Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Who Jesus and Peter ate with

"Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" (Matthew 9:11)

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. (Galatians 2:11-12)

I get the feeling that the people Jesus ate with is a favourite topic of a lot of people these days. I am currently reading a recently released book on it by Craig Blomberg, called Contagious Holiness: Jesus' Meals With Sinners and I suspect Conrad Gempf's book with the title Mealtime Habits of the Messiah: 40 Encounters with Jesus has something to say on it too. I think emergent types are particularly fond of the theme. And it is a great truth full of encouragement for 'Gentile sinners' like me(Gal 2:15).

However, I wonder that in all my reading on Galatians recently nobody seems to have made the connection between Jesus' eating with sinners and Peter worried about becoming a 'sinner' (cf. Gal 2:15,17) by eating with Gentiles. Maybe it is because, although it is widely argued against, many scholars still do not think that Paul knew many of the Gospel stories. But surely it has much light to give. That the church as the body of Christ and possessing the Holy Spirit should be confident in its contagious holiness, as opposed to contagious sin, which we have to work hard to avoid is clearly a central gospel truth.


At 11:12 pm, Blogger thebluefish said...

Good observation!

Surely, given the power of the gospel, we ought to presume it more likely that our interaction with the world might infect the world with life/truth, more than us with sin/error....

Yet we run scared all too often... fearing that what we digest will defile us....

At 9:33 am, Blogger Dave K said...

Thats exactly what I mean. I was once challenged to do a bible study on the invasion of Israel summed up at the beginning of Judges, and how the Israelites made peace with the inhabitants against the will of God.

Very difficult to apply. But I tried to tie in how it was a God being realistic, and the importance of worshiping only him. But then I tried to show how the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the stories about Jesus meals, meant we shouldn't imbark on some sort of Jihad. Sadly I think I didn't get that across very well though.

As a final thought, I was going to reference Jude 1:22-23 as suggesting something more like a compromise (wrong word!) between the NT and OT ways but actually it doesn't. Interesting.


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