Category Archives: Teaching

The Healing Miracles of Jesus Recorded in Luke

Healing Peter's mother-in-law by John Bridges, 19th century. Mark 1:29-31, Luke 4:38-41 and Matthew 8:14-15.
Healing Peter’s mother-in-law by John Bridges, 19th century. Mark 1:29-31, Luke 4:38-41 and Matthew 8:14-15.

The following are notes and Materials we used when teaching a class on January 7th, 2015 at Good Samaritan Ministries in Beaverton.  The class was on the Healing Miracles of Jesus Recorded in Luke.

For setting, we set the class up with a row of seats back to back in the middle, with a perimeter of seats in the shape of a U around this row.  It gave the class a feel that they were in a doctor’s waiting room and served to drive interaction.

We began the class by recounting a recent medical incident that involved a bit of drama.  You can use a similar story of your own or borrow ours:  Narrative of Medical Incident – Intro

We then handed out the following medical questionaire to the class.  As you will see, it was a bit daunting (the attendees did come under the impression that they were attending a Bible class, after all):  In Depth Medical History Form

If you prefer, start with something lighter such as:  Medical History Form

In both cases, it is important to get the class thinking about their family as well, so a Family Medical History Questionnaire is in order:  Family Medical History Form

As the class is filling these out, move through the outline, asking questions about recent experiences at the doctor, etc.  Try to get people focused on the concept of healing.  Key questions:  What does healing look like?  What form does it take?  How do you know when you are healed or have healed someone?

Refer to the class outline “When the Silence Comes, the Healing Takes Place” for a full narrative where the facilitator plays the role of Luke for the audience, telling them about Jesus, the doctor.  This outline also contains the key questions to the class for this teaching.

About halfway through this narrative, where Luke refers to the “Last Page” of the forms, direct them to this surprisingly simple and profound “Healing Eligibility Questionnaire.

You can either have this form at the back of the other questionnaires you have handed them or pretend that you forgot to give it to them, and that it is really the only form that is required.  In the class we taught, we pretended to forget it and people were as relieved to see it as they were shocked to recieve the first, exhaustive round of forms.

Raising of Jairus' Daughter by Paolo Veronese, 1546. Mark 5:21–43, Matthew 9:18–26, Luke 8:40–56
Raising of Jairus’ Daughter by Paolo Veronese, 1546. Mark 5:21–43, Matthew 9:18–26, Luke 8:40–56

You then will hand out a “Frequently Asked Questions” sheet to the class which will cause them to think deeply about healing in the Biblical context.

Now that the introduction to the material has taken place, the class is prepared to hear the miracles.  We have identified the following passages in Luke as containing references to a healing miracle.  The teacher is to read them, one by one aloud and allow the Lord to guide them in their teaching one another:

Luke 4:23-27, 31-37, 38-39, 40-41

Luke 5:12-16, 17-26

Luke 6:6-11, 17-19

Luke 7:1-10, 11-17, 21-30

Luke 8:26-39, 40-56

As you ask around the room, you will be astonished at how many people have witnessed a healing miracle.  In our class, one women shared that she had seen her daughter raised from the dead in the 1980’s, and that her son, who had a severe developmental disorder, had been dead twice and both times was resuscitated.

Resurrection of the Widow's son from Nain, altar panel by Lucas Cranach the Younger, c. 1569, in the Stadtkirche Wittenberg. Luke 7:11-17
Resurrection of the Widow’s son from Nain, altar panel by Lucas Cranach the Younger, c. 1569, in the Stadtkirche Wittenberg. Luke 7:11-17

Luke 9:1-6, 10-11, 37-43

Luke 10:1-12

Luke 13:10-17, 32-33

Luke 14:1-6

Luke 17:11-19

Luke 18:35-43

Luke 19:1-10

Luke 22:50-51

It is astonishing that Jesus healed even as he was being betrayed on the Mount of Olives.

In reviewing these miracles, you can see Luke, as a physician, gave a great deal of importance to the Healings Jesus performed.

Two key insights that were gained when we gave the class on the 7th were, first, that healing can be defined as the continuity/alignment of the spirit, mind, and body.  Second, that physical death is a form of healing.

At the end of the class, return to the questions on the Healing Eligibility questionnaire.  Ask them again.

To close, we prepared a PowerPoint presentation of artist’s depictions of the Healing Miracles found in Luke.  The PowerPoint can be downloaded here: Healing Miracles of Jesus in Luke PowerPoint

You can see the PowerPoint put to music below:

Close the class in prayer.

We pray that this teaching will heal all those who teach and hear it, for it is the power of the Living God within us all to heal, if only we believe.

You can see how the teaching went on January 7th, 2015 at GSM in Beaverton in the video below.  We didn’t get to the slideshow, but somehow it did not matter.  The healing came to us.

Do The Right Thing

10/22/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

The financial world took a big step closer towards a new currency over the past week.  First came revelations that the US Treasury increased its net debt by $1 Trillion in ONE MONTH, which, in and of itself is shocking.  Perhaps not coincidentally, Bitcoin prices blew through the $200 mark once again.  We have written extensively on why Bitcoin is likely to rise, you can purchase a copy of what is now our most popular ebook on a number of ereading platforms here:

Bitcoins: What they are and how to use them
Bitcoins: What they are and how to use them

Bitcoins:  What they are and how to use them

Today, we turn our attention to the area of morality here at The Mint.  We must warn you, however, that what you are about to read may turn everything that you once understood about ethics and morality on its head. Read on at your own risk.

Do the Right Thing

“Ask not what you are to do, for you are called to do the right thing, not the expedient thing, not the easy thing, but the right thing.  You will know what the right thing to do is when you learn to see your neighbor not as a rival, but as a brother.”

From our youth, when we were confronted with a form of temptation or, perhaps more commonly, the opportunity to choose between selfish gain or pursuing the good of others, we were often exhorted by our elders with a phrase that is both etched in our memory and charged with meaning: “Do the right thing.”

The phrase is alive and well today and continues to drip with authority, for it implies that in the situation that is being confronted, there exists a common body of knowledge which, if consulted, would lead the person confronted with the opportunity to “Do the right thing,” with an obvious course of action.

When this phrase is uttered, more often than not it is uttered by a person whose good intentions are matched only by their complete lack of a direct interest in the outcome of whatever is transpiring.  It is also often uttered by someone who, if they were to be in your shoes, would more often than not be completely incapable of “doing the right thing” that they benevolently have advised you to do.

Today, we hear the phrase in discourses by those charged with national government. In this context, even the feigned benevolence which is the hallmark of the way the phrase is delivered in political settings is overshadowed by the fact that by “doing the right thing,” the politician invariably means “submit to my will and ask no questions.”

Imperial governance, which is the form that the world labors under today, is paradoxically predicated on categoric refusal to “do the right thing,” as, at its base, modern governance results in the enslavement of men and women via a myriad of rules and threats in order to convince them to render tribute and allegiance.  We have explored this phenomenon thoroughly in our volume entitled “What is Truth?  On the Nature of Empire.”  The inescapable irony which engulfs every utterance of the phrase by a public official means that, at this point, we cannot hold a straight face when we hear it.

To draw on a recent example, when the President states that Congress must “Do the right thing” and fund the government, the statement may have been the most presumptuous ever to escape human lips, for the underlying assumption is that whatever the government does is right, which is, from most rational and religious standpoints, absolutely incorrect.

Politics aside, at its base, even the seemingly disinterested “do the right thing” offered by a friend,a parent, or colleague is a thinly cloaked act of moral superiority on display, for the phrase is all too often offered as thinly veiled advice which, once decrypted, is read to imply “do what I want you to do.”

If the term has indeed been hijacked to lay claim to the moral high ground in a debate, shaky as it may be, humankind must strive to understand the noble origins of this seemingly important and universal saying.

Life is complicated, and, contrary to what many would say, it does not come with an instruction manual which tells humanity what is categorically right and wrong in all situations which we may encounter.

For this reason, the Bible, which we believe to be the closest thing to a users manual, reads not like a how to or self-help book, but a series of events where people, both individually and corporately, are thrown into unimaginably complex and dire situations (once one looks beyond the surface to understand the Biblical settings) ostensibly to see what they will do.  The question that is being asked constantly of the Biblical characters as well as each and every human being today is this:

Will we do the right thing?

Doing the right thing is beyond important, it is imperative that anyone who is genuinely seeking God and His Kingdom Do the right Thing at all times that the circumstances demand them to choose a course of action.

However, what constitutes doing the right thing in any given circumstance is not a matter of democratic preference or legislative action, it is purely a mater left to God and the individual of whom the right thing is required, for it is they and they alone to whom the ability and intuition has been given to make these life and death determinations.

The right thing cannot be legislated or encouraged, it can only be done or not done.  Each time it is done, the Kingdom of God draws near to us all.  Each time it is neglected, we all suffer the consequences.

So Do the right thing and, more importantly, be close to God, for it is He who is the only judge of such matters. The logic can be carried further to imply that everyone who utters the phrase “do the right thing,” to someone who is faced with a difficult situation is, perhaps unknowingly, both usurping God’s role as well as inhibiting that person’s ability to learn for themselves how to choose the right thing, which is an ability that all of mankind must learn deeply and permanently.  The right thing is a lesson that can only be learned through personal experience and exercise of one’s own decision-making processes.

This however, does not mean that the right thing must be learned on the field of battle.  There are more often than not subtle clues which will guide us as to which situations demand us to respond by doing the right thing as well as what the right thing to do is.  For instance, in our observation doing the right thing often involves an initial sacrifice to be made of time or resources.  It is often a choice to pay the cost.  While it is not universal, this minor detail is often a clue that one is doing the right thing.

Only those with a perfect knowledge of all of the circumstances involved are qualified to ultimately judge what is right or wrong.  Even in the hypothetical case that the actors are in a position to understand all of the circumstances involved, the observation is limited by our über short human timelines which ignore the concept of eternal justice.

Doing the right thing is imperative, and all human judgement as to what the right thing is in any specific circumstance is null and void unless it is agreed upon by all parties who are directly (not indirectly) affected by a course of action.

Perhaps the distinction is best illustrated in the Gospels.  While the religious leaders were left legislating the right thing, Jesus was doing it.  It is a contrast that is emphasized for a reason, for the doing the right thing is deeply personal and immensely powerful.

There is one thing and one thing only that one can be absolutely certain that is always the right thing to do from an eternal perspective:  Forgive

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus!

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for October 22, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.28
Oil Price per Barrel: $97.78
Corn Price per Bushel: $4.38
10 Yr US Treasury Bond: 2.51%
Mt Gox Bitcoin price in US: $208.76
Gold Price Per Ounce: $1,341
MINT Perceived Target Rate*: 0.25%
Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
Inflation Rate (CPI): 0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 15,468
M1 Monetary Base: $2,515,000,000,000
M2 Monetary Base: $10,867,000,000,000

What it takes to succeed, three great articles that contain more wisdom than many MBA courses

In today’s fast changing world, it is increasingly important to maintain one’s competitive edge.  Technological breakthroughs are either eliminating jobs or shifting work around at a breakneck pace and if one is to survive and thrive under such conditions, complacency is not an option.

