Tuesday 03 January 2017

Bible Book:

“And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (v. 6)

Galatians 4:4-7 Tuesday 3 January 2017

Psalm: Psalm 67


The Church in Galatia struggled with several conflicts and whowas 'right' is not always quite as simple as Paul sometimesimplies. There were Jewish Christians, ('foundation members', youmight say, of the Christian Community) who were trying to keep tothe faith with which they had grown up in the light of the newfaith they had found in Jesus. They wouldn't have recognised someof the harsh words that the Gospel writers had for their beliefs.They recognised Jesus as the Christ, a Jewish idea and a Jewishperson! They were, however, under pressure from their brothers andsisters who didn't believe Jesus was the long-promised Saviour.Werethey being real Jews?They were also under pressure from completelynew believers who acknowledged that a Jew had come for the whole ofhumanity, and that meant them even though they were not Jews! Theydidn't have any desire to learn the ways of a religion that theybelieved Jesus had come to reform. Why learn 'bad old ways' whenyou have the new right there?Were these Jewish Christian realChristians?

It is a complicated story, and Paul's understanding of whatPeter was about, and Peter's view of Paul are tangled. Paul's greatstrength in all this though is his capacity to raise the eyes ofthose who argue to a transcendent truth that would unite both Jewand Gentile. For Jesus had taught his disciples the 'Abba' prayer(The Lord's Prayer) and this was not only an intellectual insightabout the nature of God, but a new way of experiencing God. The Godthat the Jews knew through Scripture, through creation, law,prophets and experience could also, and best of all, be known as"Abba" ("Abba" is a Hebrew word meaning Father, or more commonlyDaddy). Here was unity of experience and belief that immediatelymade the disagreeing community 'family'. Jew and Gentile weresisters and brothers for they had a shared experience of the divinebeing in the new relationship Jesus had given them.

To Ponder

  • How do you experience and know God? And has it changed over theyears? If so, how?
  • What disagreements are there in the Church that troubleyou?
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