Pouring contempt on who?
Recently our pastor Gino preached on Matthew 27: 29-30 where the Roman soldiers, among other terrible things, mocked Jesus and treated him with utter contempt. They poured out their hatred for someone they didn’t even know. Those in command, such as Pilate and others knew that Jesus hadn’t done anything to deserve such horrible treatment as beatings and cruxifixction. Allegedly Pilate was worried about the mob. The same governor who had repeatedly killed Jews for the slightest infractions, is now cowering before the mob?
I don’t buy it for a minute. We don’t have much evidence on this but there is no ancient record of the Roman battalion being gathered and completely raining down their contempt on one single Jew. What could possibly motivate such hatred? (I hope they didn’t call him “deplorable”!) I am not disputing at all the Gospel account which states Pilate was afraid of the mob - I don’t think he was afraid physically of the mob in the way this is normally thought of. Pilate killed Jews many times before and afterwards. I think he was really afraid of losing his patronage in Rome. He was afraid of what the mob meant. That mattered to him and if there were riots he would be seen as weak by the real powers that be. To release a serious local threat in Barabbas and kill Jesus would show the powers that he, Pilate, knew how to placate the mob well and wisely - at least by Romans standards. He could always kill Barabbas later. It seems like pouring contempt on this one Jew was to become a world wide phenomenon - at least in the Roman empire. From the death of Jesus to 311 A.D., emperors took great pains to attack over and over again all who believed in this one Jew. Roman politicians praised the efforts to reduce the influence of this one Jew. They killed church leaders and burned church scriptures because they talked about and spread the news of this one Jew. Why so much fear and anger? There were a thousand plus religions under Roman jurisdiction - why so many attacks on the followers of this one Jew? The Romans cared not a whit about theological doctrines - that was a Jewish phenomenon to them. They cared only about power - and for a long time they were quite good at it. What could one dead Jew possibly do to threaten what Rome valued most?
I was on my way back from Israel many years ago and sitting next to a professor of Computer Science from Boston University. Very intelligent and very atheistic. He was a Jew from Poland whose entire family had been wiped out in the Shoa/Holocaust. Among many things we talked about, I asked him since there was no god, why were his people, of all people, persecuted and hated all over the world, even in countries where there were no Jews? He thought about it for a moment and then said “Well you see when we immigrate to other countries we tend to stay to ourselves”. I said that may be true but all you have to do is look at New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and what do you see? Little Italy, Little Puerto Rico, Chinatown, etc. All immigrant communities tend to stay to themselves. And then I said “You know you can look for a secular reason for this all your life but I don’t think you will ever find an answer. Nobody hates and persecutes the Egyptians or Babylonians or Hittites or Carthaginians or anyone else. Only your people are treated this way. I think unless you consider that there is a supernatural element to this it will never make sense to you!” The conversation pretty much ended there but I think he had something to ponder for a while. In the same way that hatred against all Jews can only have a spiritual explanation, the even greater hatred against just this one Jew, Yeshua/Jesus, cannot be explained in human terms either. First the Romans, then the Germanic tribes, then the Muslims, then the Khans, etc. It is easy to understand the hatred of the church with people like Voltaire who saw the evil of Cardinal Richelieu, or the hatred of the “Jewish Christ” by someone like Hitler, who wanted instead a “teutonic Christ.” But isn’t it interesting that while for example the Buddha is hated by some Hindu gurus, mainly for proprietary reasons, that the Buddha is beloved everywhere else? No one hates Krishna, or Lao Tsu or Zarathustra or any of the other ancient religious leaders of renown.
Only this one Jew. And contempt is poured out on this one Jew’s followers in places all over the world. Christians are imprisoned and killed in Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, North Korea and so many other places. In many other Muslim countries they are forced to live as dhimmis (second class citizens under Muslim rule) and pay enormous amounts of money - jihza - for the privilege of living as second class citizens in their own country. All because of this one Jew.
Marxists pour contempt on this one Jew all the time. Marx renounced both his Jewish heritage and his parents conversion to protestant faith. Religion was famously “the opiate of the people” and something to be condemned as hindering the advance of his utopian classless society. Interestingly enough he took the Jewish vision, especially as laid out in the latter part of the book of the Prophet Isaiah and envisioned a millennial state of paradise without the need of the Messiah, who Isaiah declared would bring about that paradise. No need for that one Jew!