The following are three great articles which are worth a read by anyone working to gain, maintain, or increase their competitive edge.

First, Keld Jensen over at Forbes lo

What is Money? By David Mint
What is Money? By David Mint

oks at what it takes to succeed, and it may not be what you think.  We were once told that a good heart would take us further than good grades.  In our experience, this has proven true.  Jensen appears to agree in this great read:

Intelligence is overrated:  What you really need to succeed

Next, Geoffrey James over at shares the core beliefs of great bosses.  Again, great stuff that we have observed as well.  Especially the first one he lists, “Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.”  We are truly all in this together, and great managers and leaders recognize this as a basic truth:

Management secrets:  Core beliefs of great bosses

Rounding out the trio is a piece on productivity by Ilya Pozin again at  Timely advice in a world were the need to communicate is trumping the need to produce:

7 Things highly productive people do

Next time you are in an entrepreneurial rut or feeling stuck, refer to these articles to get your groove back on track.

The 800 Pound Gorilla and Pacioli’s Gift

3/27/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today, we present to you the “postre” of our most recent eBook offering, which we have entitled, after much deliberation,

Pacioli’s Gift or Bernanke’s Curse?

It is slated to arrive on digital shelves this evening.  What started as a book about the irony of dual-entry accounting enabling central banking, therefore making man’s greatest wealth producing innovation the agent of his greatest wealth destroying menace.

While it accomplishes this, it naturally spreads its tentacles into sound money, economic thought, and monetary history.

Enjoy desert, the main course will be available shortly.


While free markets and Free Banking represent mankind’s best hope for averting disaster, many people look at the scene on the water bed and side with the 300 pound man, who represents the central bankers of the world.  After all, isn’t he the only one taking action to capture and sedate the 800 pound gorilla, whom in our metaphor represents the world’s financial markets?

Luca_Pacioli_Gemaelde by Jacopo de' Barbari circa 1496
Summa de Arithmetica, Geometrica, Proportioni et Proportionale – Pacioli’s great gift to Western Civilization

What this analysis fails to recognize is that the best course of action when dealing with an 800 pound gorilla is to observe it from a distance.  Once the gorilla feels like it has an understanding of its surroundings, it will become docile and predictable unless it gets hungry or senses danger.  If the gorilla gets hungry, one should let it find something to eat.  If it senses danger, one’s reaction should not be to calm the gorilla, rather, to focus on the source of the gorilla’s agitation and act accordingly.

The 800 pound gorilla is not the problem.  In fact, it can often be counted on to recognize threats and, even though its reactions may seem unpredictable, gyrations in financial markets serve as early warning signs to potential economic problems on the horizon.  Once recognized, economic imbalances can be recognized and remedied.

To silence the gorilla, or the gyrations in the financial markets, is to rob mankind of an important early warning system.  Circa 2013, as the efforts of the world’s central bankers to sedate the gorilla by force escalate, many a Chihuahua (our metaphor’s personification of the government) is getting trampled and the water bed of world economic activity is on the verge of springing any number of leaks.

This is an outcome that Luca Pacioli could not have envisioned, for he lived in an age and in a place where Free Banking and free markets were more or less givens.  It was an age where capital formation was accelerating and the capital base from which we still operate today was being formed.  All thanks to Pacioli’s unwitting effort to disseminate the methods of dual-entry accounting throughout western civilization from his humble Franciscan abode.

While it is a great irony that a Franciscan Monk, sworn to poverty, would refine and articulate the greatest wealth generating innovation known to mankind, it is an even greater irony that this innovation would enable the large-scale employment of man’s greatest threat to this wealth, modern central banking.

The unconventional measures employed by the world’s central bankers in increasing measures over the past 100 and are not only failing to achieve their stated goals of increasing employment and economic growth, they are triggering what is quickly becoming an unmitigated disaster in the fixed income markets.  These markets, once the bedrock of global finance, have now been conditioned to do nothing more than attempt to front run the central banks’ interest rate cues up and down the yield curve.

Fortunately, the choice of whether to use Pacioli’s gift for good or for evil is always at hand.  Even as the world suffers under the grip of modern central banking, the ultimate solution of Free Banking, the banking that Pacioli and the Venetian merchants had assumed would always exist, is waiting in the wings to save mankind from its own penchant for error.  In fact, Free Banking is not something that requires a great deal of compromise and administrative rule writing as most modern legislation does.

Free Banking operates under the rules of natural law, and it can be implemented via a simple political decision to get off of the water bed and leave the gorilla alone.

Unfortunately, it is a political decision that modern governments, whose fate and existence depends upon the modern central banking model, will never take on their own.  In the absence of political action, it will take the wholesale collapse of the central bank itself to rid the world of its menace.

It is the catastrophe to come, and it will leave the fortunes of many laid waste as it indiscriminately dismantles the erroneous divisions of labor and implied daily activities that it has caused mankind to organize itself under.

It is not a question of if, but when.  For modern central banking will eventually give way to Free Banking out of necessity.  When it happens, mankind will be allowed to continue its self-correcting path toward civility and peace.

And Luca Pacioli, if not Christopher Columbus, will be vindicated.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for March 27, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.45
Oil Price per Barrel:  $96.69
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.35
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.85%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,605 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.7%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,526
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,368,600,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,521,800,000,000

The Presumption of a Monetary Constant

3/26/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today, we offer a second course on the menu of our upcoming eBook release, Pacioli’s Gift vs. Bernanke’s Curse, it is a chapter on the importance of a monetary constant when employing the methods of dual entry accounting.  Enjoy!

The Presumption of a Monetary Constant

Luca Pacioli was first and foremost a mathematician.  He understood that mathematics relies upon certain constants to remain, well, constant in order for the calculations that depended upon them to be meaningful.  Whether or not Pacioli was conscious of the fact, implicit in his presentation of the methods of dual entry accounting is the assumption that the money in which he was directing merchants to keep their accounts on the basis of was sound money.  The use of the monetary unit as a unit of account implies that he understood that money was to the economic world what constants were to mathematical calculations.

Also implicit in his assumption was that the monetary units which were to be used as units of account on the accounting ledger contained a constant weight of silver or gold which existed in the natural world.  Silver and gold that had been hewn out of the ground and struck into coinage of a set weight and metallic alloy by the men at the old Zecca, the Mint of Venice in the Rialto district which preceded its famous successor was completed in 1545.  This was an important assumption, as dual entry accounting only works when the accounts balance.  By design, it implies that physical goods are in existence or are reasonably expected to come into existence and become available for exchange.

When Pacioli penned Summa, the Venetian Zecca was one of the largest and most reputable mints in the world.  This reputation was born in no small part of a scandal at the Zecca which consummated with the Doges, who ruled Venice at the time issuing a decree on the 11th of November, 1457 against then noted variations in the weight and purity of the gold and silver coins that the Mint at Venice.  As a result of this renewed commitment to monetary purity, the coins which circulated in Pacioli’s time and locale, the Silver Ducat, Soldo, Lira Sequin, and Gold Ducat, served as the standard of trade in the world known to Pacioli.

Given that the Venetian merchants could count on this sound monetary standard on which to base their accounts and, by extension, their choice of activities, their use of dual entry accounting not only benefited their own interests, but had the side effect of benefiting all who circulated and traded the Venetian coinage, whether or not they had mastered the art of dual entry accounting.

Luca_Pacioli_Gemaelde by Jacopo de' Barbari circa 1496
Summa de Arithmetica, Geometrica, Proportioni et Proportionale – Pacioli’s great gift to Western Civilization

For those who had mastered the art of dual entry accounting in this environment, the ability to properly recognize and record their transactions and to make sense of the results gave them a sort of super power.  This super power, the ability to recognize the value of transactions over longer time horizons and therefore direct investments over longer time horizons, was further refined by Pacioli, who employed the use of Arabic numerals and proposed a system of mercantile accounting that could apply uniformly to all trades and nations.

However, dual entry accounting, as mankind is now coming to understand, is a two-edged sword.  For dual entry accounting to work in favor of those who practice and/or rely upon it, the unit of account must hold a stable value.  The assumption of the relatively stable value of the monetary unit in relationship to the natural world is essential for interpreting the primary output of dual entry accounting, the profit or loss signal.  The stable unit of account is also essential when evaluating the worth and employment of items that are represented by entries to the balance sheet, upon which the profit or loss signal ultimately depends.

In short, the stability of the monetary unit of account was essential if dual entry was to be relied upon for sound decision-making.

For the Venetians, this requirement was met by virtue of their relatively stable monetary unit.  As such, the Venetian Mercantile class rose to dominate the Western world.  Indeed, with few notable exceptions, dual entry accounting has rendered an invaluable service to mankind and has allowed human progress to follow a generally upward trajectory in terms of material well-being ever since Pacioli made his bequeath to mankind.

As a stable currency enables the super powers of dual entry accounting to operate, an unstable currency, of which there are numerous examples in the largest economies in the world today, circa 2013, is its kryptonite.  A currency that does not have a relatively stable value over long time horizons, specifically the time horizons required for large-scale investments of capital to be planned with the precision required for them to be successful, serves to render the gift of Pacioli powerless.

In doing so, an unstable currency threatens to take mankind from the comfort of their large screen televisions, sofas, and smart phones, and throw them back into the dark ages, from which the world that Pacioli lived in had recently emerged.

In the irony of ironies, mankind has unwittingly made use of Pacioli’s gift to create the largest system of unstable currency that the world has ever known, the one that has operated for the past 100 years.  This disastrous invention is known as central banking, and it has quickly turned the world’s economy into an unmitigated catastrophe waiting to happen.

Stay tuned for the release and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for March 26, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.45
Oil Price per Barrel:  $96.17
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.30
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.91%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,600 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.7%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,560
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,368,600,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,521,800,000,000

Pacioli’s Gift vs. Bernanke’s Curse

3/25/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

As events in the Cyrus experiment continue to unfold.  here at The Mint we are watching from a distance, aghast at the implications.  The sacred rule of the Financial Crisis, the one that shielded most banking clients from taking direct losses as a result of holding their funds in a weak bank in a sovereign nation without the means or the control over its currency to bail them out, has been broken.

Anyone who was unfortunate enough to be holding over 100,000 Euros in a Cypriot bank at the close of business on March 15, 2013, now stands to take a 40% bath on all “uninsured funds.”

This is a warning shot, and if you are reading these words and do not yet understand, let us spell it out loud and clear.  Funds held in banks or financial institutions are sitting ducks for bankrupt governments to line their pockets with.  Any wealth that one wishes to maintain must be kept close at hand in something tangible and trade-able.  Bank accounts are no longer risk free assets.  They never were.

How has the world come to this place, where a government would directly confiscate assets and assume that there would not be severe repercussions?

Luca_Pacioli_Gemaelde by Jacopo de' Barbari circa 1496
Summa de Arithmetica, Geometrica, Proportioni et Proportionale – Pacioli’s great gift to Western Civilization

We have been editing our latest e-book, which will hit digital shelves later this week if all goes well.  It is volume V in our “Why what we use as Money Matters” series.  In it we explore how humanity came to this point in history, what is wrong, and most importantly, the solution.

