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Jesse Barnhart • September 30, 2021
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.” Or, as Harper Lee quotes a Cherokee saying in her book, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk and around in it.” You get the point.
When we read scripture, we should do the best we can to get into the shoes, the lives of those people who were the first recipients of God’s written work; two to four thousand years ago. How do you do that? Read some history of the times and culture. For the New Testament, read about first century Rome, Greece, and Israel. An example is “As the Romans Did, A Sourcebook in Roman Social History,” by Jo-Ann Shelton, Oxford University Press, New York, 1998. This books gives archeological details about the Romans in virtually every aspect of their lives, private and public.
Another thing you can do to get into the shoes of ancient man is to put yourself into their situation as much as possible. Imagine not having any modern conveniences. No electricity, no motors, no real medicines, vastly different clothing types, no glasses or contact lenses, no cars, virtually none of the modern conveniences. Try walking around one day with none of those items, not even your glasses and you might begin to see the difficulty many had. One other item, restrooms. Many restrooms in the middle east were communal with a long bench with oval holes about every three feet, no privacy dividers. See below. Forget toilet paper. Use leaves or sponge on a stick.
How is all this supposed to help us understand scripture? When you read of people who are sick, or hungry, remember they had little access to medical help or grocery stores or other items to which we are so accustomed. When Jesus said, let’s go to the other side (of the Sea of Galilee), understand that they had no lights, no weather forecasts, and they, as fishermen, understood the dangers crossing a body of water at night brings. Not even our modern conveniences would prepare us for seeing a person walking across the water to us in stormy weather.
When scripture speaks of the women going to Jesus’ tomb on the first day of the week in Matthew 28:3-4 (ESV) perhaps you’ll understand why the guards were so afraid and fainted because, “3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.” They were not used to people being this lit up.
When we start getting a feel for how the people of that time were impacted by what they saw Jesus do, when they read the words written about Him, heard the words spoken by Jesus, perhaps you will begin to grasp the amazement they did. Perhaps after you read Jesus’ words, you’ll be like the astonished crowds in Matthew 5 through 7 because Jesus “was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” Perhaps you’ll will even consider following Jesus as one of His disciples.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a disciple of Jesus, give us a call at Parker Road Baptist Church.
Jesse Barnhart • September 30, 2021
The British Rock Group, Queen, released a song in 1986 titled, “Who Wants to Live Forever?” That song begins:
Who wants to live forever,
Who wants to live forever…..?
There’s no chance for us,
It’s all decided for us,
This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us.”
Is it possible for a human to live forever? Let’s make the question more reasonable. Is it possible for a human to live to be 200 years old? It is if you believe what the Bible says about how long people lived in the past. In Genesis five, the bible says that Adam lived 950 years, Seth lived 912, Jared lived 962 years, and Methuselah lived 969 years. Some people say that time was figured differently, but a
careful reading of scripture shows that the time was kept similarly to how we keep it. There may have been slight variations because of using lunar cycles instead of solar cycles but this is not enough of a difference to discount the lifespans given in Genesis five.
Modern researchers believe that not only is it possible for people to live much longer than we currently live, but go so far as to claim that “The first person to live to be 200 years old , even 1,000 years old is certainly alive today …whether they realize it or not, barring accidents and suicide, most people now 40 years or younger can expect to live for centuries. ” Reading various articles on the
internet shows that many people not only believe that it will be possible to live hundreds of years, but that many researchers are already working on projects to encourage rejuvenation in cells with human trials planned in the near future. Some scientists are looking at telomeres which are sequences of DNA on the ends of chromosomes. These telomeres protect our genetic data and a disruption in these keeps the cell from dividing so it dies. The thought is that if a way to keep these telomeres from being used up is found, a person could possibly live untold hundreds of years.
The bottom line is that many scientists believe there is no reason why man shouldn’t be able to live much, much longer than the current 70 to 100 years we currently live. The truth is, man was originally created to live forever and it was only because of sin that God graciously limited man’s time on this earth. Can you imagine living forever in a sin-filled world with no relief from it? Imagine evil people being allowed to live for thousands of years propagating their evil. The good news is that one day, God will allow us to live forever but sin will have been eliminated.
Methuselah’s 969 years will seem to be a drop in the bucket compared to eternity in heaven. All it takes is to be “born again.” When Jesus said in Matthew 4:17, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” He was telling the people that they needed to change their attitude toward God and sin. He was telling them to turn away from sin and turn toward God. Jesus knew what God’s plan was,
He was in on the plan. Jesus knew that in just three short years He would offer up His life in place of our lives. In other words, He would die in our place. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory. In Romans 6:23, the Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death,
BUT, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. All we must do is repent, confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead and we will be saved – eternal life. This is the good news!
Back to the question the rock group, Queen, asks. “Who wants to live forever?” I do, but I don’t want to settle for a possible few hundred years of life with certain death eventually coming? I want eternal life and God has made it possible for me through Christ Jesus and I’ve grabbed onto it. How about you? Why not go for eternal life in Jesus Christ today?
 http://ktwop.com/2012/12/27/the-first-200-year-old-human-has-already-been-born/. Accessed on 01/21/2016.
 http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2009/03/can-humans-live.html. Accessed on 01/21/2016.