The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Wise enough to trust (for 03.19.06)

with 2 comments

The reason I so often use Eugene Peterson’s translation called The Message is that he seems devoted to an element of accuracy others often ignore. Call it “emotional accuracy.”

It is no easy-reading version, but one that reclaims the kick of human conversation. Many translators focus on accuracy of word or thought, and write in the precise, cool tones of academics. But I get the feeling that Peterson is asking himself “What emotions would these words have aroused when they were first heard? And what words would faithfully deliver that impact today?”

You’ll find some kick, some sting, in these words. They aren’t sanitized. Listen as Paul drives home things often unsaid about wisdom. It bangs out like hammer-blows.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hell-bent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written,

I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head,
I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.

So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb–preaching, of all things!-to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

While Jews clamor for miraculous demonstrations and Greeks go in for philosophical wisdom, we go right on proclaiming Christ, the Crucified. Jews treat this like an anti-miracle–and Greeks pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God himself–both Jews and Greeks–Christ is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one. Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.”

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

* * *

Now, see it live. Jesus, the perfect example, demonstrates the difference between those two kinds of wisdom. Some who hear miss the point completely and become indignant. Others see it – haltingly, piece-by-piece – and trust.

Ah, trust! Always you are my challenge!

John 2:13-22
Tear Down This Temple . . .

When the Passover Feast, celebrated each spring by the Jews, was about to take place, Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem. He found the Temple teeming with people selling cattle and sheep and doves. The loan sharks were also there in full strength.

Jesus put together a whip out of strips of leather and chased them out of the Temple, stampeding the sheep and cattle, upending the tables of the loan sharks, spilling coins left and right. He told the dove merchants, “Get your things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a shopping mall!” That’s when his disciples remembered the Scripture, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

But the Jews were upset. They asked, “What credentials can you present to justify this?” Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple and in three days I’ll put it back together.”

They were indignant: “It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple. Later, after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this. They then put two and two together and believed both what was written in Scripture and what Jesus had said.

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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Written by Monte

March 15, 2006 at 5:46 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Yes, me too.
    Oh wait …


    March 17, 2006 at 8:49 pm

  2. I do like The Message for most everything. I enjoy how it says things in such a fresh and new way, ways I have not thought about! I like the frankness of it, and the emotional energy of it. Quite often, it blows me away! But I do have to agree with Dan. It is my least favorite version of the Psalms. It hits it to me in bits and pieces, like this week in Psalm 19:7-8. Really great! But overall, I prefer another version. Currently, I am using the New Living Translation of the Psalms, and getting so much out it. Not complaining (it is too good to complain about!), just having an opinion.

    I’m glad we will be talking about trust, since that is exactly where God is working on my heart these days. I’m so glad. These days, from quite recently, in fact, I have a peace that I’ve never experienced to this depth, day in and day out. Since I don’t quite see the connections between the scriptures this time, I will look forward to having it explained more clearly. Thanks!


    March 17, 2006 at 11:40 am

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