Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Vibe of John 3:16

You’d think that John 3:16 would have some kind of sporting vibe given that you see it in the crowd at every Olympics, World Cup and Super Bowl. But no, this isn’t an athletes only vibe. It’s a vibe that probably best summarises the ubervibe of the New Testament, and it is thus: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’ Or, in other words, God let Jesus die so that, if we believe it really happened, we can wipe our mucky past clean and spend the forever after safe in the company of God.

Those who hold this verse aloft on placards at public events are doing this because, like the street preacher with a megaphone, they believe that anyone who has heard God’s message and rejects it is destined for an eternity of being prodded with red hot toasting forks in the fiery vortex. And, like the prophets of old, they feel compelled to warn them of the danger.

On seeing the placards, some people rush off to find a Bible, others wonder at the meaning of a man’s name and two numbers separated by a colon while the rest roundly ignore it and concentrate on watching the game.

General vibe: God’s message in a sentence.

Factvibe: The first time John 3:16 appeared on a placard at a major sporting event was at the 1977 NBA Finals.

 

The vibe of the Bible in a word and two numbers

The vibe of the Bible in a word and two numbers

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The Vibe of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is one hundred per cent vibe. It is the spirit of God which sticks around on Earth like a cosmic shadow when Jesus vanishes into Heaven. It lives inside people who believe in God and, if used properly, helps them make decisions that don’t result in them (or others) getting into a pickle.

The Holy Spirit arrives dramatically with the rushing of wind and tongues of fire when the Disciples are meeting to celebrate the Jewish feast of Pentecost. Despite most of them being uneducated country boys, the Holy Spirit allows the Disciples to babble in foreign languages. This impresses onlookers hugely, to the point where many of them sign up to the Jesus vibe on the spot.

When the Jewish leaders threaten to shut down the early Church, the Holy Spirit gives Peter and the others the boldness and encouragement to carry on regardless and the vibe is in full attendance when the first Gentiles are converted.

The vibe is that the Holy Spirit was present when the world began and continues as God’s divine representative on Earth, giving people the power to show the vibes of Jesus through their words and the things they do. A powerful, enabling, godly vibe.

General vibe: May the force be with you.

Factvibe: After the Holy Spirit’s impressive debut at Pentecost, the Church added 3000 new converts.

Despite also being known as 'the Holy Ghost', the Holy Spirit is generally not the stuff of B-Movie nightmares

Despite also being known as ‘the Holy Ghost’, the Holy Spirit is generally not the stuff of B-Movie nightmares

The Vibe of the Ascension

Roughly forty days after he comes back from the dead, Jesus checks out in dramatic style. Before his final vanishing act, performed in front of his eleven remaining Disciples, he enjoys one last meal with them and announces that he will be sending the Holy Spirit to take care of business on Earth.

The Disciples are keen to know when exactly Jesus is going to overthrow Israel’s Roman invaders and give the vibe back to the Jews. Jesus explains that God works to his own agenda and the whens, hows and whys aren’t something they should worry about. However, he tells them that the Holy Spirit will give them so much power that not only will Israel get the picture but the vibe will spread to the very ends of the Earth.

At this point, Jesus ascends into the clouds. Two men in white tell the Disciples not to bother looking for him, and that one day he will return in equally dramatic fashion. A powerful, theatrical, final curtain after several encores vibe.

General vibe: the only way is up.

Factvibe: The Ascension is the only vibe where Jesus appears in living form outside of the four Gospels. The story is told at the beginning of Acts.

The Ascension is where the vibe moves in an upwards direction

The Ascension is where the vibe moves in an upwards direction

The Vibe of the Great Commission

The Great Commission is Jesus’ final briefing to his Disciples before he vanishes into Heaven. The basic vibe is that they should tell the world everything they have learned as enthusiastically and energetically as they can. Jesus tells his men to go out and baptize all the nations, not just the Jews, and reassures them that he will be with them until the end of time.

There is a win/lose scenario that comes hand in hand with the Great Commission – those who believe will be rescued by God while those who don’t will be turned away by the Heavenly bouncers. This has led to zealous missionaries braving oceans, deserts and jungles to spread the word so that everyone has a chance to decide which option best suits them.

Without the Great Commission – and the tireless work of Christians who have taken the brief and run with it – much of the world would still be in the dark about Jesus. And despite some unsavoury moments, such as the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and the brutal colonization of the Americas, it’s a vibe that has run and run.

General vibe: Tell everyone.

Factvibe: St Francis of Assisi advised people to tell everyone they could about Jesus – and to use words only if they had to.

The 'tell everyone' vibe of the Great Commission

The ‘tell everyone’ vibe of the Great Commission

The Vibe of Thomas

Vibes of a somewhat cynical kind surround Thomas in his brief appearance in the Bible. Thomas isn’t in the room when Jesus appears to the other Disciples a few days after he was killed by the Romans. Hard though it must be to believe that the friend you saw nailed on a cross has just popped in to say hello, all the others in the room are adamant that this is what has just happened. Thomas needs to see this with his own eyes, hearsay is not enough.

Just over a week later, Jesus shows up again and this time Thomas gets to touch the wounds in Jesus hands and feet and is convinced. Sadly for him, the vibe which history will remember him for is being a bit of a doubter.

General vibe: Seeing is believing.

Factvibe: According to Christian legend, Thomas took Christianity to India.

The vibe of Thomas in a punctuation mark.

The vibe of Thomas in a punctuation mark.