Episode 003 – When Jesus Changed Religion Forever
Across the history of human religion we see the same structure over and over. In order to access God, or become enlightened, or get a blessing you have to go to that certain special spiritual place at the certain special time and there the special spiritual people will help you offer your sacrifice, or offering, or gift — and maybe then you’ll find what you need. The benefit of that system is that it is abundantly clear and concrete. But in a conversation with a Samaritan woman Jesus upended this structure forever.
Show notes will not be a transcript. At least not now. You’ll find a few key bullet points, any scriptures references, as well as any other books or resources referenced.
- Much of religion is marked by special spiritual places staffed by special spiritual gatekeepers who have the power to keep you from getting what you need. This model of religion was clear and concrete. But what if you didn’t live near the special place? What if you couldn’t afford the sacrifice? What if the gatekeepers excluded you?
- Jesus challenged this idea in a conversation with the Samaritan Woman. (See John 4:1-26)
- She deflected the conversation with a theological controversy. “Which temple should we worship in?” How should we seek God?
- John 4:21-24 “Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
- God is Spirit, which means God isn’t locked in anyone’s temple. All of the world is God’s temple! That means we can find God anywhere.
- The Apostle Paul told the philosophers something similar.
- Acts 17:28 “For in Him we live and move and exist…”
- This means God is present in every moment of our day.
- God is with us in this one present moment.
- Greg Boyd – “To forget that God is present in any given moment is to forget the most important aspect of that moment.” (Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now. p. 15)