Episode 17

April 08, 2024


B217 Easter 3

B217 Easter 3
By the Well
B217 Easter 3

Apr 08 2024 | 00:34:43


Show Notes

Sean and Robyn discuss resurrection, witness, and atonement in Luke 24:36-48, Acts 3:12-19 (21), and 1 John 3:1-7.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:05] Speaker A: You're listening to by the well, a lectionary based podcast of preachers recorded on the land of the Wurundjeri people. Hello, everyone. I'm Robyn Whittaker. [00:00:19] Speaker B: And I'm Sean Winter. [00:00:21] Speaker A: Welcome back, Sean. [00:00:22] Speaker B: Thank you. I've been away for a while on some research and long service leave, so it's good to be back at the Centre for Theology and Ministry here, back at college and back at by the well. Thanks, Robin. [00:00:33] Speaker A: No. Good to have you back. Just in time for some good, fun, solid Easter reflection readings. [00:00:39] Speaker B: Right. Some intensive New Testament reflection as well. The lectionary kind of does New Testament focus for a little while. [00:00:45] Speaker A: Yeah. So we're in the third week of Easter here, and rightly or wrongly, I have my problems with it, but the lectionary tends to replace the Old Testament reading with an acts reading, so it is a great time to do a series preaching from acts, if that's not something you often do. We also have a bit of a thread of the first John Epistle reading, and we're going to be discussing today all three of those New Testament things. So starting with Luke 24 36 48, and then we'll go to acts, chapter 312 19. And finally one John three, one to seven. So let's start with the end of Luke. [00:01:23] Speaker B: With the end of Luke, yeah, Luke 24. And perhaps the less famous part of Luke 24, in that this is the episode that follows on from the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, which, of course, is one of the best known Easter appearance stories. A bit of a master class, if that's the right word, in Luke and storytelling. It's an incredibly carefully constructed and thoughtful piece of storytelling, but it does lead not just to the encounter of Jesus, between Jesus and these two disciples, but then Jesus and the discipleship community more broadly. And that's where we get to at verse 36, Jesus appears to the disciples in ways that will seem familiar to people, particularly if they've read the gospel of John. So there are some really interesting parallels here between what's happening in Luke and what's happening in John's account of the resurrection appearances and Thomas and other things, which was the theme of last week's. [00:02:24] Speaker A: Exactly. Yeah. So the Jesus sort of almost appearing, standing amongst them without any explanation of how he got there. The peace be with you greeting. This might feel like very familiar territory, although I think Luke is combating a different set of issues, at least in my reading. Yes, we have the fear. They're startled, they're terrified, there's confusion. I do think Luke is, as you say, a masterful storyteller? Towards the end, we get their joy, but still disbelieving. And that's a very human like. We're kind of struck by wonder, but also not quite sure. But they think they're seeing a ghost or a spirit, a pneuma. And so two of the signs we get is an invitation to touch the scars, and then Jesus will eat the fish. And I think Luke here, you know, this is very much framed as a combating, that this is not some superstitious spirit, this is a real resurrection. [00:03:18] Speaker B: So there's a sense in which Luke is very keen, I think, to understand that the resurrection isn't just a vision, there's a concrete reality to it, however we want to think about it or to describe it. The language of resurrection appearances is often framed in visual terms. People saw Jesus appeared, but these other details are ways of saying that what you see has a reality to it beyond simply the subjective construction of your own imagination. So I think Luke is very keen to do that. And I think just in terms of what happens, in my view, the gospel of John knows the Gospel of Luke, and what we get with the scene with doubting Thomas and touch my hands and everything else, all of that is actually probably an outworking and an extended reflection drawing on this kind of a story. But, as you say, directed to other means. So Luke is very keen to say, I think, above and beyond anything else. The most important thing to know about the resurrected Jesus is that he's not a figment of your imagination. This resurrection is real, whatever that might mean. [00:04:25] Speaker A: Yes, it's real. It's physical. There's continuity with the historical Jesus. [00:04:31] Speaker B: That's right. This is the only time. Luke is very fond of meal scenes and the theme of eating and feasting. This is the only time when he actually says that Jesus eats anything, even though Jesus is at dinner tables an. [00:04:44] Speaker A: Awful lot all the way through. Yes. No, that's right. So he's going out of his way to say he took it and he ate it. In