Sunday, December 7, 2008

Infiltrators (Petrus'un ikinci mektubu 2)

Ama İsrail halkı arasında sahte peygamberler vardı, tıpkı sizin de aranızda yanlış öğreti yayanlar olacağı gibi.
(This is actually Sunday morning, so this will be a brief Saturday post!)

Even as the people of Israel had false prophets in their midst, even so among you those who spread lying teachings will come.

Peter was warning his people against infiltrators from the dead order. People who would show up at the church suppers with an agenda of their own. Peter had good reasons for worrying about this issue, since he had himself once been part of the party of party-crashers and party poopers.[1] Paul wrote the Galatians,
But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came frm James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but whenthey were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. (Gal. 2:11, 12)
A snake can continue writhing after its head is crushed. The apostate social order of first-century Israel had repudiated and crucified God's ambassador and messenger. It was on life support, enjoying one final generation of existence before the hammer fell. The Jewish culture and customs even had power to warp the behavior of people who should have known better. God used Peter to bring the gospel to the Gentiles (see Acts 9 and 10) for the first time, using a vision of non-kosher food. Yet, when people deeply embued in Jewish culture showed up in the rowdy, ambitious, and godly church at Antioch, Peter suddenly remembered his roots and forgot his calling.

Even Peter, this major figure of the Gospels, who is viewed by Catholics as the first pope, could be led astray by social pressures. It's no wonder so many Jews turned their backs on Jesus towards the end of Israel's history, as those cultural pressure intensified.

Having been brought to his sense by Paul's rebuke, Peter apparently learned his lesson, as was sensitized to how easily corruptible we all are, apart from the grace of God. Especially when confident and charismatic corrupters sit down at table with us.

[1] ancient slang -- refers to someone who "brings down"[2] a happy event.
[2] more ancient slang -- means "demoralizes" to those of us of a certain age!

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