen as a blessing and not a curse. The resources a nation uses to enforce the law would not be wasted on those that are followers of Jesus Christ. The body of Christ would be a people that worked and added to a societies well being. Romans 13:3 (NIV) For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

When we are commended it's not for our own glorification but for the purposes of Jesus. That his gospel message of the Kingdom of God would not be diminished or hindered from being shared. That God would be glorified. Matthew 5:16 (NIV)In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. 

We must remember it is Christ first before our political points of view. And we are told to pray not criticize.

Monday, September 14, 2015

True Identity?

Luke 10:42 (NIV)
 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.

Jesus comes to the home of Martha. He’s not alone. He has his 12 disciple with him. Martha the home owner wants to be a good host. Jesus has some notoriety at this time. She wants to impress however, the house is full and there are no local catering services so she has to do everything herself.

Men and women through the ages identify themselves by the jobs they do. For women of the 1st century in Israel it was about being a homemaker and good hostess primarily. Martha didn’t want to fail at this job with Jesus in her home. Because if her hosting skills failed by extension she would fail therefore, her identity would take a hit.

That’s why she ask for help from Mary. She didn’t asked for her brother Lazarus to help. Since Lazarus was a man in the cultural that would be something that would not be asked of him. Mary however would be expected to help with hosting duties. However, Mary was not concerned about her identity as a good hostess.

We identify ourselves today in many different ways.

By religion.
By nationality.
By sexual orientation.
By political belief.
By marital/familial status.
By gender.
By profession.

Most of us today are an amalgamation of several identities, some of which are more prominent than others.

Our Identities are usually fluid. Sometimes it depends on the context, environment, and most importantly people. The surrounding give you one identity over the other. Our identity changes multiple times a day.

The most prominent one today comes from the question that we ask one another when we first meet, “What do you do?”

Here’s what great about this story in Luke. Jesus uses it as an opportunity to teach those there and us today what’s the most important identify we could take on.

People normally sat on chairs or, at banquets, reclined on couches; but disciples sat at the feet of their teachers. We see an expression of this in Acts 22:3 were Paul describes himself as under Gamaliel. The word “under” literally means “at his feet”. Women could listen to Torah teaching in synagogues and occasionally one might listen to a rabbi's lectures, but they were not disciples sitting in the dust at rabbis' feet. Mary's positioning of herself and eagerness to absorb Jesus' teaching at the expense of a more traditional womanly role would have shocked most Jewish men. The people reading this gospel account during the first century would have probably thought the same thing. The most advanced level of disciples included training to become rabbis; we know of no women who filled this role in antiquity. That’s why Martha was probably embolden to speak out against her sister. I could just see the disciples probably looking on in agreement with Martha.

Despite the cultural importance of Mary's identify, she broke from tradition and decided her identity as a disciple of Jesus is more important than anything else she could do.

I had a brother say the other day that he’s trying to figure out if he’s a carpenter that’s a disciple or a disciples that’s a carpenter.

From Jesus perspective I would say it’s a disciple that’s a carpenter. Jesus told Martha that Mary chose the better identify. Being identified as a disciple of Jesus Christ was better than being identified as a good hostess. Does that ring true for us today? Do the people in our sphere know we are followers of Jesus Christ? Or do they just know you as a teacher, contractor, business owner, mom, dad, husband, wife, etc.? Jesus told us what was better.