Rob started off the Early Day with a two hour non-stop whirlwind tour of the Bible. He started off spending an hour looking at Jerusalem v Lystra. He showed the context of Jewish faith as based on Exodus 3 and then on into Acts 14 looking at how Paul shares faith with those who don’t have the same background. They knew nothing of the Jewish culture so Paul has to do some serious work in culture shifting. However, the Jewish headquarters of Christianity weren’t so happy about the culture shift and encouraged the Christians in Lystra to hold to the Jewish traditions.
We concluded this section by thinking about how for many youth workers we work in Lystra but receive our pay cheque from Jerusalem and so the key question is how much of Jerusalem do the Lystra folks have to follow?
The second half was spent looking at four locations in the Bible:
Egypt (Exodus 3) – God hears the cry of the oppressed – both at the individual and corporate level.
Mount Sinai (Exodus 19) – the formation of a new kingdom – it is also the only time in the history of religions, according to Rob, that God speaks to a group of people. Redemption occurs through a community – the taking care of others, e.g. foreigner, fatherless, and the widow.
Jerusalem (1 Kings 9) – they forget the story and so it all goes wrong. The oppressed are now the oppressors. The blessing God bestowed on Solomon he used for himself – similarly we can get so focussed on ourselves that we put all our resources into preserving our church empire – keeping numbers, being careful not to offend a certain family with truth etc.
Babylon (2 Chronicles 36) – they remember the story and they remember Egypt. They begin to cry out to the Lord and so the cycle starts again.
Jesus repeats the cycle for us:
1. Let’s leave – “come and follow me” (Jesus is the new Moses).
2. The new kingdom is happening.
3. Unlike the previous Son of David this one gets it right.
4. The need to go home – he welcomes us as the prodigal son on a return from exile.