their presence, they witnessed Jesus physically eating something. This is not an apparition or a group hallucination. Do you have a sense? Well, there's lots of questions we could ask about this. I'm interested to sort of get to the end of the passage. I don't know if you want to. I don't want to jump ahead too quickly. [00:05:08] Speaker B: Can I talk about the beginning just for a minute? Partly because I think the lectionary says that you should begin the reading at verse 36 B. [00:05:16] Speaker A: Yes. [00:05:17] Speaker B: Which is nonsense. It's a half utter, utter nonsense. It's a half sentence. Verse 36 begins with. While they were talking about this, it's a genitive absolute. So it's very clearly designed to unpack what's just been happening. And what you have is this idea that Jesus interrupts the way that the discernment of his resurrection has already been taking place and is being discussed. In other words, you can't have Jesus raised from the dead. You see him and then you all go off and work out what it means. There's this constant need for Jesus to come and to be present within the community and in that presence to demonstrate the reality of his risen life. But also, as we'll see, I think to then unpack the scriptures in a way that interprets it. So it's really important, I think, that we recognize that what Luke is saying here is that whenever the community of disciples gathers this need for the risen Christ later, after Pentecost, to become the endowment or the presence of the spirit, to be present in the midst of that discipleship community. [00:06:27] Speaker A: Yes. And that just like in the previous story where Jesus is conversing with these two people who don't recognize him, Jesus himself becomes the interpreter of what's going on. And, yeah, that's a really helpful reminder. [00:06:40] Speaker B: And then goes away a while to leave you to work it out, but then comes back. But then comes back. That's right. [00:06:45] Speaker A: Exactly. Exactly. So, yeah, there is that sense of Jesus coming back, and I mean the bit. So one of our questions, and this is a, we're not leaving Luke just yet, but we started saying, if you want to ask us questions, and some of you have already written in lots of fabulous questions, but this is one from Paul that I think relates to what's going on. And we're going to pick this up in a few of our passages today, Paul has written, I'd love to hear some exploration of Jesus death, exploring divine necessity versus human inevitability. That's one part of it. What's the saving or liberating part, and then what language is problematic and why and where does it come from? So a whole cluster of questions there really around atonement. We probably can't do them all justice, Paul. But that came to mind for me, because here we have Jesus himself giving an explanation in the third person. The messiah is to suffer, to rise from the dead. And the explanation is so that repentance and forgiveness is proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. So we get this, so that there's a purpose, there's a liberative purpose. And we should note that forgiveness is bigger than just like forgiveness is related to this language of liberation, of freeing. [00:07:57] Speaker B: That's right. And in the acts reading, I think, is it here or next week? It's next week, actually. Luke uses the language of salvation very often to talk about this. And salvation for Luke is really quite a broad term that indicates deliverance from whatever it is that opposes God's purposes in the world and that you may be afflicted by, whether it be sickness or poverty or material deprivation of some sort, as well as, of course, your embeddedness in those powers that lead us to sin and to participate in all that rebels against God's purposes. I think it's a really good question about what's this relationship between human and divine agency when we talk about the death of Jesus. I think the most important thing to say is that we see it in this passage and in all other passages. What historically is quite clearly an act that is done to Jesus is only ever kind of unpacked as something that had to take place or needed to take place, or that was part of the divine plan in retrospect. So I know that there are sayings of Jesus that look forward to it. The son of man must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things. But my best guess is even those are retrospective insertions of post Easter perspectives. And the basic point is the cross itself doesn't raise salvation questions as a historical fact. The cross is a complete tragedy, a state execution in which Jesus is a victim. [00:09:40] Speaker A: Yep. [00:09:42] Speaker B: The only way it becomes something more than that is in the light of what happens afterwards. So it's the resurrection that then forces the question, well, if God has raised Jesus from the dead, then what the hell was the death all about? [00:09:55] Speaker A: Yeah. Why was he special that he got raised? [00:09:57] Speaker B: That's right. Exactly. And