Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Vibe of Melchizedek

The priest-king Melchizedek enters and leaves the Bible like a phantom. Ruler of Salem, the city that will one day become Jerusalem, Melchizedek manages to believe in God without actually being Jewish. After a battle in which Abraham manages to rescue his captured nephew, Lot, Melchizedek reminds him that it is God who has given him the victory. In gratitude to God, and for the reminder from Melchizedek, Abraham gives the fantastical slash mystical ruler a tenth of all the loot from the battle. Appearing to have no father or mother, and with a reign that lasts forever, Melchizedek is seen by many as a kind of prototype Jesus. Some even believe that he was a sneak preview of Jesus. One thing is clear, God sets aside the tribe of Levi to be his priests, yet Jesus comes from the tribe of Judah and Melchizedek isn’t even Jewish. Both overcome this obstacle to become priests and both are seen as kings with a reign that lasts forever. As for exactly who this strange yet zealous god-fearing pagan might have been, Bible fans are left with more questions than answers. A mysterious, priestly ‘who was he and what does it all mean?’ vibe with a crown on its head.

General vibe of Melchizedek: Jesus before Jesus

Factvibe: Melchizedek is the first person in the Bible to be described as a priest

Pagan Priest King - the vibe of Melchizedek

Pagan Priest King – the vibe of Melchizedek

The Vibe of Mary and Martha

Not to be confused with any of the other five Marys mentioned in the Bible, this vibe is about Mary of Bethany and her older sister, Martha. The women make three appearances in the Bible and are obviously very close to Jesus. The vibe kicks off when the sisters invite Jesus to the home they share with their brother Lazarus. Martha busies herself with the catering and making the place look nice while Mary settles down to listen to Jesus teach. This gets Martha’s back up – after all, why should she do all the hard work while her lazy little sister gets to have all the fun? Jesus tells Martha that she needs to get her priorities right, and that Mary was doing the right thing by simply appreciating the vibe. We next meet the sisters after their brother has died. Martha finds Jesus out on the street and tells him off – if he’d arrived sooner then maybe Lazarus wouldn’t have died. It’s an emotional moment that gets turned upside down when, incredibly, Jesus brings Lazarus back to life. A little later on, Mary empties a whole jar of expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet and then dries them with her hair. Now with a much better understanding of who Jesus is, Martha keeps quiet, but still insists on clearing up after everyone. A sisterly, slightly squabbly but ultimately winning vibe.

General vibe of Mary and Martha: Sisters will be sisters

Factvibe: Many believe the perfume incident involved Mary Magdelene, not Mary of Bethany.

Hardworking vibes meet laid back ones. Tension ensues.

Hardworking vibes meet laid back ones. Tension ensues.

The Vibe of Lazarus

Not to be confused with a sore-riddled beggar in a story told by Jesus, Lazarus is one of Jesus’ friends. In fact, his sister is the Mary who pours a whole jar of expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet, much to the horror of Judas, the Disciples’ book keeper. Unfortunately for Lazarus, before he can make a proper impact on the Bible, he has to die. It is this event that moves his friend Jesus so much that he delays his arrival in Jerusalem for a couple of days in order to see what he can do. Not only that, the vibe in Bethany where Lazarus lives is so fierce that, the last time Jesus visited, he had to run from a mob of rock pelting Jews. Fortunately for Lazaraus, Jesus is able to pull off his most astonishing miracle so far. The dead man had been in his tomb for four whole days and Jesus is still able to bring him back to life. The vibe is electric. Many Jews believe on the spot but the Jewish rulers see this as one step too far. In giving Lazarus life, Jesus has effectively signed his own death warrant. This miracle kick starts the chain of events that ends with Jesus nailed to a cross as, no doubt, Lazarus and his sisters look on.

General vibe of Lazarus: Dead man walks. And talks.

Fact vibe: The account of Lazarus in John’s Gospel contains the shortest verse in the whole Bible, the two words; “Jesus wept”.

Death. Not a vibe most people escape.

Death. Not a vibe most people escape.