As an appetizer, we present to you the introduction.  Enjoy!

Pacioli’s Gift vs. Bernanke’s Curse

An Introduction

In response to what has become known as the Financial Crisis of 2008, the Central Bankers of the world have employed nearly every form of monetary alchemy at their disposal in a desperate attempt to maintain the status quo.  The status quo, which in this case means that all commercial banks and sovereign governments remain both liquid and solvent, has become increasingly difficult to maintain as each attempt to stimulate economic growth via ultra low discount rates and quantitative easing has seen a diminishing marginal return in terms of economic growth.  The longer the Central Banks of the world engage in these and other forms of financial alchemy, which in the end serve as futile attempts to defy immutable natural laws, the greater the danger of a complete economic collapse becomes.

The unconventional measures employed by the World’s Central bankers in increasing measures over the past five years are not only failing to achieve their stated goals of increasing employment and economic growth, they are triggering what is quickly becoming an unmitigated disaster in the fixed income markets.  These markets, once the bedrock of global finance, have now been conditioned to do nothing more than attempt to front run the FED and other Central Banks up and down the yield curve.

The action in the financial markets is akin to a 300 pound man, who represents the Central Banks, chasing an 800 pound gorilla, who represents the financial markets, around on a queen sized water bed.  The action is becoming completely unpredictable and downright dangerous.  Throw in the chaotic interventions of a 10 pound chihuahua, who represents the sovereign governments’ meddling in the market financial market mechanisms via commercial banking regulation and tax policy, and the entire situation is a basement flood waiting to happen.

As the chaos on the water bed, which is a metaphor for the wealth of the real world, continues to unfold, it is important to examine and understand, to the extent possible, how humanity has arrived at this critical juncture in history, where a fat man chasing a gorilla while dancing around a chihuahua on a water bed can threaten to damage the wealth of nearly everyone on the planet.

It is the aim of this volume to explore two of the oft overlooked elements that have, each in their own way, given rise to the system which enables a relatively small group of persons to the ability to destroy the accumulated wealth of mankind’s 9,000 years of toil in just over 100.  Dual entry accounting, which we refer to as mankind’s greatest invention, and Central Banking, which we refer to as mankind’s greatest catastrophe.

In the end, we present what is known as “Free Banking” as the antidote for the curse of Central Banking, and the ultimate solution to the current and future financial crises that the world will suffer at the hands of well-meaning Central bankers who, it would appear, are oblivious to the destruction that their chosen profession inflicts on humanity.

Intrigued?  So are we.  Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for March 25, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.44
Oil Price per Barrel:  $94.75
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.33
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.92%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,605 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.7%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,448
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,368,600,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,521,800,000,000

Of Money and Metals: The Operation of a Free Money Supply Explained

We’ve been at it again!  Be the first to download our newest e-book,  now available on Smashwords and Amazon’s Kindle:

Of Money and Metals: The Operation of a Free Money Supply Explained

Of Money and Metals: The Operation of a Free Money Supply Explained is Volume II in the “Why what we use as Money Matters” series. Of Money and Metals presents the fallacies of the current day practice of circulating debt in the place of money and explains the urgent need for and the operation of a free money supply. This volume also explores the phenomenon of Bitcoins and digital currencies.

It is available to our dear readers for free until January 31, 2013 at, just enter coupon code: MA65L

Thank you for your support!

Of Money and Metals by David MInt


The Gospel of John – Jesus’ seven signs – Denouement

1/4/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Were the the apostle John alive today, what would he say to us?  Would we find him wandering alone, like William H. Bonney at the end of Young Guns II?  When asked about Jesus, he might say:

“Did I like him? Hell no; I loved {Him}. You asked me if I have scars? Yessir, I have my scars.”

Perhaps he would introduce himself in the following way:

“I had been looking for the Messiah for as long as I knew of Him.  In John the Baptist, I saw the same eagerness to know the Messiah, and to prepare the way for His coming, so I followed Him.

When Jesus came to be baptized in the Jordan, I knew the it was He, the promised Messiah.  I cannot tell you exactly how, I simply knew.  From that day on, I arose and followed Jesus.

Many wanted to see a sign from Jesus, and He performed many.  For me, they were not necessary.  For I knew, from the moment I saw Him, that Jesus was the savior of the world, and that He loved me.”

The Apostle John
The Apostle John, witness to the watershed moment in human history. How would he finish the game?

60 years after Jesus had risen, John was contemplating his own earthly mortality.  What could he leave behind?  What would he say about Jesus?  What would he share so that the world would be moved as he had been moved by YHWH’s taking on flesh and dwelling amongst us, teaching us how to live, and then giving Himself as the final sacrifice for sin, so that humanity may be reconciled with Him in eternity?  While the seven signs are exceedingly important, John saw it as even more urgent that we focus on Jesus and finish the game.

Again, to quote Billy the Kid in Young Guns II:

“You remember the stories John use to tell us about the the three chinamen playing Fantan? This guy runs up to them and says, “Hey, the world’s coming to an end!” and the first one says, “Well, I best go to the mission and pray,” and the second one says, “Well, hell, I’m gonna go and buy me a case of Mezcal and six whores,” and the third one says “Well, I’m gonna finish the game.” I shall finish the game, Doc.”

How did John finish the game?  He began his gospel with the most definitive statement on who Jesus is that has ever been penned:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it. There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light. The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own, and those who were his own didn’t receive him. 12 But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in his name: 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John testified about him. He cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me, for he was before me.’” 16 From his fullness we all received grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for January 4, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.65
Oil Price per Barrel:  $93.09
Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.80
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.92%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,664
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.8%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,435
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,555,200,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,516,400,000,000

The raising of Lazarus from the dead after the Feast of the Dedication, a prelude to the Passion: The seventh sign

1/3/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today, we begin the new year with the conclusion of our series on the seven signs that Jesus performed which are related in the Gospel of John.  What is taught through these seven signs is of eternal significance.  If you have just now joined us, we recommend reading the following for additional context:

  1. Changing water into wine
  2. Healing of the Official’s son
  3. Healing of the paralytic at Bethesda: parts I and II
  4. The Feeding of the 5000
  5. A hard teaching at Capernaum, Jesus walks on water
  6. The healing of the man blind at birth

Those who have followed the Mint for any time now know that our word is far from the final one on this or any subject.  Rather, we encourage every one of you to allow yourself to be studied by the Holy Scriptures, for if we simply study the scriptures, we will have gained nothing worth saving, but if we allow the scriptures to study us, our lives will be miraculously purified and enriched.  We will leave changed by the power of the Living God at work in us.

With this in mind, we encourage those of you in the Portland area to join us at 6:30pm on Wednesday, January 9th, at Good Samaritan Ministries in Beaverton (click here for a map), where we will attempt to present a portion of this series in a two-hour class format.  It is little time and we can only hope to scratch the surface, but at the same time, gathering in the synagogue, as it were, allows the Holy Spirit to move among us and transform us in ways that are impossible through individual study.

We now move into the seventh sign, the sign that proved once and for all that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah, foretold by the prophets and seen by Isaiah 700 years earlier, and that all of humanity can have eternal life in Him.

Again, Jesus had performed many signs, of which John, the disciple who shared Isaiah’s spirit and was perhaps closer to Jesus than any other disciple, witnessed more than any other person.  Of the many, John chose to relate seven of them when he penned his Gospel some 60 years later.  While the previous six signs are important, none was more important in John’s eyes than the seventh sign.

It was the sign that proved He is YHWH, and the sign that sealed His fate on earth:  The raising of Lazarus from the dead.

After Jesus’ decision to attend the Festival of Booths, it is not clear in the Gospel of John whether or not He ever returned to the Galilee.  From what we can tell, His initial reluctance and subsequent decision to attend the Festival of Booths were an indication that Jesus was assenting to complete His mission, the salvation of the world, on the upcoming Passover.

The air in Judea and Jerusalem was thick with tension.  In Palestine, politics and religion are deeply intertwined, and it is impossible to understand what is occurring in one sphere without recognizing the influences of the other upon it.

After walking on water to His Disciples and healing the man blind from birth, Jesus had set Himself on a collision course with the Jewish authorities.  With the benefit of hindsight, it may seem obvious that the Jews would want to eliminate Jesus.

Why the animosity towards Jesus?

However, to the casual observer, both in first century Palestine and today, it is difficult to understand why the Jewish leadership would seek to kill the Messiah.  Was not He the one who would remove the oppressors, set the captives free, and declare the year of the Lord’s favor for them?  Was this not the fulfillment of YHWH’s promise which had been proclaimed by Israel’s greatest prophets seven centuries before?

The answer to this question can be found by examining the condition of the Jewish leadership of the day.  In the first century, Palestine was under Roman control.  The Romans ruled with an iron fist, and moved quickly to squash rebellion.  The Jewish leadership, down to the priesthood, which had previously been bestowed by virtue of heredity, was now a post appointed by the Roman authorities.  As such, the hand picked Jewish leaders in Judea found themselves responsible for managing the delicate balance of Jewish nationalism and submission to Roman authorities.

Naturally, those appointed were those who had mastered the art of compromise, and used their appointments to play one side off of the other, often to great personal advantage.

As the Maccabeans had done nearly two centuries earlier, Jesus was exposing the hypocrisy and extortion which was rampant in the ranks of the Jewish priesthood.  At the same time, He was restoring the faith of the people in YHWH.

The Jewish leaders began to fear another revolt of the type which had temporarily freed the Jews from the Seleucid Empire and overthrew the Jewish elite of the day, who had compromised the Jewish religion to the point of allowing Greek gods to be erected in the Temple and pigs to be butchered on the altar, on the Sabbath.

The Feast of the Dedication: Hanukkah

In 168 BCE, roughly 200 years earlier, Antiochus IV, then ruler of the Seleucid empire, had Judaism outlawed.  This sparked a revolt of devout Jews against the empire which would become known as the Maccabean revolt of 167-160 BCE.  The Maccabeans were successful in establishing a Jewish commonwealth which would last for 100 years.

A Menorah in Donetsk Ukraine Photo by Andrew Butko
A Menorah in Donetsk Ukraine
Photo by Andrew Butko

The celebration of the success of the Maccabean revolt is celebrated today.  It is known as Hanukkah, the Festival of lights.  In Jesus’ day, it was known by its Greek name, The Feast of the Dedication, acknowledging the re dedication of the Temple to YHWH by the Maccabeans.

Then, in 63 BCE, the Romans annexed Judea into their Empire in violent fashion.  When Jesus arrived on the scene, the Jewish elite, not unlike their counterparts under the Seleucid rule of Judea, had assumed a position of compromise, appealing to the people to tolerate the Roman rule in exchange for a measure of religious autonomy.  An autonomy that both the Jewish ruling class and the Romans used to exploit the population under the cover of religious observances, among other things.

