The Apostle John Rescues a Criminal

Paraphrased by Jon Kauffman

Clement of Alexandria tells the story of how the Apostle John rescues a Criminal who had fallen from the faith. This may be a true story or it may be a story which reveals the character of John. I have paraphrased the story.

A bit of a rainbow and some wild skies as the tail end of a rain shower passes through the Swan Valley. Courtesy Leon Kauffman.

The tyrant who sentenced the Apostle John to Patmos died. When John was released he traveled to nearby cities to appoint Bishops. John became acquainted with a strong young man. John entrusted the young man to the Bishop of the city. The Bishop raised him, taught him and finally baptized him. After the baptism, the Bishop relaxed his care and discipline with the belief that the seal of the Lord was a complete protection of him.

The young man made friends with some idle young men leading a life of indulgence in drink and promiscuity. First they tempted the young man with many costly entertainments and prostitutes and finally convinced him to accompany them into a life of highway robbery.

The young man having entirely despaired of Salvation in God, formed a band of robbers, and as the fiercest, bloodiest and cruelest became their captain.

Time passed and the church needed John again. They sent for John and he came. John helped resolve the churches need. John asked to see the young man he had left in the bishop’s care. The Bishop explained that the young man had turned wicked, abandoned his faith and became a robber leading a band of robbers in the mountains. Rending his clothes and striking his head with great sorrow, the apostle said, “It was a fine guard of a brother’s soul I left! Bring me a horse and a guide and I will be on my way.

Immediately the apostle rode away towards the mountains. He came to the robber’s outpost and said, “Lead me to your captain.” When the captain recognized the Apostle John he turned, ashamed and ran away. The elderly John followed with all his might. John cried, “Why? my son, do you flee from me, your father, unarmed, old? Son pity me. Fear not; you still have hope of life. I will give account to Christ for you. If need be, I will willingly endure your death, as the Lord did suffer death for us. For you I will surrender my life. Stand, believe, Christ has sent me.”

The Captain threw down his weapons and wept bitterly. And when John approached, the Captain embraced him, confessing and crying. John assured him of God’s pardon. John falling on his knees kissed the young man’s right hand which the youth had hidden to indicate his shame. John baptized him a second time.

The Apostle led the young man back to the church, spent time with him in intercessory prayer, prolonged fasting and much counseling. John did not leave until he had restored him to the church, presenting him a great example of true repentance and a great token to regeneration, a trophy of visible resurrection for which we hope.

Paraphrased from”Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?” Chapter 42 by Clement of Alexandria (150 AD – 214 AD).

Born Again

Copyright © 2019 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.

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Picture: Copyright © 2019 by Leon Kauffman

The Violence that Saves Us

By Jon Kauffman

Jesus said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14: 26, 27 NIV

The death and resurrection of Jesus provided us with the way of salvation.

The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most attested facts in history. Why do I believe Jesus rose from the dead? Many of Jesus’ 12 original disciples died because they were followers of Jesus. Peter, Philip and Bartholomew were crucified upside down, James, Son of Alphaeus was stoned to death, James, Son of Zebedee was beheaded by sword, and Thomas was killed with a pine spear.

These guys were all there when Jesus died. They saw Jesus dead. Jesus came to see them after he rose from the dead. If the resurrection was a lie, they would have been unwilling to die for Jesus. Following Jesus provided no wealth or power for them. If they knew that Jesus had not risen from the dead, then when threatened with torture and death, they would say, “No! No! Don’t kill me, I know where to find the body of Jesus.” But the body was gone. They knew he had risen from the dead. Some people die for a lie if they don’t know it’s a lie. Nobody dies for what they know is a lie. These guys had good logical reasons to be followers of Jesus… and to die for him.

More Christians were killed in the 20th century because they followed Jesus than were killed at any other time in history. Christians have continued to die for following Jesus in the 21st century. In 2016, 90,000 Christians died around the world from persecution. Early Christians would have considered the death of someone killed by Boko Haram or ISIS for following Jesus a glorious death.

Eusebius of Caesarea, Bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD wrote in On The Martyrs In Palestine “THOSE Holy Martyrs of God, who loved our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, and God supreme and sovereign of all, more than themselves and their own lives, who were dragged forward to the conflict for the sake of religion, and rendered glorious by the martyrdom of confession, who preferred a horrible death to a temporary life, and were crowned with all the victories of virtue, and offered to the Most High and supreme God the glory of their wonderful victory, because they had their conversation in heaven, and walked with him who gave victory to their testimony, also offered up glory, and honor, and majesty to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.”

American civil religion worships the American Sniper. Who has died a more glorious death? A nonviolent Christian victim of Boko Haram from Nigeria? Or the American Sniper?

The church in America is dying. One of the most dangerous places to be a Christian today is in Iran. The Iranian church is the fastest growing church in the world.

Returning to Luke 14, in verse 26, the Greek miséō is translated: hate.

3404 miséō – properly, to detest (on a comparative basis); hence, denounce; to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another. Strong’s Concordance.

Many who believe that it is proper for a Christian to participate in the military argue that we must do so because of our responsibility to obey the state.

Perhaps a better hierarchy of love that is more consistent with Luke 14 would be:

  1. Love Jesus and obey his commands. Members of the early church were quick to die for Jesus.
  2. Love our families and our brothers and sisters in Christ, helping to provide protection and support for those living in the US and in other countries around the world.
  3. Love those who do not yet know the saving power of Jesus, but are our potential brothers and sisters.
  4. Love our own lives.
  5. Love the state. When it does not contradict the above. That makes the state a very low priority.

We must be pro-life and speak out against the pro-death state, and its evil support of abortion, euthanasia and bad foreign policy.

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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By Jon Kauffman

When I was a teenager I had a radical conversion experience. I was saying the Lord’s Prayer. Previously, I was having a disagreement with a friend and was angry with him. The prayer says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I asked Jesus to help me forgive my friend. My heart was filled with joy and peace. Before this experience I was terrified of dying. Jesus took away my fear of death. I know forgiving others is part of Salvation.

Pastors of the Salvation Army may say that believing that Jesus rose from the dead is an important element of Salvation. Romans 10:9. They may say confessing your sins to one another, or a pastor or God is also a necessary element of Salvation. I John 1:9. Or confessing that Jesus is Lord or King or ruler of your life is a necessary element of Salvation. Romans 10:9.  They may say this turning over your life to Jesus, or a radical conversion experience is a spiritual rebirth as described in John 3.

The Salvation Army pastor may say that once one has believed in Jesus, evidence of that Salvation will include, as the Apostle John says, that we love our brothers and sisters. I John 2:10. Or we live as Jesus lived. I John 2:6. Or if we do what is right we know we are born of God. I John 3: 7. Or that the Holy Spirit will witness to our hearts that he lives in us.  I John 3:21-24. Or that we will follow the Sermon on the Mount and love our enemies. Matthew 5:43.

The Salvation Army Pastor may say that one who has experienced the rebirth will feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty and visit those in prison. James 2:14-17. The one who has this Salvation will avoid lusting or committing adultery or obtaining divorces. Matthew 5:27-32. The one who has this Salvation will give to the needy. Matthew 6:1-4. Salvation Army pastors may say that one who has Salvation will find ways to be reconciled to those with whom they disagree.  Matthew 5: 23,24.

When we receive this Salvation, we will be able to see the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:22-24.

If Jesus rose from the dead and if He will give us the wonderful future he has promised, then following Jesus is our most important priority in our lives. Nothing else matters.

Copyright © 2017 by Jon Kauffman Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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