The Vibe of Jonathan

Jonathan is the eldest son of King Saul, and appears to be the brains of the family. When it becomes clear that Saul hasn’t much clue about leading Israel, Jonathan launches a secret two-man raid on the Philistine army with only his weapon carrier to assist him. Such is the unexpectedness of his attack that the startled Philistines begin fighting each other and many of the Hebrew soldiers switch sides to Israel. Eventually, Saul tags along but, after a long day of exhausting fighting, he announces the demotivating news that no one is allowed to eat anything until he has personally finished the enemy off. In fact, anyone who eats will be cursed. Jonathan doesn’t get the message until he has helped himself to a nice slab of wild honeycomb but Saul feels duty bound to kill his son and only the intervention of the entire Israelite army can change his mind. Jonathan later strikes up a life-long friendship with a high-ranking commander in Saul’s army, David. However, as David’s reputation grows, Saul’s jealousy gets out of hand and David has to run for the Hills. When Jonathan tries to stick up for his buddy, Saul launches a javelin at him. Undeterred, Jonathan helps David to stay safe and in return, David promises to look after his family. This promise is honoured after Jonathan’s untimely death in a battle in Gilboah in northern Israel, as David brings Jonathan’s disabled son Mephiboseth to live with him in his palace.

General vibe of Jonathan: Best Friends Forever

Factvibe: Despite David claiming that his love for Jonathan was ‘more wonderful than that of a woman’, there is no evidence that they were lovers.

The vibe of Jonathan, in the form of a woven cotton bracelet

The vibe of Jonathan, in the form of a woven cotton bracelet

The Vibe of Jairus

Jairus is a devout Jew who runs a synagogue in Galilee. He is also father to a twelve year old girl who has just died. Going completely against the vibe of many other Jewish bigwigs, he believes that Jesus might actually be able to intervene in his otherwise hopeless situation. He tracks Jesus down to the home of a tax collector called Matthew and asks him to simply come and lay a hand on the girl. It’s a big vibe, as Jairus represents the ruling establishment and Jesus is challenging the status quo, but when his daughter’s life is in the balance, Jairus is throwing everything he can at the situation, whatever the consequences. Frustratingly for him, Jesus is delayed by a desperate woman who touches his cloak, believing that this is enough to heal her ongoing haemorrhaging. Rather than continue on his mission, Jesus stops to help. Fortunately, the vibe is a winner for all concerned – the woman is healed, Jairus’s daughter is promptly brought back to life and Jesus notches up another two miracles that help to demonstrate to any who still have doubts that he genuinely is the Son of God.

General vibe of Jairus: Faith

Factvibe: The tax collector Matthew went on to write the Gospel that is named after him.

Jairus, boss of the Synagogue meets God, boss of the world. Joy happens.

Jairus, boss of the Synagogue meets God, boss of the world. Joy happens.

The Vibe of Hagar

Hagar’s vibe is like a soap opera. She begins life as a slave, owned by Sarah, the wife of Abraham. As such, she does what she is told, has no rights and no control over her destiny. However, the vibe changes when Sarah realizes that she can’t have children. God has already promised her and her husband that they would have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky and so Sarah decides to take matters into her own hands. She tells Abraham that he has to make a baby with Hagar. Not one to argue, Abraham hastily marries his wife’s servant girl and gets her pregnant. Now carrying the child who will be the future hope of Israel, Hagar gets cocky. Her ‘I’m preggers and you’re not’ attitude is a slap in the face to Sarah who fights back by being really mean to Hagar. The end result of what can only be described as a Biblical bitchfest is that Hagar runs away. God finds her and reassures her that her descendants will be every bit as numerous as Sarah’s and that she should go back and make peace. Happily for Sarah, God also reassures her that she and Abraham will have a son of their own, despite them both being around 100 years old. All goes well until Sarah’s baby Isaac is born and she spies Hagar’s son Ishmael laughing and teasing him. Motherly rage overcomes her and she kicks Hagar and Ishmael out of her home once and for all. Hagar wanders the desert with her little boy and once her food and water have gone, she lays Ishmael under a bush to die. God hears her sobbing, reminds her that he has big plans for the boy, then shows her a well of water. The story has a happy ending, with Hagar becoming a grandmother twelve times over. A heart-stopping, back from the brink, saved by the bell kind of vibe.

