Sunday, October 2, 2011


A couple years ago, a certain Dr. Nathan Kerr (Click his name for a classic Nate Kerr sermon on the Kingdom of G-d.) asked me to write an essay about what Jesus means to me.  Frustrated, I stared at a blank page for several days.  My ideas about Him teetered between heretical and apathetic.  As I explained to Nate (This is a sermon on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount), I had never given much thought to Jesus Himself, past that He was G-d made flesh, come to die for our sins.  I'd always focused on G-d the Father instead.  Ultimately, I settled on this thesis:

For me, Yeshua is Immanuel; He is G-d with us.  He is G-d the Father choosing to meet His children where they are, in their ignorance, and spend His eternity with them.  

It was good; it was touching; it earned me an A.  Mission accomplished. 

However, being in Korea has made me rethink that thesis a bit.  In fact, this weekend it has been one of the core ideas on my mind.  I went so far as to consider rewriting the whole paper and sending it to the overworked Dr. Kerr (Really, click his name... This time you'll read his words his book, Christ, History, and Apocalyptic), but then I decided that he didn't need to be regrading the papers of an alum... he's got plenty of his own current students' papers to deal with, I'm sure.   (Instead, I will send him the link to this post, and pretend like that's not overwhelming either... haha.)

Living in Korea has gotten me thinking a lot about how the Gentiles must have felt, all the way up until the time of Christ.  In a lot of ways, Korean culture and Jewish culture are very similar.  They're both based in Eastern traditions, so I'm sure it was bound to happen; I just didn't think about it until I was immersed in it.  One of the most prominent commonalities is their views on a non-member of their heritage.  They could be "fully" accepting toward that person, but, in the end, that person was still an outsider.  The opinion of the national would always hold more weight.  The national would always take priority.  The outsider would never be expected to fit in, never be expected to understand.  It's not even necessarily a malicious act (although I'm sure there are some people who do mean it that way... people are people.), it's just the culture.

That being said, in spite of best intentions, there are some really lonely days for your resident outsider.  I've lately been using those days to try to understand Gentile culture though, and I've got to say, it's made me appreciate Jesus a lot more.  I feel like I'm coming to understand the heart of G-d better too.  Like any good Sunday School student, I can tell you that G-d sent Jesus to die because He loves all people and wants all people to be with Him, but having an experience like this is making it so much more tangible.

I'm really not sure that I can explain it better than that, but I would encourage you to think about the Gentiles and Waygooks the next time you're feeling on the outside of a group or event... maybe then, you will come to appreciate Jesus a little more too.
This is a picture off of Facebook of a group of us on a recent trip to Seoul.  The first comment was from a Korean student: "Wow!!  Waygooks!  Cool!"  Like I said, it's not really an attempt toward malicious alienation... it just happens. haha
Love you! 

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