What is the most radical thing about Jesus? Walking on water? Riding on an unridden donkey? Inviting us into a relationship with God? The empty tomb? A life of service to others? Asking us to reach out to the poor and needy? Forgiving our sins? And what does it mean to follow the radical Jesus?
One Reply to “Apr 3-24: Radical Jesus”
A list of ways that some people at Wanner have observed that Jesus is radical
1. He claimed to be the only Way to God “Exclusive”, not “tolerant”
2. He claimed some opposites (Peace I give you/ I came not to bring peace but a sword)
3. He claimed that life comes through death (Take up your cross and follow Me)
4. He preached a life of unselfishness/servant-hood (radical in terms of today’s Me-first philosophy
5. He wanted His followers to be in a personal relationship of unity with Him, the Almighty God
6. He claimed that His body and His blood had great significance for His followers/today’s believers (i.e. “There is power in the blood….”)
7. He didn’t answer questions in black and white.
8. His relating style was very different from his colleagues.
9. He was well educated like other Jewish priests, but responded differently to his thoughts about the scriptures.
10. He thought outside the box.
11. He stayed calm and knew what his mission was
12. He went against the religious norm and accepted practice of His time, even what was predictable from previous Israelite history.
13. He did not oppose the Roman occupation of Israel.
14. Most radical from the viewpoint of fellow Israelites was His interaction with the outcast (women of questionable occupations), the inflicted (lepers), the despised (tax collectors), and the opposition (Samaritans), persons with whom the average Israelite would not have associated let alone the religious elite.
15. No apologies about his relationship with God, despite the fact that some might debate that he ever openly/consistently acknowledged his divinity. His life spoke louder than his words on this topic.
16. He was generally recognized to “speak with authority”. In that Jewish culture, rabbis usually quoted prior famous rabbis and their writings to support their arguments.
17. Jesus respected our Old Testament as Scripture that witnesses to God’s character, revelation and interactions with humanity.
18. Jesus challenged SOME common interpretations of the Scripture and offered “originally intended” meaning to controversial topics. This was also done by Isaiah, probably the most respected of Hebrew prophets; certainly the most quoted in the New Testament.
19. Jesus, in the spirit of Hebrew prophets, was prepared to speak up for Godliness, especially justice for the marginalized, despite the political consequences. This included challenging political and religious leadership when it clashed with loyalty to God and himself.
20. Highlighted primary loyalty to God and God’s ethic of love.
21. Despite his and OT prophetic warnings of judgment that sounded harsh, Jesus was rather explicit about loving relationships, mercy, and justice as his understanding of God’s ideal for the behaviour of himself and all people of God.
22. His example of mentoring the 12 and a larger circle of disciples, together with his few explicit references to “church”, I believe that Jesus intended this “living body” to be the on-going primary institution to further incarnate himself in the world.
23. Jesus was not interested in being admired; he called us to follow him in being faithful to the ways of God.
24. Interestingly, Jesus, despite many admirers, continues to be extremely controversial, both among “Christians” and non-Christians. I suspect that much of our critique about Jesus is often a smoke-screen, diverting attention from our unwillingness to “trust and obey” him.
25. he brought a new and less legalistic understanding/interpretation to the old testament scriptures
26. he opened up the pathway to God for all – no longer restricted to Jews – no longer restricted to Jews who follow all the rules.
27. he reached out and included the underclasses – women, tax collectors, children, sick, etc – and brought healing and hope
28. he brought in the concept of servant leadership – those who are first will be last, etc – washed the feet of the disciples, etc
29. taught a message of forgiveness/compassion – loving your enemy and those who persecute you, etc