I came across an article in the New York Times titled “The Forgotten Radicalism of Jesus”, which, in part, describes exactly what we, as Christians, must embrace. Here is an excerpt:
“Get used to different.” “That line comes from a marvelous new TV series on Jesus’ life, “The Chosen,” in which Jesus, played by Jonathan Roumie, invites Matthew to become one of his disciples. Simon Peter, already a disciple, registers his fierce objection. Matthew is a tax collector, who were viewed as tools of Roman authorities, often dishonest and abusive. They were therefore treated as traitors and outcasts by other Jews.
“I don’t get it,” Simon Peter says to Jesus about his decision to invite Matthew, to which Jesus responds, “You didn’t get it when I chose you, either.”
“But this is different,” Simon Peter answers. “I’m not a tax collector.” At which point Jesus lets Simon Peter know things aren’t going to be quite what his followers expected.
“First-century Christians weren’t prepared for what a truly radical and radically inclusive figure Jesus was, and neither are today’s Christians. We want to tame and domesticate who he was, but Jesus’ life and ministry don’t really allow for it. He shattered barrier after barrier.
“One example is Jesus’ encounter, in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John, with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus and the woman talked about Jesus being the Messiah, why he was even deigning to talk with her, and the unnamed woman’s past and present, which she initially sought to hide from Jesus. (It included her five previous husbands, according to the account in John, and the fact that “the one whom you now have is not your husband.”) Yet not a word of condemnation passed the lips of Jesus; the woman felt heard, understood, cared for. Jesus treated her, in the words of one commentator, “with a magnetic dignity and respect.” (End excerpt)
TWO MAIN POINTS
There are two main points we must take from this and embrace them as we move forward, marching with time inexorably to the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord and His judgment, which is coming upon every person and in all the earth.
The author starts the article well, then deviates from Jesus’ radicalism for the lives of the lost and turns the article into a weak “social justice commentary”.
Jesus did not come to earth to preach a gospel of “social justice” of man’s perceived standards of right and wrong, just or unjust. Jesus came into the world to save the world. Jesus preached His Gospel message of God’s mercy and justice.
It did not matter to Jesus, whether a person is rich or poor, weak or strong, oppressed or privileged, intellectually brilliant or disadvantaged, educated or uneducated – you either believe on Him, the One whom God has sent, or you perish. This is God’s Justice.
We must have this MIND OF CHRIST, as we live-out Jesus’ example and teaching, and as we reach out to the lost.
Luke 18:1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not become discouraged, 2 saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect any person. 3 Now there was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my opponent.’ 4 For a while he was unwilling; but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect any person, 5 yet because this widow is bothering me, I will give her justice; otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge *said; 7 now, will God not bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night, and will He delay long for them? 8 I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
This “justice” is God revenging; God’s vengeance and punishment: Romans 12:19 and Hebrews 10:30 from Deuteronomy 32:35; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Luke 21:22; ποιεῖν τήν ἐκδίκησιν τίνος, to vindicate one from wrongs, accomplish the avenging of, Luke 18:7f; τίνι, to avenge an injured person.
Matthew 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. 19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. 21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”
This justice, “Krino” κρίσις, εως, ἡ is a separating, sundering, separation; a trial, contest, selection, judgment; i. e. opinion or decision given concerning anything, especially concerning justice and injustice, right and wrong; in a forensic judgment sense, of the of God or of Jesus the Messiah: universally, the day appointed for the judgment, at the time of the judgment, when the judgment shall take place, to execute judgment against (i. e. to the destruction of) all. Specifically, sentence of condemnation, damnatory judgment, condemnation and punishment:
We must come back to the fearless, self-abandonment of Jesus’ first disciples in our pursuit of Jesus (as depicted in the video, “The Chosen”).
Jesus, when calling Matthew to follow Him, He is threatened by the Roman guard to “back off”. But, Jesus stays focused, smiling, calling.
Matthew immediately responds by “closing up shop” and leaves his post to follow Jesus. The Roman guard sternly warns Matthew, reminding him that he will lose his position of favor with the Roman government, his protections and his wealth, but Matthew brushes him aside, saying, “Get out of my way”.
Radical obedience in faith is the ONLY PATH for a true Christian, (“Matthew 4:20) “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets; and He called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.”
The heavens of heavens cannot contain Him, let alone a man explain Him. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hand. You can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him. He always has been and He always will be. He had no predecessor and He’ll have no successor. There was nobody before Him and there’ll be nobody after Him. You can’t impeach Him and He’s not going to resign. That’s our King! That’s our King! Will you follow Him? (adapted from SM Lockridge’s “That’s My King”)
Your Brother and friend,