Teaching Series
Followers of Jesus
Tuesday—In the Tension

Series: Followers of Jesus
Message: In the Tension
Preacher: Mark Witas
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Romans 14:1-23 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: There is this great online tool called Bible Hub. If you enter a single verse into the search engine it allows you to quickly compare several translations and paraphrase adaptations side by side. This is a great way to quickly grasp the depth of one verse, such as Romans 14:1. (This is one of the reasons we encourage you to read the passage for Daily Walk each day in a different version.) Today, of course, we are reading from The Message. This is a paraphrase created by Eugene H. Peterson. I have several friends who generally read his paraphrase first before going to a translation. They appreciate his desire to express the Bible in accessible, modern language that allows for quicker understanding and application. Pastor Peterson appears to have understood the complexity of a local, living community—even the tension that Paul addresses in Romans 14. Can we really welcome everyone? Is there room at the table for all?

Pastor Eugene H. Peterson fell asleep in Jesus last week, on Monday, October 22, 2018. There are so many wonderful stories about him online. Quotes and quips of gratitude to a man who understood deeply the love that Jesus has for all the world. I love this particular quote shared by Robert D. McFadden in The New York Times, expressing Pastor Peterson’s love for the local Church.

I thought, “Wow, the church is a lot more interesting than the classroom,” he told Religion News Service in 2013. “There’s no ambiguity to Greek and Hebrew. It’s just right or wrong. And in the church, everything was going every which way all the time—dying, being born, divorces, kids running away. I suddenly realized that this is where I really got a sense of being involved and not just sitting on the sidelines as a spectator, but being in the game.”

That is why I believe that Pastor Peterson opens his paraphrase of Romans 14:1 with the word “welcome.” Returning back to the Bible Hub site, and comparing the translations, of this verse, there is a common interchange between the words “accept” and “welcome.” Michael F. Bird, in his commentary on Romans, suggests that “welcome” probably captures the deeper meaning of Paul’s intent in Romans 14.

“Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters” (v. 1). The imperative verb “accept” (proslambanomai) dominates the opening sentence, and its appearance again in 15:7 with “accept one another” forms an inclusio. This bracketing of 14:1–15:13 by the theme of “acceptance” helpfully identifies the main point of the exhortation as urging the Roman believers to “accept” each other (though “welcome” is probably a better translation as per the ESV, CEB, NJB, etc.). The root for the command is not pragmatic; it is christological, “just as Christ accepted you.”

Recalibrate: What are the essential qualities for a truly welcoming experience? What stops us from using or fully developing those qualities?    

Respond: Pray for the space in your life to welcome someone new.

Research: What life lessons can we take from Pastor Eugene H. Peterson?

Remember: “Do not, then, pass judgment on one another any longer” (Romans 14:13, KNT).

Japhet De Oliveira is senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, and co-founder of the One project. Originally from southeast London, he served in the South England Conference for nine years—as a pastor and later as conference youth director—before moving to the United States in 2006. He is married to Becky and they have two sons, Joshua (18) and Jonah (14).

Play your child’s favorite game. It might be Peek-a-Boo or jumping into your arms or having you blow raspberries on their tummy. Be present in the play, enjoying every moment watching how your little one responds in the game. Be your child’s cheer squad no matter what.

Play a game you love. It might be a game you play by yourself or with friends. Love changes how we do things. When we love an activity or a person, we never want to stop doing that thing or being with that person. Play because you love to play and don’t worry about if you are good at what you’re playing or not. Invite someone else to play with you. Without telling them what to do, let them play even if they are terrible. Just enjoy playing together.

The word “petty” means something of not much importance. If you’re reading this and you’re under 18 years of age, you probably know the seemingly new meaning attached to the word “petty.” The new definition of “petty” is “reacting in a dramatic way in an effort to take revenge on someone.” For example, someone in class reminds the teacher that homework was due that day, so you decide to sit in their preferred seat in class the next day. You send a paragraph-long message and your friend responds with just “K” because they know this will upset you. Petty. Read Romans 14:6-9 in The Message version of the Bible. Notice how this version includes the words “petty tyrannies.” Jesus wants to free us from treating each other poorly for small matters—being petty. Jesus is the master of us. How has someone been petty to you? Are you petty with other people? How so?

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