Thursday, June 01, 2006

Back on May 12th, I surmised that the 20-day stretch the Rangers completed yesterday would go a long way toward determining if they were contenders or pretenders in the AL West race.

Put them down as contenders!

The Rangers won 4 and lost 4 on their road swing through Boston, New York and Houston (two games in Boston were rained out). The homestand against the AL West teams, Anaheim, Oakland and Seattle, finished up with 6 wins and 4 losses. A 10 win, 8 loss stretch against that schedule wass good enough and the Rangers were able to extend their lead in the West by 4 games during the 20-day stretch.

Now the Rangers go on the road for 11 days: to defending World Series champion Chicago, lowly Kansas City, and a return trip to Beantown where one of the rainout games will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, June 10.

Also, yesterday during the game, the Rangers dumped disgruntled DH Phil Nevin on the Cubs. Nevin had been supplanted from his lead role as DH and will not be missed on the field or in the clubhouse.


Yesterday, I asked you to think about the possible discrepancy regarding the location of Judas when Jesus transformed the Passover meal into the memorial we call the Lord’s Supper. Was Judas in the room when Jesus transformed the Passover meal, as Luke 22.21 seems to indicate? Or was Judas absent, as John clearly implies in the timing of his account in John 13?

Scholarship is divided on the question. There are those who believe that Luke’s account is inaccurate, since he adds to the timeline a facet of the story that the other synoptic gospels, i.e. Matthew and Mark, do not include. The belief is that in the latter course of copying the text of Luke, scribes added this feature to the gospel record, placing Judas squarely at the table during the entire institution of the Lord’s Supper.

It would stand to reason that in the event of a discrepancy between Matthew and John versus Luke, the consensus of scholarship would side with Matthew and John. Why? Because as “apostles” of Jesus, they would have been clearly present and would have likely pointed out a fact as obvious as the presence of Judas.

There are other scholars that argue, however, that Luke’s precision as a scholar demands weight be given to his account. Luke makes clear to Theophilus in the prefaces to the gospel of Luke and the historical record of Acts that he has undergone a painstaking effort to accurately recount events with great precision and care.

So which is it?

Certainly an age-old argument on whether communion should be open or closed is considered on the basis of Judas’s presence. If Judas was absent – the position I took in my sermon last Sunday morning – then it seems to lend itself to the view that Jesus intentionally waited for Judas’s exit before turning the Passover meal into the Lord’s Supper. However, if Judas was present, then the table becomes a place where all are welcome – both insiders (those who have been declared righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ) and outsiders (those who are living unrighteous lives, with a hint of Judas within).

What we have in this case is a classic text that lends itself to open discussion. At the end of the day, the presence of Judas at the table doesn’t in any way constitute a salvation issue. One’s eternal destiny doesn’t hinge on accurately locating Judas at the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Locating his presence does have ramifications for the dated arguments regarding open versus closed communion. But those issues, themselves, do not constitute salvation matters.

I just think it’s neat, fun, intriguing and exciting to contemplate the possibilities.

But make no mistake about it, the bottom line in discussions like this is to determine on the front-end: do I want to win? Do I want to be right? Or do I want to preserve the relationship with someone who sees this matter of opinion differently than me?

Do I want to be right at all costs or do I want to be in a relationship?