At this point we call to the reader’s attention the incident where Jesus clears the Temple, related by John in chapter 2 of his Gospel:

12 After this, he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they stayed there a few days. 13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. 15 He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew their tables. 16 To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will eat me up.”
18 The Jews therefore answered him, “What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple! Will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he spoke of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this, and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

Jesus was passionate about Judaism and true worship of YHWH.  After the events which took place during the Festival of Booths, is should come as no surprise that Jesus would again show up in Jerusalem at the Temple, openly declaring that He is the Son of God, at the Feast of the Dedication.

Jesus had declared sternly that the religious leaders of the day are, “not my sheep.”  He seemed to affirm the line that was already drawn in the sand, pitting the devout Jews against the Jewish elite.  In doing so, the devout Jews assumed that Jesus was going to stir up the next Maccabean revolt and once again, “re dedicate” the Temple to YHWH.  The ruling elite took this threat of revolt, along with the increasingly personal attacks against them which Jesus explicitly and implicitly implied in His teachings, and began to plot in earnest to eliminate Jesus before He gained a wider following among the people.

For even if He was the Messiah, Jesus, through righteousness and the power of God, posed a direct threat to the status quo, a status quo which had allowed the Jewish elite not only to maintain the semblance of a Jewish quasi state and religious system, but more importantly, their appointed position as religious leaders and intermediaries between the Jewish nation and Rome.  It was a system that had made them very wealthy and at the same time extremely vulnerable.  Were the system to crash, it would come toppling down directly on top of them.

Enter Caiaphas

This seemingly complex relationship between a nation awaiting their promised Messiah and the leaders of that nation taking great pains to prevent the Messiah from appearing is embodied in a man named Caiaphas.

Christ before Caiaphas by Mattias Stom
Christ before Caiaphas by Mattias Stom

Caiaphas was the Roman appointed high priest during this tempestuous time.  He was appointed in a semi-nepotistic way, as is the custom in most corrupt leadership structures.  While attempting to maintain the status quo and at the same time appear religious, Caiaphas, as high priest, had famously prophesied that:

“…Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” – John 11:52

Such was the state of mind of the Jewish leadership of the day.  Their vulnerability and greed had ultimately pitted their will against the will of YHWH, the God whose observances they were charged with carrying out.

It is important to note that Caiaphas, as were most of the Jewish elite of the day, was a member of the Sadducee sect, a line of Judaism which denied spiritual phenomena associated with the afterlife.  This put them in opposition to many other branches of Judaism as well as Jesus, as they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, a belief system which lends itself to a situational system of morality in which the right thing is more often than not what is expedient at the moment.

It was Caiaphas who was involved in the Sanhedrin trial of Jesus, likely as chief prosecutor.

The Raising of Lazarus

After the Feast of Dedication, Jesus again left Jerusalem, presumably under the threat of detention and physical harm.  He went not home to Galilee but beyond the Jordan where John the Baptist had baptized Him just three short years before.  It was the place where His earthly ministry had begun.  Many people came to Jesus in that holy place, and put their faith in Him.

It is there, in the wilderness, that we find Jesus in the days before He performs what John, and this author believe to be the most important miracle of His earthly ministry.  We pick up the narrative in John 11:1-54:

Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus, was sick. The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, “Lord, behold, he for whom you have great affection is sick.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that God’s Son may be glorified by it.” Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When therefore he heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let’s go into Judea again.”

The disciples told him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and are you going there again?”

Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10  But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light isn’t in him.” 11 He said these things, and after that, he said to them, “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may awake him out of sleep.”

12 The disciples therefore said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”

13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep. 14 So Jesus said to them plainly then, “Lazarus is dead. 15  I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe. Nevertheless, let’s go to him.”

16 Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus,*{Note: “Didymus” means “Twin”}. said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go also, that we may die with him.”

17 So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia†{Note: 15 stadia is about 2.8 kilometers or 1.7 miles} away. 19 Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20 Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21 Therefore Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. 26  Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”

28 When she had said this, she went away, and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, “The Teacher is here, and is calling you.”

29 When she heard this, she arose quickly, and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was in the place where Martha met him. 31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” 32 Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 and said, “Where have you laid him?”

They told him, “Lord, come and see.”

35 Jesus wept.

36 The Jews therefore said, “See how much affection he had for him!” 37 Some of them said, “Couldn’t this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?”

38 Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”

40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?”

The Raising of Lazarus by Duccio di Buoninsegna 1310-11 Kimball Art Museum
The Raising of Lazarus by Duccio di Buoninsegna 1310-11

41 So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I thank you that you listened to me. 42  I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

44 He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth.

Jesus said to them, “Free him, and let him go.”

45 Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done. 47 The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, “What are we doing? For this man does many signs. 48 If we leave him alone like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

49 But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is advantageous for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” 51 Now he didn’t say this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day forward they took counsel that they might put him to death. 54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews, but departed from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim. He stayed there with his disciples.

While in Barcelona, we had the opportunity to play the role of Lazarus in a stage adaptation of the book “The Jesus I never knew,” by Philip Yancey.  As you can imagine, there was not much to do.  The people mourned and I lay there in bandages from head to foot.  They filmed a video short which showed one of the disciples kneeling at my side.  He then abruptly rose and ran off to locate Jesus.  It was a helpless feeling, yet the faith of the disciple, however far fetched, gave us cause for hope.

In this dramatization, we saw that the disciple’s faith in who Jesus was raised us from the dead, and that it was this same faith in YHWH that raised Jesus from the dead.

Will we listen when He calls us out?  Will we call others out from death to life?

In raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus put to rest any latent speculation that He was the Son of God.  Lazarus had been dead for four days.  The situation was so hopeless that Martha, Lazarus’ sister, was compelled to give a canned religious answer, as many of us do when faced with a seemingly impossible situation, in order that Jesus might save face (verses 21-26 above):

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22 Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. 26  Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

The resurrection is here and now.  The seven signs presented by John bear a unique witness to this, for John had known this all along.  Both the religious leaders, who feared Jesus, and the devout Jews, who were disappointed in Him, missed the point, and in the end condemned Jesus and abandoned Him in turn.

In contrast, the disciple that Jesus loved stayed by Him through the trial and to the very end on the cross.  Jesus asks John to take care of His mother, Mary, perhaps the highest honor that He could bestow on earth.  While Peter got the church and all of its issues, John would get to continue to know Jesus through His mother’s eyes.

Will we stay by Jesus through accusations and disappointments?  Will he give us something to care for, or a unique gift of insight?

We pray that you have been both blessed and challenged in your faith as we have in exploring the seven signs.

We leave you with the words or our Lord Jesus:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. 26 Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for January 3, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.67
Oil Price per Barrel:  $92.81
Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.89
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.90%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,664
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,391
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,555,200,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,516,400,000,000

The healing of the man blind at birth during the Festival of Booths: The sixth sign

12/31/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

We continue our series on the the seven signs that Jesus performed which are related in the Gospel of John.  If you have just now joined us, we recommend reading the following for additional context:

  1. 1.     Changing water into wine
  2. 2.    Healing of the Official’s son
  3. 3.    Healing of the paralytic at Bethesda: parts I and II,
  4. 4.   The Feeding of the 5000, and
  5. 5.    A hard teaching at Capernaum, Jesus walks on water

Additionally, we encourage you to subscribe to or bookmark The Mint for updates as we move through this important series.

As expected, the intensity is building as we approach the sixth sign.  We have stated here before that the disciple John, who witnessed perhaps more of Jesus’ miracles than anyone else during his earthly ministry, chose to include these seven miracles in his Gospel because, through them, we would be able to see Jesus as he had seen Him, as the Messiah, YHWH come to dwell among us.

After the feeding of the 5000 at Bethsaida and Jesus’ subsequent four mile walk on top of a stormy Sea of Galilee to join them in their fishing boat, His disciples, save John, who already knew, suspected that He was someone very special.  The crowds who followed Him were also becoming aware that Jesus was no ordinary rabbi or prophet, and the speculation surrounding Him was increasing.

Also increasing was the ire of the Jewish religious authorities who saw Jesus as a direct threat not only to their religious system, but to the fragile Jewish state which they imagined that they had carved out through a series of compromises with Rome.

Jesus’ open declarations that He is YHWH served as the blunt instrument that the religious authorities used against Him in their religious courts.  However, in order to kill Him, which was fast becoming their ultimate solution, they needed to employ the Roman capital punishment apparatus, as the Romans would not allow the Jewish authorities to execute anyone for obvious reasons.  When it comes to Empire, the authority to kill must lie solely with the central authority.

Sukkot and the days of awe

Under these circumstances, Jesus announced that He would not attend the upcoming Feast of Booths (Tabernacles), or Sukkot, the Jewish Festival which follows Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, which was the holiest day of the year.  Jesus’ initial reluctance to attend the Feast, and ultimate decision to attend, has great significance, both for our understanding of the sixth sign and for Jesus’ future second coming.

As you may recall, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, marks a new beginning.  The Jews believe that on this day the fate of each person for the upcoming year is written by YHWH in the Book of Life. The days (approximately 9) between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, known as the the days of awe, are spent in deep reflection, fasting, and prayer.  It is a time of confession and repentance, it is a time of recognition that we are but dust, yet infinitely precious in YHWH’s sight.

The Jews believe that the fate which is written on Rosh Hashanah is then sealed by YHWH on Yom Kippur, at which point the Feast of Booths begins.  It is our speculation that Jesus made the decision to ultimately attend the Feast of Booths to symbolically seal His fate.  He would give His life for humanity on the upcoming Passover.

Yom Kippur is regarded as the Sabbath of Sabbaths, as such, it is only appropriate that the Jewish leaders who were looking for a reason to kill Him, would carefully observe Jesus in hopes of catching Him breaking their observance of the Sabbath.

The decision to go to Jerusalem

Jesus finally left the Galilee and went to Jerusalem, which was abuzz with rumors regarding Him, in secret..  We are told by John that Jesus began to publicly teach in the Temple in the midst of the feast, which we may assume was after Yom Kippur.

The Pool Siloam Map and the Temple in Jersusalem
The Pool Siloam Map and the Temple in Jersusalem

With each man’s fate sealed for the upcoming year, the speculation surrounding Jesus erupted upon His appearance.  Jesus began to publicly expose the hypocrisy of the religious leaders by openly questioning them as to why they were trying to kill Him, if indeed they agreed that He did the works of YHWH?  A straightforward question which was met with accusations that He was a lunatic.

Still, we are told that many believed in Jesus on that day.

That night, rather than staying in Jerusalem, Jesus went up to the mount of Olives, a place that was to have great significance for Him just six months later.

The next morning, Jesus returned to the Temple to teach and finds Himself in the midst of the now famous incident regarding the woman caught in adultery.  This incident, which John relates in Chapter 8:1-11, is revolutionary as, with one simple phrase, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” Jesus shares with them YHWH’s opinion as to what, on the surface, appeared to be a sentence carried out in His name.

For Jesus was making it known that apart from righteousness, “Go and sin no more,” YHWH requires us to forgive the trespasses of others.

Jesus then openly declares that He is God’s son, the Messiah, and further observes that the religious Jews do not even know YHWH, the God they purported to worship through their ceremonies and rituals.  He then begins to offer all freedom from sin in His name.