that then becomes the source of, you know, the many lines of retrospective interpretation of the significance, the saving significance of Jesus death. And that's what we see starting very early. We'll see it in those early speeches, in the acts of the apostles. It's there in the letters of Paul. And the gospel writers do it in their own kind of very different and diverse ways. There's no one model for it. And here we have the language, for example, of forgiveness of sins, which is a standard cultic, ritual, sacrificial way of thinking about the relationship between death and life. [00:10:35] Speaker A: Yeah. Although for Luke, I would say that forgiveness of sins is always tied to something bigger you know, this is the gospel that started with, you know, Mary's magnificat song about, you know, the humble being lifted up. This is about liberation of the captives. It has this broader communal impact. And, you know, Luke is also the gospel where when Jesus is on the cross, he's declaring, you know, forgiveness and is declared to be an innocent man, like a victim of it. So I agree entirely with what you've said, and I think we see that emphasis very much in Luke in particular, and the combination today we have of a reading from Luke and acts, same author, where the emphasis is very much on the resurrection is the thing that's made the difference. That's right. So it's not. I think this comes in later theology, but I don't think we get in the New Testament, a kind of God needed Jesus to die, because the point is the death. [00:11:29] Speaker B: Yeah, that's right. [00:11:30] Speaker A: That's not there by itself. It's all about what the resurrection has. [00:11:33] Speaker B: Died or God sent Jesus to die for our sins. I mean, you can end up saying that, but you can only end up saying that after the resurrection has taken place, which requires you to then have some explanation for why crucifixion happened in the first place. [00:11:49] Speaker A: There are two other things I just want to note here before we move on in this verse 47, the repentance and forgiveness, which can sound like a very classic traditional association with the death and resurrection of Jesus. Firstly, it's proclaimed in his name. We're assuming that his is Jesus name or the Messiah has been referred. We're going to see this everywhere in acts in a moment. So this power that is in the name becomes a very kind of lucan thing to all nations. So this is expansive. So it immediately takes us beyond that sort of what can be in its worst form, classic evangelical view, that Jesus died for my sins and it's all about me and my personal inner, you know, spirituality. This is always for the nations. It's already got this huge communal aspect to it. It's never only. It might be personal, but it's never only individual. [00:12:43] Speaker B: Absolutely. And we'll see it again in acts where at one level the focus is on the question of how Jesus death relates to Israel, but then it expands out to every nation under earth. This is an act that relates to the whole of God's creation in some way or another. I think that's exactly right. And I think it's important to say that. I mean, very clearly, Luke here is anticipating both the structure of acts, the beginning from Jerusalem idea, some of the main theological ideas of acts, the notion that you shall be my witnesses. So in kind of summary form here, you get an anticipation of the story of the church as the story of the church unfolds in Luke's second volume. [00:13:26] Speaker A: And I think we're going to move on to acts now. But I think often in church we read the other readings first and we end with the gospel. I would want to make the case, if you're going to read Luke and acts this week, read them in that order, because this verse ends with, you are witnesses of these things. And when we get to acts, that's exactly what the apostles are doing. They're witnessing to these things. We're going to see that in fleshed out. So acts 312 to 19, although I would immediately want to add some verses to. [00:13:57] Speaker B: You have to read verse eleven to have context. It's just. Yeah. Anyway, that's fun. [00:14:01] Speaker A: Yeah. Yeah. And even verse 19 is halfway through a greek sentence. So, you know, just start at verse eleven, people, and go to about verse 21. So the context here Peter and John have. So they're in and around Jerusalem. It might be helpful to say something about what are the acts of the apostles? We have lots of acts in the ancient world that aren't canonical. We have acts of John and Andrew and Paul and Thecla. And these are kind of almost legend stories is how I think of them. How do you think of them, Sean? And they sound historical, but they're not history in the way we think of it. [00:14:36] Speaker B: Well, the first thing to say is that it's Luke's second volume. So whatever you think acts is about, you need to have it. You need to be able to describe it in a way that has continuity with what you think the gospel is about. And the gospel, as are all