Letters, June-July 2007

I think (Christian Odyssey) needs a wider distribution! And I guess funds could be a problem — as well as "general interest" in this deceived world. Maybe some sort of advertising program could help. Any and every Christian, no matter their denomination, will be benefited by this first-class magazine! I’ll be praying about this — and if I can help in some other way, please help me to know how.

St. Louis, email

Yes — funds are a problem. It is expensive to market a magazine effectively. But perhaps the best advertisement is a satisfied customer. If you enjoy this magazine, why not encourage your friends and neighbors to ask for a subscription? And, when you have finished with your copy, pass it on. If every reader did that we would double our readership.

 

I am from Fiji and I just got into this beautiful website of Odyssey and found things I had been searching for some time. I am the superintendent of the Ba Boys Home in Fiji and leading young men to Christ. This is an orphanage and the response is great. Thank you for filling in the gaps in our lives through your wonderful studies. May God bless you always.

RP, email

In your article in the April/May 2007 Christian Odyssey, you said that no one knew Barabbas’ "real name." However, the New Living Translation has a footnote for Matthew 27:16 that says "some manuscripts read ‘Jesus Barabbas.’" His name, then, was known to those in Jerusalem.

SG, Kentucky

Some few ancient manuscripts do have "Jesus Barabbas" in Matthew 27:16, which would create an interesting parallel to Pilate’s offer: "Shall I free Jesus Barabbas or Jesus Christ?" However, since almost all manuscripts do not read "Jesus Barabbas," the first name must remain uncertain and is the reason most authoritative English translations only call the "thief" by the name "Barabbas." It’s possible an ancient scribe could have added "Jesus" in the manuscript he was copying precisely to point up the dramatic comparison. In any case, "Barabbas" is what is called a patronymic name, that is, "bar-abba" or "son of Abba," which is why the article says Barabbas meant "son of the father."

 

I read the Editorial in the recent issue and I had to write and say the movie (The Passion of the Christ) had just the opposite effect on me and my family and my small group. I have never been more moved to worship Christ more fully than after seeing the movie. I have now seen it three times, once when it first came out, the second time in preparation to show it for our small group as follow-up to our study of Isaiah 53 on the suffering servant, and then watched it with the group and discussed it afterward.

We did not just "feel sorry" for Jesus, even though we flinched through many of the scenes, but were mostly overcome with gratefulness, and then humility that our sins required that of Him. The discussion after the small group viewing consisted mostly of how we as disciples of Jesus need to be more moved with compassion for a world, for our friends, and for our family members as Christ was when he said, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

I am not a "blood and gore" movie fan, but it made the scriptures about his rejection, scourging, and crucifixion a lot more "real" than the very "clean" version of it in my reading of it. I don’t believe I’m "dwelling" on the grisly details of his death, oh, but I am dwelling on the life and freedom that I have in Him that those grisly details led to.

CO, email

I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who did not go see Mel Gibson’s Passion movie. Gibson is known for his bloody movies, and I felt as if Christ’s suffering was being exploited in that movie. I have quite a good enough imagination. The Bible account is enough.

SG, email

I am writing regarding the article "It isn’t just how he died." And, of course, it has been on our minds right now. I could have written the first paragraph myself as far as sentiment is concerned. I did not want the indelible "special effects" left on my mind. The Bible gives us all the detail we need.

When I first came into the church, one of our ministers always gave lots of gory details of Christ’s death and I could not help but cry. It was not necessary! We should feel sorry for ourselves in a repentant attitude and grateful to Jesus for His depth of love to give us such a wonderful blessing. We owe him our love and following Him to great depth of our learning and growing, a continual process. To do that, we need His love and He has freely given us that in full measure. Praise God!

PR, email

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