We know Jesus of Nazareth was a historical person, a human being who lived his convictions even to the point of death. He bore witness in his time and context to a God of compassion and unconditional forgiveness. He healed and exorcised. He rejected violence and included public outcasts in his table-fellowship. He stood…for a domination free order. As Christians we believe, furthermore, that God emerged most fully in Jesus. By faith, we hold that Jesus the Christ makes God present to us. Or, as Roger Haight would put it, that ”it is no less than God with whom we are confronted in Jesus.”
May I live my life in imitation of the life of Jesus.
In the context of my time, how do I bear witness to a God of compassion and unconditional forgiveness? Am I conditioned by prejudice and public opinion not to include certain people in my compassion and forgiveness? What does the life of Christ witness to me?
Then Jesus began traveling through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every illness. When he saw the crowds, he was deeply moved with compassion for them, because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is vast, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
Matthew 9:35 -37
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love… My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you…You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. This is my command: Love each other.
And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus . . . and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, in the failure of the cross.
Jesus, human like us, challenges us to let his story be our story also.
The point is not that Jesus was a good guy who accepted everybody, and thus we should do the same (though that would be good). Rather, his teachings and behavior reflect an alternative social vision. Jesus was not talking about how to be good and how to behave within the framework of a domination system. He was a critic of the domination system itself.
Jesus of Nazareth, a powerful peasant preacher and healer, challenged the Jewish holiness code and the leaders of the Jewish people in the midst of the social crisis of Roman commercialization. Because of his call for change and transformation, he was finally crucified outside the city of Jerusalem. His crucifixion and resurrection became the catalyst out of which emerged a new level of consciousness and a deeper sense of faith. In an emerging universe, the resurrection of Jesus is symbolic of a qualitatively new moment in history and a deeper level of human consciousness flowing from the chaos of the crucifixion.
Cletus Wessels, OP
The story of Acts, even after Jesus’s ascension, is about what Jesus continued to do and teach. And the way he did it and taught it was—through his followers.
The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim Him with their mouths and deny Him with their actions is what an unbelieving world finds unbelievable.
There are Christians who believe we can take Jesus seriously without paying attention to what is happening in the world around us. Jesus’ spirituality was contextual. He read the signs of his times and taught his followers to do the same. We take Jesus seriously when, among other things, we begin to read the signs of our times with honesty and sincerity.