gospels, has the form of some kind of recognizable life, a bios in Greek. So a narrative that has a beginning, middle and end in relation to the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the acts of the apostles quite clearly represent some kind of historical narrative in that very broad and very ancient sense. [00:15:13] Speaker A: So there's historical events, there are events. [00:15:17] Speaker B: Described, there are historical traditions being drawn on. Huge amounts of debate about where Luke got these stories from, was he a participant in any of them, etc. Etcetera. The title acts of the apostles, though, draws attention to the fact that what is at stake here is not the individual lives of the apostles, but the way in which what they do, Peter, and then particularly, of course, Paul, exercises this role of witness which you talked about earlier on in relation to the Gospel of Luke. So, and then, of course, there's this really important point to note that even though everywhere there are apostles speaking and acting, Luke's point is that within that speaking and acting, there is always God speaking and acting. So some people often don't. It should be called the acts of God rather than the acts of the apostles, because it's God's plan that is being worked out through these particular episodes, some of which seem more historically plausible than others, but all of which have accrued, I think, some kind of, you know, legendary elements in the telling of them. And, you know, the more I go on, the more I'm pretty happy to locate the acts of the apostles into the early second century. And therefore, you know, you've got plenty of time for those stories to have developed. [00:16:34] Speaker A: Yeah. And that's also when we start to see a number of these other acts, stories written that kind of embellish. It's really about how these apostles went on to enact, to embody the mission and witness of Jesus. And we see that at the beginning of chapter three, which isn't in our passage, but is part of the setup where Peter and John are in and around the temple. There's a man who's described as lame from birth, who's been carried around. And we're getting here almost a parallel to Jesus healing of the paralytic, a man being carried by his friends. He's placed at the gate where he begs. And Peter says, well, we can't give you any money, but we can pay, give you something a lot better than that, which is to heal him in the name of Jesus Christ. So here's that name, Jesus Christ name almost has. I'll talk more about this next week, perhaps, but because it appears everywhere in these next couple of chapters, but almost has this magical. It's the power is in the name of the healing. [00:17:28] Speaker B: That's right. It's a story that leads to the earliest joke I ever learned in church youth group, which is this is someone who asked for arms and got legs. That's terrible. It is terrible. Absolutely. So, yeah. So the miracle happens in a way that does represent or match onto some of the things that Jesus does in the gospel. But then typical of the acts of the apostles is this notion of a set piece speech that builds on and interprets and expands and develops what happens in the act or whatever takes place. So one of the things about Luke is when we have a record of one of the apostles giving a speech of some sort, I don't think we're anywhere close to what Peter would have said. But what we know about history and speech writing in antiquity tells us that what the author did was say, well, what kind of thing should the apostle have said? Might they have said in that context? And I'll kind of write that out. [00:18:24] Speaker A: Yes. [00:18:24] Speaker B: So this is why it has a fairly stylized form. There are kind of sections that look almost credal, that recite the story of Jesus in a fairly episodic way. And actually, if you compare many of the speeches in acts, there are all sorts of similarities between the things that different apostles say at different times. [00:18:40] Speaker A: Yeah, the form of them. And because they're literary creations written down with reflection and shaping, we're getting some cross references that are quite important. And one of them here is the way that Peter refers to God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So this trio is unusual to get all three. And for attentive hearers, it takes us back to Exodus three, where Moses, the great prophet, also encounters God in that burning bush and asks God for God's name. So we've got this play on name going on, and God's reply is, I'm the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. So we get the same three names. And then basically in that story, God refuses to give a name. God says, I am, and you'll know me because I'm with you. And these are the things I've done and I've been with your people here. God does have a name, or Jesus has a name. And there's a sense that the name then stands in for the absence of Jesus. So there's a whole lot of evoking of prophetic traditions of the name being associated