This week we start looking at Brian Zahnd’s book in detail! We begin our study of Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahnd looking into the issue of how Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God. Be sure to pick up the book and get into deeper study!
Hamartia … this is the original Greek word for “sin.” Last week we started discussing what this word really meant back in ancient times. We saw this didn’t mean “breaking rules” but simply a mistake by which a person would tragically miss their purpose. This was used by Aristotle in many of his stories.
Of all words in Christianity, the word “sin” is crucial for us to understand. A lot of the whacky theology in the Western church stems from a misunderstanding of this word “hamartia.”
One of my biggest pet-peeves in the modern church is how we pick up a language that we don’t understand. We use funny words that we never used before … words like sin, faith, prayer, holiness … and we really don’t understand them at all.
If you are like me, we are never really told what these words mean. Or if we are, then we are given some “religious” idea that was never implied by the original word.
A Meeting of Hearts … Mack and Papa talked about his reunion with Missy through the waterfall and suddenly Mack thought of Missy’s favorite legend of the Indian princess whose death over the waterfall saved her people – was it for him that Missy had to die?
Meeting of Hearts
Papa said that his ability to work good out of Missy’s death didn’t mean he needed Missy’s death to work good – so no, Missy didn’t have to die for Mack’s sake.
In the Belly of the Beasts … As Jesus and Mack head back across the water, Mack confides that he has always been troubled by the idea of Missy all alone with her abductor. Jesus explains that she wasn’t alone; he was with her the whole time and that as they talked she gained great peace and even prayed for her family during that time.
Belly of the Beasts
Their talk then turned to the institutions of politics, religion and marriage. Jesus pointed out that he has never been fond of institutions, he is all about relationships. He doesn’t want religious service, but people who love him and are in relationship with him. He also explained that not all religions are roads that lead to him, but that he would travel any road to find and redeem the lost.
Jesus sent Mack into a dark cave where he met this beautiful woman who is the judge. As she and Mack talked, it surfaced hat he didn’t think that God truly loved all his kids, or Missy wouldn’t have been murdered; in light of that, she asked Mack to take her place and be the judge.
He says he isn’t fit to judge, but she reminds him of a lifetime of judgments he has made based on very superficial criteria known to man. She started by asking if he would judge the man who murdered Missy – that was easy for Mack.