Questions:,1. Why did Jesus give the care of his mother to John? Why wouldn’t that,responsibility have fallen to one of his many brothers? James was,apparently close by as Paul refers to the resurrected Jesus appearing to,him.,2. It is said that the first churches met in homes and synagogues because it,was illegal for crowds to gather unless they were part of the four,recognized associations (burial, trade, legal religions, and I forget the,other). How then, did 10,000+ gather around Jesus for the miracle,of…dinner without raising the ire of the Romans? It seems Jesus is,constantly described as having “large crowds” following him, or the “Whole,world” chasing after him, but there is no mention of the Roman’s noticing,other than the centurion who came on his own behalf. Any thoughts?,3. Thought: C.S. Lewis intimated that the only difference between a despot and a,factory worker might well be the opportunity to carry out evil. That their,hearts, and ours, are all filled with same hatred. Like most people, I want to think of myself as a “good” person, but it seems a more accurate view is that I am evil and disgusting in my natural,state. Only the grace and power of God allow me to do anything good. This,denies me the opportunity to boast of my own goodness and requires I rely,on God for all my hope. This sounds like Reform Theology but with the,added understanding that our unregenerated selves are capable of doing some,good because God has already given us that ability before salvation. This,is important to me for two reasons,Answer:,You would have to ask Jesus why he did that. To answer this question, we have to have information which we do not have. What was the nature of the relationship of Jesus to his physical brothers at the time of his death? Were they close? We know that James, the brother of Jesus came around, as well as Jude, but we do not know when. Besides, while Jesus hung on the cross, those guys were almost certainly not there. Bottom line, John was the only of the close male friends of Jesus who (as far as we know) was even there at the foot of the cross. The others had fled. His brothers were nowhere to be seen. I will speculate (and that is what it is) that Jesus felt as close or closer to John than to any of the other men in his life. Besides, Jesus knew that John was to be “the apostle of love.” Bottom line, Jesus trusted John to take care of his mom.,Even to answer the second question will probably require some speculation. I am no expert, so I require more speculation than some might. I will try to argue by analogy. The Romans outlawed large gatherings to reduce the danger of large scale rebellion. It is possible, or perhaps even likely that as long as a gathering showed no signs of rebellion, the Romans let it go unless goaded into action. There is copious modern precedent for a law which exists on the books but which is only enforced when it is convenient for the powers that be to control specific problems. It is very easy to imagine the Romans enforcing this law in a highly selective way. They did not routinely break up weddings, for example. I speculate that spontaneous gatherings out in the middle of nowhere did not bring out a contingent of troops. What Jesus did in Jerusalem was a different story. With church meetings, these are far more easily regulated because they tend to occur in a definite place and at a definite and regular time. This might explain the apparent contradiction between the large gatherings around Jesus and the claim that these laws were used against the early church. Once the church became an outlawed or even a suspicious group, the law could be invoked as an expedient to control this group. We can imagine that the Romans would eventually have interceded in the gatherings surrounding Jesus as well, but they were less regular and predictable.,Reform theology is an overreaction to the works salvation of the RC church. Melancthon, Calvin and others believed so strongly in the sovereignty of God that they tended to greatly downplay the idea of free will. They tended to have a somewhat exaggerated negative view of the human condition. We humans are truly evil and corrupt. We absolutely need salvation. Romans 3 is not an exaggeration. However, God did give us a conscience, and all of us have a dual nature in us. Most of us do honestly desire to do good. It is just that if we try to be perfect, we will always fail. Romans 7 and 8 are pretty good on this. If we have a grossly exaggerated negative view of the human condition, people will have a hard time taking us seriously Jesus was not unwilling to acknowledge good works done by those who were not following him. I believe your description is appropriate to this issue. ,John Oakes, PhD

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