with the power, which is why jews don't use the precious name of God. [00:19:49] Speaker B: That's right. So it's really interesting idea that the divine power that is inherent in the divine name within jewish traditions means that the name is not pronounced, whereas here the name is very clearly declared and pronounced. And, I mean, that's a theologically, that's really interesting. I think it connects with ideas of what we think is happening christologically here and how Luke understands Jesus in relationship to Israel's God. I think that's one really important question. But also, I mean, preservation of an idea that I think would have had some purchase in Luke's kind of more pagan environment. The notion that the use of that onomastic power, the use of a name in kind of magical formulae or curses or blessings, all those other things, has a kind of religious point of contact I think with the border. Greco roman world, for which Luke writes. [00:20:43] Speaker A: Yeah. With that, hellenistic. So if you go through the greek magical papyri, you can see examples of this where the sort of incantation calls on the name of a deity or the name of. You know, and there's. So there's power in a name. And we're going to see. This is a bit of an issue in Luke acts, because the author's also very judgmental about magic. But I think it's because the power source is different, not the mode. Right. You know, because the apostles here are calling on the name of Jesus, and it's in that name in verse 16, that through faithfulness, this man has been given perfect health. So the name of Jesus has the power to restore someone to wholeness is literally the greek language. [00:21:20] Speaker B: But then there's verse 16, which I looked up, CK Barrett just calls unbearably clumsy. Yes, it is. So it's just a really odd verse. So, yes, it's the name, but then Luke seems to want to say it's faith in the name. That is effective. [00:21:36] Speaker A: Yeah, I know. [00:21:37] Speaker B: So maybe Luke is kind of drawing on these magical traditions, but then criticizing them at the same time or something. And there's a really interesting dimension here. But clearly it's not just the name, it's not just the declaration of the name, but there needs to be some kind of response, some kind of trust. [00:21:55] Speaker A: That the name will do something. [00:21:56] Speaker B: Allegiance or commitment to the effective power of the name of this deity over against any others, for example. [00:22:06] Speaker A: The other thing I think it's worth noting about this passage is in the retelling of what's happened. They're preaching the resurrection, and they'll be criticized for that as they go on in this chapter and the next. You know, this God they talk about, they associate with Jesus. And we do get this narrative that can sound deeply problematic to modern ears, where he's talking to Israelites and he's saying, who you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, even though he wanted to release him, you rejected this one that God sent. So obviously, we have to be really careful with the way we retell the story. But it goes a bit to Paul's question about divine versus human necessity. In the retelling here, it is not that God sent Jesus as a blood sacrifice, it's that Jesus came and you didn't like what he did and you killed him. [00:22:58] Speaker B: That's right. [00:22:58] Speaker A: It's a very human transaction. [00:23:01] Speaker B: That's right. [00:23:01] Speaker A: We might want to say it's more complicated, and we should be very careful about blaming jews for that. But that's. [00:23:06] Speaker B: Yeah, so I think that. And to the extent that Jesus was crucified by some kind of human agency and human authority, that just simply reflects the historical reality of what happened. But even Luke then kind of pulls it back in verse 17 because he says, I know that you acted in ignorance. [00:23:25] Speaker A: Yeah, I know. [00:23:26] Speaker B: Peter said in your rulers. [00:23:28] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:23:29] Speaker B: So there's this culpability and this kind of ignorance because it was working out according to a divine. You didn't know what you were doing because it was working out according to this divine plan. I think that it's undoubtedly the case that Luke's particular version of jewish responsibility for the death of Jesus is received through the history of reception of kind of christian anti Semitism in a way that's deeply problematic and that we need to be very, very sensitive about handling pronouns are really important here. So in verse 13, you have Peter saying, the God of our ancestors, and then in verse 14, but you rejected that. So who's the we and who's the you here, there's this identification with Israel, a recognition that at this point, we don't have a. We don't have a christian religion. We simply have a movement within Judaism, Jesus followers. [00:24:27] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:24:27] Speaker B: But nonetheless, this process