Naturally, this further offended the religious Jews, who believed that, as they had made it through Yom Kippur, they were once again right with God for the upcoming year.  Being told that they were in sin and did not know God went against everything they believed.  As such, the rhetoric between them and Jesus became more contentious.

So violent was the debate that the religious Jews, some of whom had just set down their stones in recognition of their own unworthiness and God’s mercy, picked them up again, intending to stone Jesus.

Jesus then did what any peacemaker would do, he left the Temple.

However, this was not the end of the matter, for at the Feast of Booths, which Jesus was at first going to forgo attending, many were to come to know and believe in Him as the Son of the Living God, the Messiah.

The Blind man and the pool of Siloam, the sixth sign

Jesus had not gotten far when He and His disciples came across a man who had been blind from birth.  Jesus’ disciples, who were still trying to recover from years of religious abuse, dared to ask Him a question, one that they must have been anxious to ask for some time.  Pointing to the blind man, they asked:

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?”

When one grows up in, or worse, is formally trained up in a religious system, it is natural to attempt to understand all natural phenomenon through a lens of obedience.  If something goes wrong, or is not as it “should be,” it must be because someone has made God upset.  As such, if we can understand what made God upset, we can hope to avoid upsetting God in the future.  If we did this enough, everyone would understand what God expected and be able to do it.  Armed this this knowledge, diseases such as blindness could be cured within a generation  Conversely, the existence of such diseases means that the diseased have failed to please God and therefore deserve to live with their punishment.

The Pool of Siloam by Yoav Dothan
The Pool of Siloam by Yoav Dothan

This is how the many of the Jews, indeed, much of humanity, of the day thought.  It is a scientific thought process which is the hallmark of a religious system.  It is what Jesus came into the world to destroy.

To this question, Jesus replied:

“either did this man sin, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

What is unique about the sixth sign, among other things, is that the man who was healed did not ask Jesus to do anything for Him.  Indeed, as He was blind, and may not even have known that Jesus was near Him.  It is significant that Jesus chose to heal the man in that instant to teach His disciples that the religious/scientific thought process they were using was invalid.

Here is what happened as it is related by John in chapter 9, verses 1-16 of his Gospel:

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him. I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, anointed the blind man’s eyes with the mud, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means “Sent”). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing. The neighbors therefore, and those who saw that he was blind before, said, “Isn’t this he who sat and begged?” Others were saying, “It is he.” Still others were saying, “He looks like him.”

He said, “I am he.” 10 They therefore were asking him, “How were your eyes opened?”

11 He answered, “A man called Jesus made mud, anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash.’ So I went away and washed, and I received sight.”

12 Then they asked him, “Where is he?”

He said, “I don’t know.”

13 They brought him who had been blind to the Pharisees. 14 It was a Sabbath when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 Again therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and I see.”

16 Some therefore of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he doesn’t keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” There was division among them. 17 Therefore they asked the blind man again, “What do you say about him, because he opened your eyes?”

He said, “He is a prophet.”

Hezekiahs tunnel
Hezekiahs tunnel

As the man was not seeking Jesus, we can divine that he was not able to exercise faith, as those who had sought Jesus out in the earlier signs had done.  The man’s healing depended upon his willingness to obey the command of Jesus to wash in the pool of Siloam.

The pool of Siloam, or Shiloh, was located outside of the city walls.  It took a certain amount of discipline for the man to walk away from the entrance to the Temple, past any number of opportunities to wash the mud from his eyes, and to finally wash in the pool of Siloam.  However, in doing so, He gained not only his sight, but played an important, and perhaps unwitting role in further exposing the hypocrisy of the Jewish religious leaders.

For rather than marvel that the man’s sight had been restored, the Jewish religious leaders chose to lament the fact that he had been healed on the Sabbath, and declared that the man who was healed was born in sin.  An extremely mature stance which must have made the man who could now see chuckle at their infantile reaction and seek out the true source of life, Jesus, whom he promptly confessed once Jesus found him, this time with his eyes open, looking for the Messiah.

The significance of the pool of Siloam

It is also significant that Jesus asked the man to wash in the pool of Siloam.  The pool of Siloam was a stone, man made pool which held water which had been diverted from the Gihon spring, Jerusalem’s natural water source, via Hezekiah’s tunnel, which was presumably constructed before the year 701 BCE underneath the City of David.

Hezekiah ordered the tunnel, which at the time was an engineering marvel, to be built in preparation for an imminent invasion of Judah by the Assyrian army.  While Jerusalem sits on cliffs and is naturally well defended, the Gihon spring was distinctly vulnerable, leaving the cities water supply an easy target in the vent of a siege.  Hezekiah had the spring capped off and the water supply diverted covertly, via his tunnel, to an more defensible position.  This position was the pool of Siloam.

It is not coincidental that the pool is mentioned by Isaiah, as we believe that Isaiah and John are kindred spirits.

Isaiah mentions the pool in chapters 8:6, where it is referred to as the “waters of Shiloah,” and in 22:9.  The word Shiloh in Hebrew means “gift” or “he who is sent.”  It is also charged with meaning in light of the prophecy revealed in Genesis 49:10:

 “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs.  To him will the obedience of the peoples be.”

Jesus did not simply send the man away to the pool of Siloam on a whim, a detail that was not lost on John, who saw, as I hope we all do, that everything that Jesus did was charged with divine significance.

As the water from the Gihon spring in Hezekiah’s time, the spiritual fount had been covered at the Temple and was diverted to Shiloah, the pool of Siloam, so that all may drink and be filled.

Later, Jesus would say that He had come so that the blind may see, and that those with sight may become blinded.  He performed the sixth sign as a living reminder of this truth, and it was not lost on John, or any of those who had witnessed it.

Let it not be lost on us either, as we enter an important new year, full of hope and thanksgiving.

Stay tuned for the seventh sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for December 31, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.58
Oil Price per Barrel:  $91.82
Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.98
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.76%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,675
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,104
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,407,600,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,491,100,000,000


A hard teaching at Capernaum, Jesus walks on water: The fifth sign

12/28/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today,  we continue our series on the seven signs that Jesus performed which are related in the Gospel of John.  If you have just now joined us, we recommend reading the following posts:

Changing water into wine, Healing of the Official’s son, the Healing of the paralytic at Bethesda: parts I and II, and The Feeding of the 5000 for additional context, as well as bookmarking or subscribing to The Mint for updates as we move through this important series.

As we observed yesterday, in feeding the 5000, Jesus was not simply solving a large-scale logistical problem, He was leading the crowd and His disciples into his most profound and divisive teaching yet:

The He is the bread of life.

This teaching was so profound that two of the signs which John recorded are associated with it.  The feeding of the 5000 at Bethsaida and the sign that we will explore today, Jesus’ walking on water.

After the miracle of the feeding of the 5000, the people had tried to make Jesus King by force, and we can imagine that they may have openly discussed mounting a revolution.  While those who were against Jesus believed these types of rumors, and ultimately used them to persuade the Romans to use their capital punishment apparatus against Him, the rumors were without basis.

As His Disciples would find out later, Jesus had no interest in becoming King of the Jews, the title which Pontius Pilate placed upon the cross where Jesus was crucified.  Jesus’ sole aim was to bring the Kingdom of YHWH into the hearts of everyone.

For this reason, Jesus departed when the crowd began to plan a revolution on His behalf.  They weren’t getting it.  The kingdoms of men are less than nothing in the eyes of YHWH, they are, in fact, His mortal enemy.  What use is an earthly kingdom to the One by whom all was created?

Jesus’ disciples were perplexed by this, so much so that, when evening came and Jesus did not appear, they decided to get into the boat and head to Capernaum.  Little did they know, they were about to witness the fifth sign which John would later choose to relate in Chapter 6:16-21, for it was the first sign in which Jesus clearly revealed his divine nature:

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 and they entered into the boat, and were going over the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them. 18 The sea was tossed by a great wind blowing. 19 When therefore they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they saw Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing near to the boat; and they were afraid. 20 But he said to them, “It is I AM, Don’t be afraid.” 21 They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat. Immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

The Galilee
The Galilee

By walking, yes, walking, on the surface of the Sea of Galilee from the shore below Bethsaida to a boat that was twenty-five or thirty stadia, which in today’s measures would be 5 to 6 kilometers or 3 to 4 miles, almost at its destination in Capernaum, Jesus allowed His Disciples to witness something that many, save John, had not completely understood before that moment:

That Jesus is YHWH

In the book of Job, chapter 9, verse 8, Job declares the following regarding YHWH:

He alone stretches out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea.

However, in a moment of panic, the Disciples may not have been quick to make this connection.  Jesus’ salutation, “It is I AM,” was what nailed this truth home for them.

It is interesting that John does not focus on the fact that they thought Jesus was a ghost, nor on Peter’s failed attempt to walk towards Jesus through the waves, as Matthew did.  For John knew it was Jesus, and to him, Peter’s failed attempt to walk on the waves was not significant, for he knew that Jesus would save Peter.

John’s laser focus on the Messiah caused him to focus on something entirely different.

Ani hu and Ego eimi

Jesus’ salutation in John 6:20 allows us to highlight something astonishing about the Gospel of John.  John’s intentional use of the Greek phrase “Ego eimi” when Jesus is talking of Himself.  The phrase appears 24 times in the Gospel of John and is the Greek translation of the Hebrew words “Ani hu”, which appears in the original text of the book of Isaiah.  Isaiah used the phrase “Ani hu” as a euphemism for YHWH Himself.

"Walking on Water" By Ivan Aivazovsky 1890
“Walking on Water” By Ivan Aivazovsky 1890

John intentionally uses “ego eimi,” which parallels the translation of Isaiah’s “Ani hu” in the Septuagint {Editor’s note:  The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament} to punctuate the Deity of Jesus.  This Greek term was synonymous with YHWH to the Jewish listener, this is made obvious by the startled reaction of the religious Jews whenever Jesus used this phrase to refer to Himself.

Though Jesus may have actually been speaking Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic on any of the occasions that John inserts the pronoun ego eimi, in all cases the reaction of the Jews serves as proof that Jesus was declaring the He is God.

Just like Isaiah, 700 years before him, John saw the Messiah, and he knew that Jesus and YHWH are one.  While it would take religious scholars centuries to define the concept of the Trinity, John simply knew God, knew Jesus, and knew the gift that Jesus left them.  Above all,he knew that Jesus loved him, and theological details were rendered pointless in light of this truth.

The Bread of Life

Once Jesus had established the fact the He and YHWH are one to his Disciples, they were ready to learn a deep truth.  The truth that would separate those who would believe in Him and accept the radical, life-giving forgiveness that He was offering freely to them from those who simply wanted to place Him at the center of their religious system.

The Disciples were beginning to understand that Jesus is YHWH, and that He was turning the system which was being carried out in His name completely on its head.  It was exciting and terrifying all at once, Just like YHWH Himself.

This truth is so important that it must be read in its entirety, for it has great implications for the Church today.  Will we cling to antiquated forms of worship and service, fitting Jesus in when possible? Or will we allow Him to transform our very souls, to remove the root of sin from us, and let Him make of us the Temple that He has desired to inhabit since the dawn of creation?

