Sunday, January 2, 2011

Coming onstage

The week before finals week, my professor of old testament (Pentateuch for all you needing a fancy name) made some comment about looking at Jesus differently than any of us probably had before. Sure, we read the Christmas story every single year, in fact, I've gotten pretty good at saying things like Quirinius over the years...

And then heartwarming stories of shepherds, angels, magi visits. Followed by some scary times fleeing to Nazareth, and silence for quite a few years. But what next? In the birth stories, Jesus is pretty silent, mostly because it would be difficult to record in letters the sounds of babies. So once Jesus gets to speaking age, what does he say? Let's start with the (earliest?) gospel

Mark: (1:15) "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."
Matt: (3:15) "Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness."
Luke: (4:4) "It is written, 'one does not live by bread alone.'"
John: (1:38) "What are you looking for?"

These all come from pretty different stories (if you were to line the stories up side by side) and some of them are kind of surprising...but that's how Jesus enters the picture verbally in the Gospels. I'll let you pick your own favorite, but I think each of them is important, and insightful as to who Jesus is. Take John (I think it's the most gutsy for Jesus to start his dialogue with)...Jesus questioned things all throughout his ministry, questioning social and religious norms and making people reevaluate their stances. Maybe it's because I like to question social norms, but that resonates loud in the current world. We are in the midst of a change from modern times to post-modern times, a switch from Christendom to Secular culture. What are we looking for? What are you looking for? Are you looking for bread? Are you looking for the kingdom of God? The good news? the fulfillment of righteousness? Or something else? Whatever you are looking for, remember how Jesus came on stage.
Guest blogger, Alex Raabe, M.Div.

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