Wednesday, February 04, 2009

IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO? - Cross Purposes 146


MX News is a free commuter newspaper for afternoon travellers in Sydney. On January 14 2008 it carried a story about two men from different parts of the USA who each found a rare pearl in an oyster they were eating. Nothing particularly special about that but I’ve another story.

The Hobart Mercury reported on January 3 2008 about young Kristy Brittain who was tossed off her kneeboard (on January 28 2007) while being towed behind a boat in water off the Tasman Peninsula. In the fall she lost a nose stud from a piercing she had done a week before Christmas. Gone forever? Three days later her fiancéé was fishing in the same area, caught a nice flathead, and lo and behold, there was the nose stud!

Reminds me of a story in the New Testament where some Temple tax collectors front Peter about Jesus and his tax obligations. It’s worth a read.

After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"
"Yes, he does," he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?" "From others," Peter answered. "Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him. "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
Matthew 17:24-27

I’ve often wondered: One, how did Jesus know about the tax conversation Peter had just had? Two, how did he know about the fish and the coin?

“It ain’t necessarily so”?
Normie Rowe’s song by that name had a line in it that said (of Jonah and the whale) “The things that you’re liable, to read in the Bible, ain’t necessarily so”. But a visit to the Eden Whale Museum on the far south coast of NSW might open your eyes.

There’s a story there about a 19 year old English crewman on a whaler in the 19th century. Up near the Arctic, they spotted a whale and drew up close to harpoon it. The harpoon lodged as it was intended to. The whale dived … then resurfaced under the boat and tipped its occupants into the ocean.

All were rescued except our 19 year old. Accepting his death as fate they returned to the mother ship. 14 hours later they were out again, sighted a whale, harpooned it. The same whale. When they began the process of cutting it up they heard strange noises. Soon a hand popped out, then a whole young man.

Apparently every hair on his body was bleached a deathly white, but he was alive, although he couldn’t talk for the next month. He died at 32. His tombstone has an inscription: “A modern Jonah”. It ain’t necessarily so? The skeptics are always there to question. However faith knows instinctively that God is able to do what is claimed in the incarnation, the Calvary cross and through the resurrection.

An Aside – Imagine how ‘white’ Jonah must have looked after 3 days in the whale. And imagine what a sight he must have been criss-crossing Nineveh calling out Repent! Repent!

Bless you people


Hey, here's an anonymous extra that came to me in the last week or so. 15/2/2009

"Look at Jonah in the fish belly - surrounded by gastric juices & sucked-in seaweed. For three days God has left him there. For three days Jonah has pondered his choices. And for three days he has come to the same conclusion: He hasn't got any choices. From where he sits (or floats) there are two exits - and neither is very appealing. But then again, Jonah isn't either. He blew it as a prophet. He was a flop as a fugitive. At best he's a coward, at worst a traitor. And what he's lacked all along he now has in abundance - guts."


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