Sat, 3 November 2012
048 Was Peter the Greatest? What Is the Number of *Jesus*' Name? Can We Trust the Gospel Writers? Are Scary Halloween Costumes Okay?
In this episode of the show, we tackle the following issues . . .
1) Was St. Peter the greatest of Jesus' original Twelve disciples?
St. Peter is certainly the most commonly mentioned of the original Twelve. He always stands at the head of the list whenever the names of the Twelve apostles are listed in the Bible. And he was clearly part of Jesus' inner circle, even within the Twelve. He is, unquestionably, the most prominent of the Twelve.
But did Jesus give him a special role among the Twelve, a special position, or was he just more active than the others?
Jesus gives us an answer to this question, and in an unexpected place . . .
2) The Number of the Beast vs. the Number of Jesus
We've all heard that, in the book of Revelation, the number of the Beast is 666.
Whatever does this mean?
And if the Beast has a number, do others?
Does the name of Jesus have a number?
Does the name of God have a number? . . .
3) Did the Gospel Writers Feel Free to Make Stuff Up?
Some people hold the view that the writers of the four gospels felt free to basically make stuff up, to freely shape the narratives they were writing about Jesus' life by either manufacturing stories about his deeds or making up teachings and putting them on his lips.
The idea is that they used the figure of Jesus as a vehicle for their own ideas, and they made up material to serve the perceived needs of their local Christian communities.
It's easy to show that by the second century there were a lot of people identifying themselves as Christians who did exactly this. That's why there were so many Gnostic gospels dating from the second to the fourth century.
But what about the first century, canonical gospels? . . .
4) Are Scary Halloween Costumes Okay?
Many people of conscience view Halloween with some suspicion, and the way it is often celebrated today, that’s understandable.
Some have chosen not to celebrate Halloween at all, and that’s a respectable choice.
Others have chosen to invert the popular celebration by dressing up–or having their children dress up–as entirely wholesome figures, like doctors, nurses, and firemen or even has historical figures, like saints.
But what about scary Halloween costumes? Are those okay? . . .