Monday, February 10, 2014

Crossing Cultures

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He ask is disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? So they said, Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others John the Baptist, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." ~ Matthew 16: 13-14

My Chinese Brother, Liu Sen
Translation app gaffs!

Jesus and his disciples are twenty-five to thirty miles away from their homeland whose social fabric was  heavily influenced by Judaism. Fact is, Caesarea Philippi was an extremely pagan region. Jesus and the boys had crossed into a culture very different from home. It is in this setting that Jesus asked his disciples who the people of this culture reported him to be. Word, rumor, and impressions had arrived ahead of them that cast Jesus with the persona of some of Israel's most prolific, big personality, prophets. Jesus was much more than a wild man prophet like John the Baptist, a wonder working prophet like Elijah, or a weeping prophet like Jeremiah.

Over the past few years I have had the privilege of sharing time and space in many different cultures. To some degree--before I had been immersed among those people groups--I had preconceived ideas as to who they were and what they were like. Often, like the inhabitants of Caesarea Philippi in regards to their perception of who Jesus was, my perspectives had been shaped by a mixture of inaccurate as well as incomplete information. Upon entering each others world, getting to know each other personally, laughing together, striving to communicate, and living life together, we have come to see one another very differently. Exposure has radically changed presuppositions in both directions.

Jesus followed up his first question with a second one. Speaking directly to his disciples he asked: "But who do you say that I am?" Would it help us if we asked ourselves how our opinions of Christ were formed?

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