John 6:22-71:

22 On the next day, the multitude that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except the one in which his disciples had embarked, and that Jesus hadn’t entered with his disciples into the boat, but his disciples had gone away alone. 23 However boats from Tiberias came near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 When the multitude therefore saw that Jesus wasn’t there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats, and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”

26 Jesus answered them, “Most certainly I tell you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. 27  Don’t work for the food which perishes, but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has sealed him.”

28 They said therefore to him, “What must we do, that we may work the works of God?”

29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

30 They said therefore to him, “What then do you do for a sign, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. As it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heavenGreek and Hebrew use the same word for “heaven”, “the heavens”, “the sky”, and “the air”. to eat.’”Exodus 16:4; Nehemiah 9:15; Psalm 78:24-25

32 Jesus therefore said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, it wasn’t Moses who gave you the bread out of heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33  For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

34 They said therefore to him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36  But I told you that you have seen me, and yet you don’t believe. 37  All those whom the Father gives me will come to me. He who comes to me I will in no way throw out. 38  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39  This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day. 40  This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

41 The Jews therefore murmured concerning him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down out of heaven.” 42 They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How then does he say, ‘I have come down out of heaven?’”

43 Therefore Jesus answered them, “Don’t murmur among yourselves. 44  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. 45  It is written in the prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Isaiah 54:13 Therefore everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me. 46  Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from God. He has seen the Father. 47  Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life. 48  I am the bread of life. 49  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50  This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die. 51  I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews therefore contended with one another, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus therefore said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don’t have life in yourselves. 54  He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55  For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56  He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him. 57  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on me, he will also live because of me. 58  This is the bread which came down out of heaven—not as our fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 He said these things in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

60 Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?”

61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? 62  Then what if you would see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63  It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life. 64  But there are some of you who don’t believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn’t believe, and who it was who would betray him. 65 He said, “For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father.”

66 At this, many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Jesus said therefore to the twelve, “You don’t also want to go away, do you?”

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

70 Jesus answered them, “Didn’t I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 Now he spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for it was he who would betray him, being one of the twelve.

This was taught by Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum, which, as you may recall, is where the official’s son was healed in Jesus’ second sign, which he performed while physically present in Cana, roughly 20 miles away.

Capernaum was the place where Jesus showed us that blind faith is enough.  Here, he was probing to see who amongst the crowd possessed this blind faith.  We can see this in the way He continues to answer each request for proof of His Deity by the Jews with what seems an increasingly illogical claim, up to the point of declaring that unless they eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, they have no part in Him.

While at the time this may have seemed like an extreme bit of Jewish humor, it became charged with meaning in the context of the Cross.  You see, it took the Cross for the Jews to understand how far God would go for them and for all of humanity, so that they might understand the God loves us and forgives us, unconditionally.  All that He asks of us is to strive to love and forgive in the same way.

Will we take the assignment?  All of creation is awaiting our response!

While God has made it clear that He abhors sacrifice, He agreed to sacrifice His own Son, so that we would understand, once and for all, that sacrifice is finished.  There is nothing we can do to please God, apart from believing in Him and moving ever closer to Him.

It is safe to assume that many who witnessed these two signs and then heard Jesus’ teaching at Capernaum afterward had also heard the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus laid out God’s expectations for humanity.  Most of them did not get it, or got it and were looking for an alternative, a list of concrete tasks and observances to absolve their conscience before the Holy One.

There are no alternatives.  What God requires of us is something that only He can give us, a pure heart.  The only way to accept a pure heart is to first realize that we need one, we need God to remove the root of sin from within us.  Everything Jesus taught is pointing towards this.

While it is common to celebrate the communion, the truth of Jesus’ bread of life teaching had nothing to do with food, much less cannibalism.  The truth is that the food we are to desire is God’s Spirit, which he was pouring out even then.  All flesh is wasting away, but the Spirit of YHWH is the fountain of everlasting life.  With God’s Spirit moving in us and through us, we can all become the bread of life for those with whom we come into contact, until they, too, look to the source, God Himself, made known to us through Jesus, who was the first to become the bread of life, and the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, so that we may “always have this bread and drink.”

Are we, like the twelve, still with Him? Are we starting to get it?  Will we see the sixth sign?

Stay tuned for the sixth sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for December 28, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.57
Oil Price per Barrel:  $90.62
Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.94
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.71%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,656
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,938
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,407,600,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,491,100,000,000

The Sabbath conflict and the Feeding of the 5000: The fourth sign

12/27/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

The year is fast escaping us as we continue our series on the the seven signs that Jesus performed which are related in the Gospel of John.  If you have just now joined us, we recommend reading:

Changing water into wine:  The first sign, Healing of the Official’s son:  The second sign, and the Healing of the paralytic at Bethesda: The third sign, parts I and IIfor additional context, as well as bookmarking or subscribing to The Mint for updates as we move through this important series.

On the Sabbath

After relating the healing of the paralytic at Bethesda, John, who had a knack for such things, relates word for word what Jesus said to religious leaders as they rebuked him for healing the paralytic on the Sabbath.  What is ironic about this rebuke, and all of the other instances where Jesus is accused of breaking the Jewish Sabbath, is that Jesus did not perform work in the sense that you and I may think of work.

For instance, he simply told the paralytic to get up, take his mat, and walk.  To the Pharisees who observed this, they quickly saw that Jesus’ speech had caused something to “generate,” in this case, the paralytic’s ability to walk.  In this strict sense, nearly any biological activity undertaken to sustain life would throw one into conflict with the fourth commandment.

As John’s careful choice not to name the specific feast which Jesus is intending implies, Jesus’ specific order to the man to pick up his mat and walk was done in direct challenge of what many rabbis of the day saw at the top of the list of Sabbath violations:  Carrying something outside of one’s home.

The Hebrew words used in the Bible when the Sabbath decrees are given which are translated as “work”, kol-m’law khaw, mean “all and any kind of creative ‘generative’ endeavor, changes to the environment or any object.”  Given this strict definition, it could be said that taking food or drink could lead to a change in the environment.

Given the impossibility of compliance, the Pharisees and other Jewish sects had taken to interpreting the Sabbath restrictions in a way that suited what they deemed necessary to maintain their particular lifestyle.  What they were objecting to, then, was the way Jesus chose to observe the Sabbath.

It is the same today.

For any who struggle with how to obey the fourth commandment, Jesus gave the following advice in Mark 2:27, which is the final word on the subject: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

At this stage in Jesus’ earthly ministry, John began to see what Jesus meant when he declared earlier, in Chapter 2:19 “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  For Jesus had come not to destroy the Jewish nation, but their misguided form of worship, of which the Sabbath observance had become a prime example.

As most agreed that everything Jesus did was good, those who opposed Him had to cling onto when He was doing it in order to prove that He was a traitor and working to subvert the Jewish nation.  Yet Jesus did not intend to destroy the Jewish nation, nor to save it in its present form, rather, he came that we might know that YHWH loves us, and that His forgiveness is unconditional.

This was to prove exceedingly important when the Romans finally decimated Jerusalem in 70 CE.

Hailing back to Isaiah’s time, some 600 years earlier, the Jewish people had been nearly decimated.  The Temple that Solomon had built had been destroyed and along with it, the central focus of the worship of YHWH.  This blow would have meant the end of both a religious system and the ultimate loss of the national identity of those who worshiped YHWH.  Had it not been for the rich Jewish oral tradition, the writings of Isaiah which were carried into Babylon, and rise of the synagogue system in the exile, the Jewish nation would not have survived.

Instead, the Jews quickly adapted to what amounted to, “the sudden disappearance of this avenue (the Temple) of communing with God,” which was a “tragedy of awesome dimensions,” (quotation of Lawrence H. Schiffman, From Text to Tradition, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken, NJ, 1991) and came out of it stronger as a nation.  Judaism took on a new dimension and flourished in the Babylonian exile with prophets such as Ezekiel building upon the understanding that YHWH desired mercy and not sacrifice.

600 years later, with a new Temple funded by Herod, the Jews were falling again down the slippery slope of sacrifice and confining YHWH to the trappings of a building.

Feeding the 5000

After the healing at Bethesda, we are told that Jesus again returned to the Galilee and this time went to the other side of the sea of Galilee.  However, as we observed earlier, Jesus had attracted quite a following in Jerusalem.  John observes that a great multitude” had followed him because of the healings that He had performed.

While many had been healed, Jesus seemed to be more concerned that people not sin rather than that they eat the the right foods and stay healthy.  He did not even seem that concerned with their safety or how they spent their money.  His focus was on avoiding sin, yet he seemed to know that people would have trouble doing this.

From a glance at all four the Gospels, it would appear that Jesus passed much time in the Galilee teaching on the mountains surrounding this picturesque sea.  It is during this time that He preached the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ longest recorded discourse in which He laid out the central tenets of discipleship.  This life changing discourse can be found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7, and must be read and understood by all humanity.

During this time, Jesus receives news that John the Baptist has been killed.  This must have shaken Jesus, not because it surprised him, but because He knew that his time was short, and that the scriptures must soon be fulfilled.

In preparation, Jesus withdrew by boat to a solitary place near Bethsaida to seek YHWH.  He knew that it was time to go deeper.

Predictably, many people followed him to this solitary place near Bethsaida.  Those who followed had come not only to hear Jesus, but in many cases they were there hoping to be healed of a physical ailment, and His hasty withdrawal gave them, too, a sense of urgency.  They hurried after him and many did not bother to make adequate preparations for the journey.

Again, it must be understood that curing physical ailments was not Jesus’ primary intention.  His intention was to draw people to himself that they might be drawn away from sin.  This is what took place at Bethsaida.

Jesus Feeding the 5000 by an unknown artist
Jesus Feeding the 5000 by an unknown artist

It is during this time of deep teaching that Jesus brings out what at the time was his most divisive teaching, one so profound and challenging that it caused a great deal of his disciples to turn back in dismay.

As the multitudes approached Him, Jesus chose to approach this teaching via the fourth sign recorded by John in Chapter 6:5-14:

After these things, Jesus went away to the other side of the sea of Galilee, which is also called the Sea of Tiberias. A great multitude followed him, because they saw his signs which he did on those who were sick. Jesus went up into the mountain, and he sat there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.

Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone of them may receive a little.”

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in that place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 Jesus took the loaves; and having given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who were sitting down; likewise also of the fish as much as they desired. 12 When they were filled, he said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces which are left over, that nothing be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 When therefore the people saw the sign which Jesus did, they said, “This is truly the prophet who comes into the world.” 15 Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

On the surface, the feeding of the 5000 is a miraculous answer to a grave logistical problem caused by the crowds haste to be near Jesus.  Yet it had such a great impact that it is recorded in all four gospels.  However, Jesus did not intend this miracle to be the focal point of the lesson, He wanted to teach His disciples, the 5000, and all who woul listen the following lesson:

That He is the bread of life.

They didn’t get it, and they tried to make Him King by force.  Jesus withdrew again to the Mountain alone to be near to YHWH.

The lesson was so important that it would require a second sign and a challenge, one that would force his disciples to become the first ones to cross the watershed mark of human history.

