Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Acts 3 - 4

I will be reading the third and fourth chapters of Acts today. You can read it here if you'd like!

This chapter starts out with a miracle. Peter and John going to the temple and healing the crippled man at the gates. From how it reads, it seems this crippled man was a beggar (I assume he had no other options). He was carried on a mat to this spot to beg each day. So he was well known for being there, for his condition.

When people witness that this man has been healed completely, they are in awe. Peter speaks to their surprise, saying that they shouldn't be. Because it wasn't Peter who performed the miracle but God through him. He also again gives the message about Jesus- that the people crucified him and God raised him from the dead.

16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

He then speaks again to the prophesies of the Old Testament. He encourages the crowd to repent and turn to God.

While Peter and John are addressing the crowd, the priests and leaders approach and are disturbed by what they are hearing. They have Peter and John thrown in jail. They are questioned by names familiar to the Crucifixion story- Caiaphus, Annas. The leaders and priests want to know what right Peter and John have to preach the way they are.

Peter responds that the miracle they performed was done so by the power of God and Jesus Christ.

The priests and leaders are surprised because Peter and John are "ordinary men" who are unschooled but had spent time with Jesus. And they can also see in front of them the cripple who was healed. So they have proof of the miracle. What has happened with this crippled man cannot be denied. They ask Peter and John to stop preaching about Jesus. Of course, Peter and John reply that they can't make that promise because they are driven by the Holy Spirit.

And now we come to the part I want to talk about!!

32All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), 37sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet.

It's socialism! It's communism! It's some kind of -ism!

I'm a pretty darn liberal Democrat. My heart bleeds all over the place, creating quite a mess.

I got really tired of being constantly accused of being a socialist during the last election. Of hearing that President Obama would inflict socialism on our country. And the thing that pissed me off about those statements? They were mostly being made by hard core conservative Christians!! People I know who looooove to throw the "WWJD" thing and throw the Bible verses thing!

And yet... here we have... in the BIBLE... Socialism! Pooling resources and making sure all needs are met. Equal distribution of goods. Not even necessarily "equal" but specifically need based. They were never hungry, they were never without shelter. Believers sold their property and brought the profits to them. And any time the money started to run out, another farm got sold, more money was given.

OK, fine. It was really more like communal living. But still... the idea of sharing resources and meeting all needs... Do I think it would apply today? Not really. Not the way things are set up now.

I just find it ironic when folks choose to use the Bible to support some arguments but disregard it for others.

Tomorrow- Acts 5


c3 said...

Must make a clarifying comment. The apostles didn't practice any kind of governmental '-ism'. They were a voluntary association. They CHOSE to share with each other, and the CHOOSING was essential to what they were doing. They were committing to each other -- much as the founding fathers of the United States -- their lives, their property, and their sacred honor. They were not committing the property of their neighbors, friends, enemies, and descendents under threat of confiscation or incarceration. That threat/use of force makes all the difference.

Liz said...

The next chapter might change your mind on that a smidge...


On April 26, 2009, my pastor spoke about the importance of reading the Bible. I got honest with myself- I don't read it regularly and haven't since high school. He issued a challenge. Read the Bible daily for 6 weeks. I'm taking that challenge and will share my daily readings and thoughts and experiences here. Feel free to join me!