General vibe of Hagar: poor girl made good

Factvibe: Hagar’s son Ishmael is the first recorded child to be circumcised in the Bible

Saved by the Well - the vibe of Hagar

Saved by the well – the vibe of Hagar

The Vibe of Grace

Put very simply, grace makes no sense at all. Grace is a positive end result that has absolutely not been earned. It’s a hug after you have been horrible. A lottery win after you’ve gambled away the house. Landing a pay rise when you’ve done nothing all year but check emails and move paper around. In the Bible, grace is a vibe that is given but not earned. In other words, the good that comes from being a Christian does not happen because Christians are good people. Despite popular belief, many Christians are not good people, they are just as flawed as everyone else. Good things come their way because God is good. God expects his followers to behave in a pleasant, respectful, friendly manner, but this alone does not ensure that believers end up at the afterparty in Heaven. It is God’s grace that provides the good vibes that often seem to follow Christians around. Many Christians find an encounter with God’s grace quite overwhelming. In fact, experiencing this vibe for the first time is what convinces many non-believers that there is actually something out there, that this thing is good and at the very least, worth giving up a Sunday morning for.

General vibe of grace: God’s freebie

Factvibe: The hymn Amazing Grace was written by former slave trader John Newton following his conversion to Christianity after surviving a storm at sea

We all love a freebie. Thus is the vibe of Grace

We all love a freebie. Thus is the vibe of Grace

The Vibe of the Gifts of the Spirit

The Gifts of the Spirit are a bunch of natural and supernatural vibes that allow Christians to behave in a way that is both thoroughly useful and helpful to the church. The general vibe is that they have been provided as a ‘gift’ to believers by none other than the Holy Spirit. In other words, not everyone has them, and they should be treated like they are a special present from God and used with caution. While there is no exact umber of spiritual gifts, Paul provides a menu to choose from. Some have a gift that allows them to dictate messages given to them directly from God (Prophesy). Similarly, others are given supernatural insights about God (Wisdom). Others instinctively understand the truths held in the Bible (Knowledge). Some have such ironclad belief that allows them to enter fiery furnaces without fear (Faith). Some can heal people without using medicine and can bend space-time, defying the laws of physics to make incredible things happen (Healings and Miracles). Some are able to tell instantly if others who appear to be spiritual are inspired by God or the dark side (Discerning of spirits). A favourite among many Christians is the ability to speak random words that apparently mean nothing but which fall on God’s ears like warm honey (Tongues). This is sadly only rarely accompanied by the equally important gift of working out what the heck is being said (Interpreting tongues). Other spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible are serving, teaching, encouraging, contributing to the needs of others, being a good leader and showing mercy. What is very clear is that these gifts are not for Christians to brag about or show off with at parties. Nor are they something that one believer can use to compare themselves with another. They are here to build up and support the church. End of.

General vibe of the Gifts of the Spirit: God’s toolbox.

Factvibe: The word charisma comes from the Greek charismata meaning spiritual gift.

This is a gift. The Gifts of the Spirit are completely different and don't come ready-wrapped

This is a gift. The Gifts of the Spirit are completely different and don’t come ready-wrapped

The Vibe of Enoch

Enoch’s vibe is a short one, mainly because God cuts him off in his prime and whisks him away to Heaven while he’s still alive, a privilege that only Elisha and Jesus go on to enjoy. Despite his early departure, Enoch is actually three hundred and sixty five years old. However, this makes him a mere youth compared to his son Methuselah who manages to reach the grand old age of nine hundred and sixty nine. The vibe of the super centenarians ends with Noah’s flood, when God decides that no one should live much more than 120 years – a vibe which still stands. Despite his premature departure, Enoch writes three books, none of which make it into the Bible. However, they tell how Enoch, once he has been removed from Planet Earth, becomes chief of the angels and God’s primary aide, tasked with carrying out God’s decrees like some kind of celestial vice president. No doubt the scholars who pulled the Bible together found it hard to separate the man from his legend and so wisely kept his vibes on their ‘to do’ list and marked them ‘non-urgent’.

General vibe of Enoch: Close but no cigar

Factvibe: Despite only getting a mention in a few verses of Genesis, all of Enoch’s books were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Vice President of Heaven. The vibe of Enoch

Vice President of Heaven. The vibe of Enoch