They had to decide, then and there, who Jesus was to them.  Was He a madman, a witch doctor, or the Son of the Living God?

Stay tuned for the fifth sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for December 27, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.58
Oil Price per Barrel:  $91.43
Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.91
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.72%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,663
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,096
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,407,600,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,491,100,000,000

Healing of the paralytic at Bethesda: The third sign

12/17/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

If you have just recently joined us here at The Mint, we are exploring the seven signs that Jesus performed which are related in the Gospel of John.  We recommend that you begin by reading Changing water into wine:  The first sign, and Healing of the Official’s son:  The second sign, for additional context, as well as bookmarking or subscribing to The Mint for updates as we move through this important series.

We are finding that each sign appears to have a central theme, an overarching lesson that Jesus was teaching.  Perhaps this is why John chose these seven out of the seemingly infinite miracles of Jesus that he had witnessed.  In Changing water into wine, Obedience appears to be central to the operation of the Miracle, in the words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, “Whatever he says to you, do it.”

In healing the Official’s son, the operation of blind faith, believing without seeing, is required, “Go your way. Your son lives.” is Jesus’s response as the Official pleads with Him to journey from Cana to Capernaum to heal his son.

Today, as we begin to examine the third sign, the healing of the paralytic at Bethesda, we must be attentive to the presence of an underlying theme, for it is becoming clear that John selected each miracle carefully, and is recounting each one in order to give us something of eternal value, something that we can use today.

In the book of John, the narrative of the third sign immediately follows that of the second sign, beginning in John, Chapter 5, verses 1 – 17.  It begins with Jesus returning to Jerusalem.

The return to Jerusalem

As we pick up the narrative, we find that Jesus has gone to Jerusalem for the second time during his earthly ministry (we know that he went once before with his parents at twelve years of age, making it technically the third time).  This time, Jesus goes to Jerusalem in full view of the religious authorities.  The observant reader will recall that after His Passover first visit, Jesus and his disciples were run out of Jerusalem by the Pharisees for what may be called “excessive baptisms.”  This time, Jesus would have the first of what would be many direct confrontations with the Jewish religious authorities.

Which Feast?

In relating this sign, John does something that at first appears to be an uncharacteristic oversight, he forgets to tell the reader which particular feast of the Jews that Jesus is attending.  This apparent oversight has led come commentators to conclude that Jesus had gone to Jerusalem to celebrate Purim, which would have occurred in early March.

However, it is more likely that the feast that John referred to, or didn’t refer to, as it were, is actually the second Passover that Jesus attended during his earthly ministry.  This can be inferred both positively, in that the Passover was referred to as the “Feast of the Jews” and that the explicit Passovers mentioned in John 2:13 and 6:4 require an extra year between them.  This interpretation also allows for the harvest seasons mentioned in Mark 2:23 and 6:39.

It can be inferred negatively as well, in that Purim was not considered a religious feast of the Jews (it would be akin to the 4th of July, in a very stretched metaphor), and that it is unlikely that, due to the climate in Palestine in early March, that the sick persons by the pool would be lying in the open air.

The final arguments against the feast being Purim lie in the narrative itself.  As Jesus performs the sign on the Sabbath, for which the religious take exception to Him, and the feast of Purim cannot be celebrated on the Sabbath.

The greater question, perhaps, is why did John, who meticulously recorded the name of the other Jewish feasts in his gospel, omit the name of this particular feast?  For an answer, as well as beautiful insight into the importance of John, we turn to Dr. William Milligan in the “International Lesson Commentary”, who is here quoted in Volume III–John of B.W. Johnson’s “The New Testament Commentary,”

Why did John, whose custom it is to mark clearly each festival of which he speaks (see 2:13, 23; 6:4; 7:2; 10:22; 11:55; 12:1; 13:1; 18:39; 19:14), write so indefinitely here? The only reply that it is possible is that the indefiniteness is the result of design. The Evangelist omits the name of the feast, that the reader may not attach to it a significance that was not intended. To John,–through clearness of insight, not from power of fancy,–every action of his Master was fraught with deep significance; and no one who receives the Lord Jesus as he received him can hesitate to admit in all his words and deeds a fulness of meaning, a perfection of fitness, immeasurably beyond what can be attributed to the highest of human prophets. Our Lord’s relation to the whole Jewish economy is never absent from John’s thought. Jesus enters the Jewish temple (chapter 2:4). His words can be understood only by those who recognize that he is himself the true temple of God. The ordained feasts of the nation find their fulfillment in him. Never, we may say, is any festival named in this Gospel in connection with our Lord, without an intention on the author’s part that we should see the truth which he saw, and behold in it a type of his Master or his work. If this be true, the indefiniteness of the language here is designed to prevent our resting upon the thought of this particular festival as fulfilled in Jesus, and lead to the concentration of our thought on the Sabbath shortly to be mentioned, which in this chapter has an importance altogether exceptional.”

The significance of the Pool

The Pool of Bethesda.  Up until the 19th century, when archeologists uncovered the site of the pool where Jesus performed this sign, there was no evidence outside of the Gospel of John that the pool existed.  This lack of evidence caused some to argue that the Gospel was written later by someone who did not have first hand knowledge of Jerusalem and chose to use the pool in a metaphorical sense.

The discovery of the pool by archeologists in 1856 did wonders for the credibility of the Gospel of John.

As it turns out, the pool, which was first mentioned in the 8th century BCE, was formed when a dam was built across the short Beth Zeta Valley, creating a reservoir.  The pool is mentioned in two other Biblical texts 2 Kings 18:17 and Isaiah 36:2, where it is referred to as the “upper pool”:

17 The king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great army to Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they had come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field.


The king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to king Hezekiah with a large army. He stood by the aqueduct from the upper pool in the fuller’s field highway.

As well as in Isaiah 7:3:

Then Yahweh said to Isaiah, “Go out now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller’s field.

The Bethesda Pool Today
The Bethesda Pool Today

A second pool was then added on the south side of the dam around 200 BCE.  In the first century BC, caves to the east of these pools were turned into baths as part of what was know as an asclepieion, a Roman healing temple dedicated to the god Asclepius.  The symbol for this god of medicine, healing, rejuvenation, and physicians is used today as the symbol for the American Medical Association and is ubiquitous in medical settings.

The site was brought inside the walls of Jerusalem by the expansion of Herod Agrippa around 50 BCE.  The pools, which had been constructed to bring living water into Jerusalem, had been turned into a pagan bath house whose waters are thought to have healing powers.  Naturally, it was crowded with those hoping to become well.

Today, the site of these pools is in the Muslim East Jerusalem near the ruins of a Crusader church which was completed in 1138 CE on a site that what was thought to be the birthplace of Jesus’ grandmother, Saint Anne.

So Jesus, on the Passover, the holiest of all Sabbaths, goes to the pagan bath house, which also happens to be the site that representatives of the Assyrian army stood and publicly humiliated Hezekiah, the King of Judah, before Jerusalem was invaded by them in 701 BCE.  Furthermore, according to later tradition, is near the grotto where his grandmother was believed to have born.

The pool at Bethesda ia a very interesting place, and Jesus has chosen to go there on the Passover.  What would he do?

Stay tuned for more of the third sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for December 17, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.64
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Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.24
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.76%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,698
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  -0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,235
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,527,700,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
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Healing of the Official’s son: The second sign

12/12/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today we continue our series on the Seven Signs of John with the second sign, Jesus’ healing of the official’s son.  First, we must pause to remember the eternal lesson from the first sign, the changing of water into wine that the wedding in Cana of Galilee:  “Do what he says,” for miracles are born out of obedience.

And now, the second sign.

The Journey

Jesus had just returned from Jerusalem, where he had educated Nicodemus on the mechanics of spiritual rebirth at the Passover feat.  On his journey home, Jesus had done something that deeply troubled the Jewish religious establishment of the day, He had taken the more direct and mountainous route home to the Galilee by passing directly through the territory known as Samaria.

This was shocking, because the religious amongst the Jews in those days who resided in Jerusalem went to great pains to avoid setting foot in Samaria, which they saw as the epicenter of paganism and worse, a misguided worship of the One True God, YHWH.

For this reason, when travelling from Jerusalem to the Galilee, they would cross over to the east bank of the Jordan river and go north until they had passed by the Samaritan territory, at which point they crossed back over to the west bank and reached Scythopolis, where they would continue their journey into the Galilee.  This religious quirk added up to 40 miles, or in those days what would have been a hard two days journey, to what was already a three to four day ordeal.

The religious take the long road, as Jesus shows us the straight and narrow
The religious take the long road, as Jesus shows us the straight and narrow

However Jesus not only took the more direct route, he encountered a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well and engaged her in conversation, an utterly shocking breach of protocol that caused even His disciples to question what he was doing.  We can only imagine that Jesus did not shake the dust off of His feet after reaching the Galilee, the custom of the religious Jews who were forced to tend to unavoidable business in Samaria, and therefore were forced to “defile” themselves by setting foot on Samaritan soil.

Blind Faith via Shock Therapy

Jesus was returning to the Galilee from Judea, where, as mentioned above, he had attended the Passover and, while there, began to turn the Jewish religious system on its head.  In fact, so many people believed in Jesus as the Messiah as a result of His teachings during the Passover that his disciples were baptizing even more people than John the Baptist, who the Jewish religious leaders had previously seen as their main rival.

As a result of this, the Pharisees, a sect of the Jews who believed in the resurrection of the dead, were planning to come after Jesus, hastening His flight back to the Galilee.

After passing through Samaria en route to an imagined quiet retreat into the Galilee, Jesus found that a great number of people in the Galilee had witnessed the signs he had done during the Passover for they, too, were there.  His reputation has preceded Him, and peace was to prove elusive for the rest of His days on earth.

Under these circumstances, Jesus returned to Cana as a type of rock star.

While in Cana, Jesus was approached by a certain nobleman who asks Jesus for a favor that would become known as the second sign which is related in John 4:43-54:

43 After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast. 46 Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him, and begged him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe.”

49 The nobleman said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 As he was now going down, his servants met him and reported, saying “Your child lives!” 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour, the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” He believed, as did his whole house. 54 This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judea into Galilee.

Now the nobleman’s son was lying on his deathbed in Capernaum, a town on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and he encountered Jesus in Cana.  Under the circumstances, we can assume that the nobleman made the 20 mile journey inland specifically to make this appeal to Jesus.  The nobleman would likely have have been prepared to offer his life savings to Jesus if he would come to Capernaum and heal his son.  In Jesus he saw his only hope of saving his son, and he was doing what any loving father would have done under the circumstances.

In this delicate state of mind, the nobleman was about to be shocked, for he was about to learn the difference between hope and faith.  For hope, while poetic, leaves room for doubt. Faith is the opposite of doubt.

For this reason, instead of lovingly agreeing to accompany the man to Capernaum, He rebukes him, “unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe.”  The man, still in a state of shock, as were Jesus disciples, makes a last ditch effort, now with a bit indignation, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

Jesus then shocks the man, who has moved from hope to indignation, into faith as He replies “Go your way. Your son lives.”  In this moment, through Jesus’ words, the nobleman understood that, if he believed that Jesus had the power to heal his son, it would follow that Jesus could do it without having to be physically present.  The nobleman understood, at this moment, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Jesus was Lord.

