March Update - 2019
Welcome to the third of my Romans 15:8 monthly blogs for 2019. If you are one of the three leaders who have joined the Romans 15:8 network last month (Feb) may I thank-you for doing so. It is so important to build up a “high profile public community of like-minded Church leaders” who will stand for God’s ongoing purposes for Israel and the ongoing call to share the Gospel with Jewish people. I am planning to have all names of those signed up to the network listed on this site so we can hopefully make contact with those we know, and possibly arrange to meet up occasionally for prayer and fellowship.
If you are reading this and have not yet signed up to the network, please do so. Equally, if you have joined could you please encourage one or two other colleagues to do so over the next few months? It is very simple to sign up online. The Romans 15:8 network is growing, and it offers a unique opportunity for leaders to stand together as a sign to the Church and the wider communities in which we serve.
Teaching reflection of the month
I was not familiar with the text known as the Gospel of Peter. However this month I read the article The Gospel of Peter as a Jewish Christian Document by Joel Marcus. This was published in the most recent New Testament Studies Journal (quarterly) - volume 64.
The key points which I found helpful to reflect upon were to see the link between this text and the Apocalypse of Peter which was written primarily for Jewish Believers in Jesus during the Bar Kochba revolt. In this text, the author remains loyal to the national hope of the Jewish People, and looks to the restoration of Israel as a nation, alongside a future based upon a large scale and significant turning of Jewish People to faith in Jesus as Messiah and LORD.
For all of us, as we engage with the on-going world of Jewish–Christian relations, it is very important to reflect on the Jewish contours of the early Church and how this informs and shapes our understanding of the “parting of the ways” between the Church / Messianic Judaism and Rabbinic Judaism.
Ministry news update
The past few weeks I have been involved with getting my new CMJ book 100 Days with Acts published and distributed. I have also edited the next News and Views magazine which should be sent out to all CMJ members and new supporters on March 20th. Alongside this, I chaired the CMJ staff day which included giving the monthly staff and public lecture. The subject for this was- “How to read the Bible for all it’s worth”. You will soon be able to listen to this and other lectures on this website.
I have enjoyed reading the book - Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as eyewitness testimony by Richard Bauckham (Eerdmans, 2017). This is a key book in understanding the processes linked to the gospels being written and circulated; it also “builds confidence” regarding the authenticity and authority of the texts. I also think many readers will find the emphasis on the three women who are linked to the cross and the empty tomb, along with Simon of Cyrene, to be helpful especially as we reflect and preach during Holy Week.
An interesting viewpoint
I have been reading the recent obituaries of Church colleagues and while I realise that this is not perhaps the most popular reading list for many people I have often found these to be celebratory and inspiring. As a strange aside, as I was reading I came across this definition of ministry - “Ministry is the wonderful vocation provided by the good LORD for displayed Christian intellectuals who are generally useless at proper work.” While I am sure all members of the Romans 15:8 would reject such a definition, nevertheless it did bring a smile, and maybe it has a glimmer of truth!
Monthly Memory Verse
“To him, the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice. The shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
(John 10:3 – Messianic Jewish Family Bible).
Posted on 21 March 2019.