Many under the broadly “Christian” umbrella also pour contempt on that one Jew. While in the name of believing in Jesus, many religions declare that what Jesus did on the cross was good and necessary but not sufficient to pay for our sins. Roman Catholics, Mormons, Church of Christ, and so many others say “yes what Jesus did was good but we have to do x, y, and z to complete the task." When Jesus said it was finished on the cross, apparently he had not gotten the memo of just how insufficient his sacrifice was. So even in the name of believing in him, many show contempt by calling into question what he came to do and whether he did it or not. Most sad of all is the contempt that those of us, especially me, pour on Jesus by doubting what he did, said, and offers to us. “Christian evangelical” scholars doubt he said what he said.
Believers know his commands to us and yet like the Apostles we often waffle and flat out refuse to obey him. We call him Lord, but we pour out our contempt by treating his voice as just one of the white noise backdrop. The scriptures told us long ago In Isaiah 53 that this one Jew would be despised and hated by his peers. People who knew him would hide their faces in embarrassment. This one Jew wasn’t good looking or regal in any sense. But God says he bore our grief and carried our sorrows. He was crushed for our sins, not his own, but ours! Yet the cross would not be the end of the story. This one Jew would see his days last for eternity. He will see generations of spiritual children that last forever. His resurrection was seen 600 plus years before he was even born! There is the threat! There is the thing that must be stomped out before it takes hold of the world. The resurrection of this one Jew, Yeshua, would be seen by a handful, then by hundreds, then believed by tens of thousands and then by millions. The Pharisees were right to attack the Messianic's over this one Jew. The Romans were right to fear this one Jew. The Romans are ruins and ancient history - the resurrection of this one Jew has shaped the world like no other. Though he is still despised by millions, this one Jew, Yeshua, who was crucified, buried and resurrected, is revered by millions and shapes the destiny of this planet in so many ways. He will bring an end to the long war against God. He will take his followers to a place with him where there are no more tears and the swords and spears will be plowshares. No more contempt for the one who intercedes for our sins. Thank you for this one Jew!
I am teaching Philosophy and World Religions all spring semester at Colorado Early Colleges Parker and teaching
Zechariah at our home Bible study on Tuesdays!
April 14th – Colorado Springs Psychic Fair
April 21st – Staff Meeting
April 21 st – Body-Mind-Spirit fair in Loveland
April 19-24 – Festival of Faiths. Louisville, KY
April 25-28th - EMNR conference in New Orleans
April 29 - Morning service at Choctaw reservation church - Pear River Mennonite church in Mississippi.
April 28-29 th – Denver Holistic Fair - Brighton
May 12th – Staff Meeting
May 17-20th – Kansas City Mormon Trip (IHOP, Krishna?)
June 2-3rd – Peoples Fair in Downtown Denver
June 16th – Haven Board Meeting!
June 19-23rd – Manti Miracle Pageant, Manti UT
July 1 - Morning service at Community Bible Church, Central City, NE
July 8 - Morning service at Stockham Community Church, Stockham, NE
Evening service at Aurora Evangelical Free Church, Aurora, NE
July 11 - Midweek service with the youth at Heartland Evangelical Free Church, Central City, NE
July 15 - Morning service at Hastings Evangelical Free Church, Hastings NE
July 17 - Midweek service at Faith Community Church, Aurora, NE
July 18 - Midweek service at True North Church, Grand Island NE
July 22 - Morning service at Monroe Evangelical Free Church, Phillips, NE
Evening service at Pleasant View Bible Church, Aurora, NE
July 29 - Community Church, Fontanelle, NE
As always, there will be more events added on. Check the website for new additions!
One of our biggest events is the Parliament of World Religions. Every 3-5 years almost all the world’s religions get together for 8-10 days. This year it is in Toronto, Canada from Nov 1-8. For us it is a “target rich environment”.
Everywhere you turn is a whole other religion- in other words ten thousand people there who need Jesus! Pray
We thank the Lord for the gracious giving that He has given us through so many of you. We thank yall for your continued prayers and support. Please continue to pray and seek the Lord’s will concerning giving to the ministry of Haven. Lots of amazing ministry opportunities are in front of us! We hope to have more impact as we are enabled through the prayers and support of our Haven folks!