The nobleman then knew Jesus in the same way the centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 knew that Jesus was Lord, through the operation of blind faith.  The difference between the nobleman and the centurion was that Jesus offered to come to the centurion’s house, which was perhaps not coincidentally also in Capernaum, and left it to the centurion to profess his blind faith which was operating to heal his servant.  The nobleman had no such faith to profess, until Jesus shocked him into it.

Where the nobleman needed his blind faith to be awakened, the centurion needed only ask Jesus and it would be done.

May it be said that in Capernaum, the Lord showed us that blind faith is enough.  When faith and obedience are operating together, there is no limit to what can happen.

Stay tuned for the third sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for December 12 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.69
Oil Price per Barrel:  $86.77
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.21
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.70%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,712
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,245
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,457,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,275,200,000,000

The Gospel of John – Jesus’ seven signs

12/6/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today, we shift gears a bit as we prepare for what will be a very important teaching coming up early next year:

The Seven Signs of John

The Gospel of John is unique in that it contains a plethora of dialogue attributed to Jesus, the Son of God, which are generally set apart in Biblical texts by using a red font.  It is rivaled only by the Gospel of Matthew in this respect.

We have previously explored what we consider to be John’s unique trait and compared him to one of the prophets, Isaiah, who shared this personality quirk:  He was eagerly awaiting the Jewish Messiah.

Today, we will begin to explore the material in the Gospel of John that we are to teach.  The seven miracles of Jesus that John chose to include in His Gospel.  The miracles are important, for John wrote the Gospel near the end of his long life, sometime between the years 90 and 100 CE (He is presumed to have died in 100 CE at 94 years of age), almost 70 years after Jesus had walked the earth.

John witnessed many miracles performed by Jesus, as he was with him throughout his earthly ministry, beginning with his (Jesus’) baptism by John the Baptist.  John witnessed so many miracles that he saw fit to state in his Gospel,

20:30 Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; 20:31 but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”

So why were these seven signs chosen by John, who perhaps knew Jesus better than anyone while He was walking the earth?  It is the aim of this study to answer this question.

What are the seven signs?

The logical place to start, then, would be to identify the seven signs.  According to most Biblical scholars, yours truly included, the seven signs refer to the following miracles which John chose to relate:

  1. Changing water into wine in John 2:1-11
  2. Healing the royal official’s son in Capernaum in John 4:46-54
  3. Healing the paralytic at Bethesda in John 5:1-18
  4. Feeding the 5000 in John 6:5-14
  5. Jesus’ walk on water in John 6:16-24
  6. Healing the blind at birth in John 9:1-7
  7. Raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45

From a quick glance at the list, we can see that three of the miracles involve various types of physical healing, two of them involve providing for material needs, and one is a supernatural physical feat.

The final miracle, the resurrection of Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, must stand alone, as it is the astounding and meaningful miracle that has ever been recorded.  It is astounding not only for what took place, but for the fierce reaction which it brought from the religious authorities.

For with this Miracle, Jesus provided an irrefutable proof that He is the Son of God, and it was for this miracle that the religious authorities resolved to kill Him.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.  As with any great journey, we must begin with the first step.

Changing water into wine:  The first sign

Shortly after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, he called his first disciples, Andrew and John (the author).  What is interesting is that Andrew and John actually followed Jesus on John the Baptist’s declarations.  As such, they were not called, rather, they recognized who Jesus was, the long-awaited Messiah, and went after him.

Andrew then went and found his brother, Simon (who Jesus promptly renamed Cephas, or Peter).  The next day, Jesus was determined to go out into Galilee, where he found Phillip, who then went out and found Nathanael.

At this point, we understand that Jesus had five men whom are called  his disciples, yet the only one who he personally sought out was Phillip.

This is important, because it shows that, while Jesus did get up and pursue someone, four of his first five disciples started following him because others saw Jesus and recognized him as the son of God.  Let us not diminish the task that Christians have been given in fulfilling the great commission!

Our teacher, Bettie Mitchell of Good Samaritan Ministries is fond of illustrating this by showing us that while we are looking up to God, crying out for Him to “DO SOMETHING!” God is shouting back down at us “DO SOMETHING!”

It is a profound truth that God does not want subjects, He wants partners!

It is not surprising, then, that Jesus almost never performed a miracle without requiring an action or actions which require the individual to exercise faith.  In fact, in most of the signs, Jesus performs the miracles not as a helicopter parent who is making sure that everything is perfect for everyone, rather, he performs the miracles reluctantly, not because he does not desire a positive outcome, but because he is training those who desire and see in him the possibility of a miracle to walk in faith and courage.

Our first example, then, is when Jesus changes water to wine, a miracle that Jesus openly declares that he does not want to perform:

2:1 The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. 2:2 Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage. 2:3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.”

2:4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

2:5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.” 2:6 Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews’ way of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece. 2:7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” They filled them up to the brim. 2:8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast.” So they took it. 2:9 When the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn’t know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom, 2:10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!” 2:11 This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Apart from Jesus’ reluctance to intervene and the faith it must have required on the part of the servants to take the water, which had been poured in what today may be been referred to as a kitchen sink or a wash basin, and present it to the master of the feast as wine, there is one other curiosity in this narrative which deserves further consideration.

Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh, watercolor by James Tissot 1836-1902
The first sign of Jesus, turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana, has a harrowing parallel to Joseph saving many by providing for grain during the famine in the Near East, circa 1708 BCE
Painting “Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh”, watercolor by James Tissot 1836-1902

This curiosity consists of the exact words that Mary uses to instruct the servants to listen to Jesus.  While at first they seem trivial, “Whatever he says to you, do it,” we find in them both a simple requirement for the reception of a miracle, as well as an intricate link with the miraculous survival of the Jewish race some 1700 years earlier from a famine in Canaan:

For the words, “What he says to you, do,” are found not only in John 2:5 above, but also in Genesis 41:55.  In Genesis, they are spoken under much different circumstances…or are they?

The phrase that Mary invokes parallel the instructions that Pharaoh gave to all of the Egyptians when they began to cry out to him for grain during the famine in the Near East.  “Go to Joseph, What he says to you, do.”

As we cry out for a miracle, we would do well to pause, listen, and “Do what he says,” for miracles are born out of obedience.

Stay tuned for the second sign and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for December 6 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.61
Oil Price per Barrel:  $86.40
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.48
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.58%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,700
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,074
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,457,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,275,200,000,000

THE LORD IS SALVATION: Proto-Isaiah (Isaiah 1-39)

As we began to study Isaiah’s life, it became clear why he is distinguished as the greatest of all the prophets. Over 600 years before Christ walked the earth; Isaiah was entrusted with the vision of Christ’s coming to rescue humanity. He saw the Messiah, and it changed him forever.

At long last, you can find our latest Ebook on the prophet Isaiah at Smashwords:

THE LORD IS SALVATION: Proto-Isaiah (Isaiah 1-39)


Teaching the Bible – The Inspirational Character

The pages of the Bible are full of characters.  The characters may be explicitly identified in the Biblical narrative, or, as we have explored by way of the Bible Play earlier, implicitly present.  As the teacher, it is extremely important to identify the inspirational character in the narrative that is being explored.

Bettie Mitchell, the founder of Good Samaritan Ministries, described the appearance of inspirational characters in the following way, “Anyone willing to lay down their life for others IS A BIBLICAL CHARACTER…God himself is the inspirational character of the Old Testament.  In the New Testament, those who came into contact with Jesus became inspirational characters”

You will notice the above statement appears to expand both the range of inspirational characters to every Biblical character as well as the opportunity to become a Biblical character to anyone willing to lay down their life for others.

In order to understand the concept of the Biblical and inspirational character, we must first understand something about the Bible.

The Biblical record has been carefully passed down to us by the Jews, who see the Old Testament as not only the history of their people, but a sacred text entrusted to them by God which is to be shared with the entire world.  In this sense, Judaism is unique to many religions who view their sacred texts as proprietary information, accessible only to those with the proper spiritual credentials.

It is odd, then, that the Old Testament should not be a book which has been carefully edited to make the Jewish people appear especially heroic.  In fact, it may be said that a great deal of the Old Testament deals with the Jewish people’s shortcomings when establishing and attempting to fulfill their covenant with God.

In the same way, the New Testament may be seen as a compact version of the same, self depreciating narrative of the origins of Christianity.

Yet the point of the Biblical narratives, which have been carefully preserved and widely disseminated against all odds, is not to justify the position with relationship to God of Jews and Christians, rather, it is to point out that it is impossible for anyone to claim a place of privilege with regards to The Holy One.

As one reads through the Bible, it quickly becomes apparent, as early as the second chapter, that the performance of good deeds is not a preresiquite for inclusion.  While being a Biblical character may bestow upon the individual a certain amount of fame, it does not automatically qualify them as an inspirational character.

Yet there is one action that is and always will be pleasing to the Holy One, it is the act of starting where one is and desperately seeking after God. 

 Isaiah, an example of an Inspirational Character
“Here I am. Send Me!” Isaiah, an example of an Inspirational Character
{18th century Russian icon of the prophet Isaiah located in the Iconostasis of Transfiguration church, Kizhi monastery, Karelia, Northern Russia, painted by an unidentified artist during the first quarter of the 18th century.}

The desperate seeker, from Isaiah declaring “Here I am! Send Me!” (Isaiah 6:8) to the Apostle John, who, upon hearing John the Baptist call Jesus the Lamb of God (John 1:29), arose and ran after Him, to the desperate man or woman today, crying out in the middle of inexplicable pain and loss for answers, the desperate seeker is the inspirational character.

The one who is constantly seeking and moving towards God, the one who chooses to turn the other cheek, to lay down their life for others, to accept and carry out the hard assignments, to walk humbly with the Holy One, to seek justice despite incurring personal injury, to love their neighbor as themselves, they are the inspirational characters. 

Seek them out, in the Biblical narrative, within yourself and all around you, and you will find them.  Once the inspirational character has been identified, the class will be greatly enriched as you, as the teacher, encourage the class to experience the Biblical narrative from their perspective.

Once identified, it is extremely important to supplement your knowledge of this person by exploring them as they appear in other Biblical narratives, if any, as well as other credible historical references that may be available.  The class will connect to the the Biblical narrative and the assignments presented only to the extent that they connect to the inspirational character.

Further, one of the goals of the class setting is to bring the class as close as possible to the inspirational character, so that they may be in a position, as the inspirational character was, to accept the assignments which are presented to them as individuals.  For one, it may be to reconcile with a family member, for another, it may be to pick up their mat and walk, for another, it may be to accept a position of influence to root out corruption.

Whatever the assignment may be, the inspirational character will help those in the class to find the courage to seek out and accept them.  For the Lord is with those who seek, and great blessing awaits those who are willing to say, along with Isaiah, “Here I am. Send me!”

As you and the class explore the text together and are lead by the Holy Spirit, it will become evident that all of those present have the potential to be the inspirational character in their home, workplace, and beyond.