‘Well duh’, you might say but isn’t this a bit obvious? Oddly enough, no.
When Stephen stood before the Jewish ruling Council, the Sanhedrin, and tried to ‘Keep it Scriptural’ he ended up with more than a headache, they killed him for it.
When Cleopas and his friend met Jesus on the way to Emmaus Jesus turned the phrase ‘Keep it Scriptural’ completely on its head. For Jesus to ‘Keep it Scriptural’ meant to hear anew what the Bible said about him. For Cleopas and his friend to ‘Keep it Scriptural’ didn’t mean playing it safe but instead of being alive to God’s fresh and innovative voice heard again through the Bible.
This is what got Stephen killed. For the Sanhedrin to ‘Keep it Scriptural’ meant remaining faithful to an understanding of the Bible that had helped them keep their identity in Exile and survive the fires of persecution after that. However, this understanding made them inflexible and incapable of hearing God speak in a fresh and innovative way. When they heard Jesus ‘Keeping it Scriptural’ their hearts burned with anger and they crucified the Word of God. When they heard the first Christians, who’d been listening to Jesus’ fresh and innovative way of being Scriptural, they treated them in the same way they’d treated him.
For Cleopas and his friend when they heard Jesus’ fresh and innovative way of being Scriptural their hearts also burned within them. But this was not because of anger but because what Jesus had said seemed almost too good to be true.
This month we start Mosaic Discipleship properly. We start by looking at and thinking differently about the Bible as our key resource for discipleship. Through the Bible we meet, know and encounter the other eleven elements that make up Mosaic Discipleship. We read the Bible not to confirm all that we already know but instead to continue to hear Jesus’ fresh and innovative way of being Scriptural. By this we will learn more and more what Mosaic Discipleship is all about and so become more and more like Jesus in word, thought and deed.