1) We continue to thank the Lord for His goodness. Terri is still hurting physically and so I ask that you hold her up in prayer. Terri is in pain every day with several issues so pray lots more please! Scott and Savanna and Conrad are doing so well! Shawn and Kelly, Tegan, Apple are enjoying life on the left coast even though the fires there caused a lot of breathing issues! Andy is still happy going to his day program. He is looking forward to spending time in Nebraska this summer and of course next fall for a game! Gabe, Shaina and
Kaylee are doing well and Gabe is almost done with the academy for the Aurora Fire Department. Thanks for your prayers concerning the job! Joey is on his own at a different house and is working. Pray that he will find his hope and purpose in the Lord. Rose, Austin, CeCe and Bella are doing well and Austin is still in school to get an IT job Johanna, Kevin and Kirra are doing well and they are going to church with us sometimes so that is a good thing. Please continue to pray that she comes back to her faith as well – she seems closer! Jon has moved to Florida for the moment – He is far from the Lord and far from us! Pray for all our kids to honor the Lord with all that they have!
My mom went to church with Terri who was visiting down in Houston two weeks ago. We are excited for that. It was even her suggestion!!! My dad and stepmom are not doing so well physically or otherwise.
Thanks so much for praying for this situation. Pray for my brothers and their families that they would all know and follow the Lord. Pray for my sis too! Pray for many in my family who need the Lord!
2) Please pray for some friends and co-workers who have serious health issues. Pray for many who have pressing chronic issues such as Sherri C, Rose R, Liz H, Sheila H, Joanna V, Charlene E, Jason G, Zach M, Duane E, Noah G, Tracie P, Pepper W, and others. Please continue to pray for Doug and Rebecca Groothuis. Pray for dear friends and mentors Jim and Ossie who have had a terrible struggle with their adult daughter and her extreme health problems. Pray our Father shows mercy! Pray for the daughter of a pastor/friend of ours – her name is Amber and she just had a terrible stroke! There are many others of you who are in this audience who have major health issues – We pray our Father shows mercy in all these things. Pray for our dearest friend Susan who has some frustrating health conditions and lost her husband this past year!
3) Pray for the miracle of repentance and reconciliation in the marriages or now ex-marriages of Debra, Mike, Cheryl, Leon, Glen, Susan, Janelle, and way too many others.
4) Terri and I were in Clearwater Florida and we walked into the International headquarters of the Scientology cult! We had a great conversation with a lady named Amber. We talked for almost two hours and she didn’t scream at us! (If you have ever contradicted any of them in any way you know what I mean!) Pray for the salvation of the Muslims, Gnostics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus, Buddhists, and many others. Please pray for all the people that we have witnessed to over the years, whom can be referenced in the past Haven Newsletters. Please pray for Michael and Miguel, both of whom are Urantia readers. Continue to pray for my atheist student Ben whom I have met with twice. Some really good things going on there I think. Pray for two Mormon missionaries who were coming to our house for over a month. Elders Curtis and Blackham (I really hate to call teenagers Elders!) Elder Blackham’s brother killed himself back in Utah right before our fifth meeting. Very sad. I sent a card to the family, who live very close to where we go each summer in Manti for the Mormon pageant. I am hoping we can meet with them. He said his dad would “love” to talk to me!!! We will see - pray lots please!
5) Pray for the Haven staff. Pray for their support raising efforts. Pray for their ministry and for all of us as we go to different events. Pray for the Lord’s grace and mercy to mark everything we do. The staff continues to grow with new associates and interns. Pray especially for one of our staff - Rose – who has some difficult health concerns. Pray for her husband Mark and all the family please. The staff is up to 19 with new staff and another new intern! So we thank the Lord for the fellow workers and we all thank you for your prayers!
6) Please pray for our many friends and their children who are serving with our military. The reality of militant Islam is that we are now in what many think is another chapter of a very old war. This sadly is getting much worse lately. Hardly a day goes by without Muslims killing innocents somewhere in the world. Pray for soldiers like Miguel, Matt, Josh, Nick. Heath and Will. Pray for the Marines like our nephew Eddie and Matt. We thank the Lord for all of them and so many others who serve us. Pray for soldiers like Chung and Gabe.
Haven Ministries, 24563 E Crestridge Place Aurora, C 80016 | 303-766-3527 | www.havenministry.com