Cliff College

I spent last week up at Cliff College, taking part in the Christian Life & Mission Course. This is two weeks of intensive study, then four assignments that I have complete throughout the year. There are ten of us on the course, the other 9 are interns from Scripture Union, 3 of whom are working at Re:Generation church, which is a Methodist fresh expression in Romford which has twice as many young people as adults in the congregation! I was really challenged by the whole week, so thought I’d share some of what I’d learnt :)

The first day we looked at Jesus through the whole Bible. All through the Old Testament there is the mention of this Messiah figure coming, the birth of Jesus is the fulfilment of the Christ that is prophesied about throughout the Old Testament in Isaiah, the Psalms & Deuteronomy to name a few. I think this is one of those things that you know of, but certainly I had never made any sort of connection between in my head; and it really challenged me!

We were looking particularly at Luke’s gospel throughout the week, and it really surprised me how much each of the four gospels differed. I was aware that John just kinda does his own thing, but the differences between the three synoptic gospels were staggering. Matthew was written to try and keep the Jews happy, whereas Luke was written without that care, instead it show the passionate and inclusive side of Jesus.

Stories like; The Good Samaritan, The Lost Son & Zacchaeus only appear in Luke. These are stories where Jesus talks about reaching out to those who are lost, that no one else would want to talk to, showing Jesus on the side of the marginalised. How much of our view of Jesus would be changed if these stories weren’t there? How much of our view of Jesus is based on what these stories portray? I’d just assumed that these were pretty common to the gospels, definitely not that they only appeared in one of them.

In Matthew’s gospel (Matt 1:20-21), the angel appears to Joseph to foretell the birth of Jesus. In Luke (Lk 1:28), the angel appears to Mary. The angel appearing to Joseph would have been acceptable for the Jews, some would say that was why Matthew told it that way; however, can you imagine how the Jews would have reacted to the angel appearing to Mary?!

It struck me, that Luke’s gospel, and how he portrays Jesus, is very Methodist. The compassionate side of Jesus, is what I believe Wesley wanted to emphasise when he came away from the Church of England and went out to share the gospel with those that no one else wanted to touch.

How much of the compassionate side of Jesus do we portray today, as Methodists?

What would Wesley think of the Methodist Church today?

More importantly, what would Jesus think of the Methodist Church today?

No comments:

Post a Comment