#0084 Jesus called to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
Scripture relevant to today’s posting…
Jesus appears again to the disciples
21 Later, Jesus himself appeared again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how it happened: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.”
They said, “We’ll go with you.” They set out in a boat, but throughout the night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus.
5 Jesus called to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
6 He said, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”
So they did, and there were so many fish that they couldn’t haul in the net. 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself (for he was naked) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they weren’t far from shore, only about one hundred yards.
9 When they landed, they saw a fire there, with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you’ve just caught.” 11 Simon Peter got up and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three of them. Yet the net hadn’t torn, even with so many fish.
John 21: 1-11 (Common English Bible)
Today’s posting is part III of an excerpt from the book I am currently working on. This article looks at the difference between an hierarchy-based community and a community which is NOT hierarchy-based; this type of community would utilize concepts and principals of egalitarianism. The reason I wanted to talk about this is because, although Jesus’s message was filled with elements of the egalitarian principal, the Church continues to operate within the well-worn hierarchical structure, embracing and pushing its principles. Theoretically and practically speaking these two concepts are in no small way polar opposites. So at the end of the day, the message of hierarchy runs against the grain of the message of egalitarianism—in other words the Church is poised to and does operate in opposition to the “big picture” message of Jesus.
Hierarchy v. egalitarian-based communities
Egalitarianism (from French égal, meaning “equal”)—or, rarely, equalitarianismor equalism—is a trend of thought that favors equality for all people. Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all humans are equal in fundamental worth or social status, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term has two distinct definitions in modern English: either as a political doctrine that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights; or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people, economic egalitarianism, or the decentralization of power. Some sources define egalitarianism as the point of view that equality reflects the natural state of humanity
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Egalitarianism)
(Continued from Sunday 4-17-16)
So the lingering question for us should be: “If the egalitarian concept originates from the Holy Ghost; what happened to effectively move communities of believers away from the egalitarian concept and onto the hierarchical one in evidence today? I want to look at two extremely compelling influences which caused the Apostles of Jesus to shrug off the egalitarian model in favor of hierarchy.
- The first compelling influence we’ve already talked about; it was the Mosaic Law. Remember we said that in Jesus’s day all believers were Jewish. Because of this fact the cultural influence put upon them by the Mosaic Law was so extreme as to be impossible to escape. Jesus taught the people new perspectives about how to think about God and how to focus on the spirit rather than the letter of the Law. While He was with them they were able to see things more from His vantage point and to follow His lead in this. But after His departure; it fell to them to keep the momentum going in the matter of this new perspective. Even while Jesus was with them they continued to move within the religious arenas where they were constantly butting heads with the realities of the culture, the Law and those who were the official representatives of the Law—the Pharisees. The Law and the Pharisees were both designed to operate within a structural hierarchy. While Jesus was with them, the Pharisees were unable to understand His fundamental Kingdom message because they saw Him as someone competing for their authority over the Law—that was never what Jesus was about; but it’s the way they interpreted Him and His movement. In the end it got Him crucified.
- The next influence in many ways was born out of the first but at the same time it can be seen as emerging from the early struggles within the Church as it tried to establish itself as an entity. Remember that once Jesus left the earth the job of continuing what He had started fell to these early disciples. To this end they felt their very first priority was to get themselves organized in both what they believed about Jesus (who He was and what He wanted them to do to fill His shoes) and once they came to consensus about this; to get their story out in a profound and convincing way. As we read in the Pentecost account the Holy Ghost was way out in front of them beating the bushes for new people who were ready to hear what the disciples had to say about Jesus. It kind of reminds us of the account that followed Jesus’s resurrection when some of them were out in their boat fishing and not having much luck. Along comes Jesus and calls out to them from the shore and tells them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. He was evidently far enough away from them so they couldn’t make out his features and when they did as He suggested, their nets were filled to the point of busting with fish. It was at this point that Peter got the spiritual gist of what was happening; who the guy with the good advice actually was and with his heart filled to the point of bursting with joy, he dove over the side of the boat and swam into shore to be with his master and his friend—Jesus. Pentecost was the same sort of deal for them.
If you have a question or thought about this or other postings please feel free to send them in. Thanks for reading.
TBC: Sunday, April 24, 2016