of identification and the polemic that accompanies self identification and the formation of social identity is playing itself out in these texts. And certainly, if you talk about by the end of the first century, the intensity of that process of identity formation is pretty high, particularly in relationship to post first jewish war Judaism in the period after 70 CE. [00:24:56] Speaker A: Yeah, that's right. Before we move on, the other thing I'd say about this is where, following up from that, you acted in ignorance. And again, Peter gives this a theological kind of framing, then, you know, so in this way, God was able to fulfill what the prophets talked about. So there is this sense that, you know, it's not that there's no divine agency going on or that that God can make sense of it because the human ignorance can play into God's purposes, that, you know, that all things, God can make work for God's sort of plan, if you like. But one of the reasons I said to keep reading is I really struggle with this idea that we'd stop at verse 19, repent, therefore, so that your sins might be wiped out, which does sound like speaking to a very particular group. And the vision expands rapidly in the next two verses. So that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, universal restoration and pointing back to the holy prophets. And then he'll go on to talk about Moses. So this entire framing and this nod towards exodus three in the Moses tradition is saying, we can't read this in a super sessionist way, right? This is what God has set in motion. It's the way God acts, it's what Moses was talking about, and it is the restoration. The people of Israel have looked, this particular group of Israelites just haven't recognized it yet, in their view. But if we keep reading, we immediately move away from that highly individualistic repent for your sins universal vision of salvation. [00:26:23] Speaker B: And the greek word in verse 21 is apokatastasis, which becomes a really important word theologically in the theology of Irenaeus and others. This notion that God's intention is to actually draw all things and gather all things back into the life of God in this ultimate universal restoration. And, I mean, this is what happens in Luke, a very clear polemical dimension rooted in what's happening in the first century. But there is always this broader vision and canvas on which Luke is painting his understanding of the good news. [00:27:01] Speaker A: So, lastly, first John, chapter three, one to seven, is our lectionary reading. Is it worth telling people? How do you reckon first John relates to? I mean, it's obviously using language, imagery, theology from the gospel of John. [00:27:17] Speaker B: Yeah. The majority opinion is that the epistles of John were written after the Gospel of John, and that in some senses, they are potential responses to events that may be hinted at in the Gospel of John and potentially misunderstandings, or what the author perceives as misreadings of some of the key ideas in the Gospel of John. The most famous exponent of this view is Raymond Brown, who, in his massive commentary, kind of develops whole theories about the stages of life in a particular community and where these letters fit into those stages. I think the most important thing, though, to recognize is that even within the similarities, there are very different things happening, and that the genre of one John, which really isn't a letter, it's more like a kind of homily, an early christian homily of some sort. The focus that it has on what we call paranesis, exhortation, verbs in the imperative, telling people how they should behave, how they should act, where the priorities lie for a community, ethically and morally. That's absolutely the focus of these letters, constantly then connected back to the theology that led to the rise of the fourth gospel and that the johannine community seems to hold to be central in a very distinctive way, of course, in comparison to much of the rest of the New Testament. [00:28:45] Speaker A: I agree, and I think if we think of it as in this sort of exhortatory sermon type, we can notice how rhetorical it is. There's a lot of hyperbole. So we get very strong language. We've got to just sort of take this as if a preacher in full stride. Maybe not your personal style of preaching, but some preachers in full stride with these sort of strong contrasts and things. The other thing is, I think these letters are probably mostly addressed to a kind of a jewish Jesus following audience. And we've seen there's definitely some matters of conflict going on. The previous chapter refers to hostility from those who thought Jesus was the messiah, but are no longer sort of in the light is this language they've left. We're maybe seeing christological arguments here, but either way, there's been division in the community. [00:29:33] Speaker B: That's right. Some of them have gone out into. [00:29:35] Speaker A: The world, and the world is a dubious place in this way of thinking. So that's our context for then quite a beautiful image of. See, you know, take a look at what the love the father has given us, that we should be called children of God because that's what we are. So this idea that our status as children of God is because of God's prompt first gift of love. [00:30:01] Speaker B: So what I like about this is that it's almost as if the author can't help themselves. So if you go back a verse to the end of verse, chapter two, verse 29, we have the language of righteousness. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who does right has been born of him. And then chapter three, verse four, everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness. So this righteousness, sin, lawlessness, that seems to be the discussion. But the author can't help themselves by saying, if you want to get what that means in terms of what it means to be righteous and what it means to be lawless, then the thing that you need to pay attention to see this emphatic verb at the beginning of verse one is the love that the father has given to us. That's the context within which all of this other language about what right behavior, wrong behavior looks like can make sense. So for the author of one, John Ethics, for want of a better word, is always connected with the language of salvation that has the question of the nature of God's love and God's saving intentions at the fore. [00:31:10] Speaker A: I think that's right, and it makes some sense. I don't know if it really makes sense, the language here, I do struggle with this idea. We're in sort of almost apocalyptic dualisms here with the light and the dark, the world language of purity, which would, again, make sense to a jewish community. And purity isn't always about a moral status. It's actually about separateness. It's about that there are things that belong in their categories. So there's the world and then there's not of the world. There's things that are sacred and there's things that are profane. So it's almost like trying to draw lines, but they get drawn so sharply and with such hyperbole that we start to get language of children of the devil. What do you do with that? [00:31:54] Speaker B: I think we had a question, didn't we, about how we deal with that language and how we deal with the jewelry of light and dark of the world, love, hate, et cetera, et cetera. I mean, my only real answer to this is to say that this is where a kind of responsible historical understanding of the location of these texts is really, really important. And it's important for the preacher in their work of preparation, because they need to know that if they simply replicate dualistic language in a different context from the context in which that language first arose, which is the deep controversies of early christian polemic and identity formation, if you replicate that in our modern context, you're actually being unfaithful to the meaning of the text. So what do you do? Well, you either need to do the work of explanation of that language so that people can understand where it comes from, or you actually need to re appropriate it or find different language that achieves the same effect. [00:32:56] Speaker A: Yes. [00:32:57] Speaker B: So how do you form community identity in the current environment? Well, you know, very often black and white, in and out language is the least helpful way of doing that in an increasingly complex world, although it's also. [00:33:12] Speaker A: A method we still see being used in certain christian circles. Right. With these very clear lines being drawn. [00:33:17] Speaker B: Arguably, it's growing in popularity both within the church and beyond in the culture wars. [00:33:22] Speaker A: Yes, but, I mean, it's why this returning to the framing of love that you pointed out before Shaun, is so important that will be developed further in this letter. In very practical terms, it is about the way you then live as community and with one another. We're just about out of time, but any last comments? [00:33:43] Speaker B: Well, I just think the other thing to notice is I'm really interested in the salvation language that's there in verse two in particular. Again, it's eschatological when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. So you've got this notion of kind of incorporation into the life of God theosis in the way that it kind of saves things. And that's a way of talking about salvation. It's about being drawn ever more deeply into the life and the identity of God in certain kinds of ways. And I think that's the kind of image that gives us enormous kind of scope for then asking the question, okay, well, what does that look like concretely in our community, in our context and in our time? [00:34:24] Speaker A: That'd preach. There's a sermon right there, folks. [00:34:26] Speaker B: There you go. [00:34:30] Speaker A: By the well is brought to you by Pilgrim Theological College and the Uniting church in Australia. It's produced by Adrian Jackson. Thanks for listening.

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