*L* It seems that the people planning our worship service today, checked the weather and chose songs and scripture to go with the storms! :D The song was How Great Thou Art, and when we came to the part that said "I hear the rolling thunder…" people were looking at each other with big smiles. Before that, the scripture being read right during the thunder was about the "Voice coming out of the cloud" (that said "This is my Beloved Son," etc.) However, after the scripture reading, and thunder and rain pouring down outside, Rob was not to be distracted from his message, continuing on without saying a thing about it… even when there was such a loud "clap" that he visibly jumped, then smiled–and just continued on without a word about it! :D
Just like I’m going to "continue on" right here, even though I’m being distracted by all the noisy conversation. After all, the people in this house are so often each in their own computer-world, how can you stop them when they do take some time to talk to each other. But I must get this series done (hence, sermon notes will be saved aside for another time), because of my increasing uneasiness about livejournal not being available when we want it to be. Wonder how many others are feeling that way, after all those recent attacks?
So hopefully this won’t be too jumbly for you.
‘Exhibit 4′ of our circumstantial evidence for the Resurrection of Christ, is "Communion and Baptism". While it’s natural that religions create their own rituals and practises, why would Jesus’ followers get together regularly to celebrate that he had been "publicly slaughtered in a grotesque and humiliating way." (Actually, this really goes with something Rob was talking about today–how people want to think more about things like God’s power, rather than dwelling on his humiliating death…)
"Think about this in modern terms. If a group of people loved
John F. Kennedy, they might meet regularly to remember his
confrontation with Russia, his promotion of civil rights, and
his charismatic personality. But they’re not going to celebrate
the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald murdered him!
…They celebrated [Jesus’] execution because they were convinced that
they had seen him alive from the tomb."
As for baptism, it was something the Jews did when someone was converted to Judaism; but the Christians began baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, elevating Jesus to the place of God. They described it as being symbolic of Jesus’ death (going under the water) and resurrection (being raised out of the water).
Strobel wonders if these practises weren’t merely adapted from other, "mystery religions".
"First, there’s no hard
evidence that any mystery religion believed in gods dying and
rising, until after the New Testament period. So if there was any
borrowing, they borrowed from Christianity.
"Second, the practice of baptism came from Jewish customs, and
the Jews were very much against allowing Gentile or Greek ideas
to affect their worship. And third, these two sacraments can be
dated back to the very earliest Christian community–too early for
the influence of any other religions to creep into their
understanding of what Jesus’ death meant."