Friday, October 1, 2010

Acts 23 -- mob psychology

Jesus said, "The time will come when those who kill you will think they are doing God a service." This chapter includes a cameo appearance from the Lord Jesus Christ, and an example of insane fanaticism:
Act 23:11 O gece Rab Pavlus'a görünüp, "Cesur ol" dedi, "Yeruşalim'de benimle ilgili nasıl tanıklık ettinse, Roma'da da öyle tanıklık etmen gerekir."
Act 23:12 Ertesi sabah Yahudiler aralarında gizli bir anlaşma yaptılar. "Pavlus'u öldürmeden bir şey yiyip içersek, bize lanet olsun!" diye ant içtiler.
Act 23:13 Bu anlaşmaya katılanların sayısı kırkı aşıyordu.
Act 23:14 Bunlar başkâhinlerle ileri gelenlerin yanına gidip şöyle dediler: "Biz, 'Pavlus'u öldürmeden ağzımıza bir şey koyarsak, bize lanet olsun!' diye ant içtik.
A few key words:
  • O gece -- That night
  • "Cesur ol" -- Brave, courageous / be (imperative)
  • bir şey -- any thing
  • yiyip içersek -- eat or drink if we
  • bize lanet olsun! -- upon us / a curse / be!
  • ant -- covenant
There's an old cliche: to estimate the intelligence of a mob, divide the average I.Q. by the number of members. Can you see a solitary person talking himself into this extreme commitment? Evidently, something about Paul's message threatened them on a very deep level. Imagine investing your whole life in building, adorning, and defending the scaffolding around a magnificent building. Then along comes this guy who says, "OK, this construction project is over. The scaffolding can come down." The Jewish culture, which Paul simply refused to view as normative, as essential, defined the lives of these maddened plotters. Even as the Jesus who called Paul on the road to Damascus, and encouraged him by night here, defined his life.

Quite often, when people around the world resist the Good News that a great King reigns, what they are resisting is the American culture that defines the lives even of Christian people in this country: a culture characterized by hedonism, easy tolerance of immorality, and a glib superficiality before ultimate mysteries. Even "family-values" Christians are mostly silent on the issue of divorce, for example.

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