Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jesus: His Commands (9 of 14)

This is part 9 of a 14 part piece. Start here to read it through:

Do Not DivorceMatthew 19:3-10, Mark 10:10-12, Luke 16:18 — Although the religious leaders posed a question to trap Jesus in an answer that would make Herod unhappy, he responds with a opportunity to remind his listeners not to give way to a stubborn selfish heart, that makes decision by convenience and emotional feelings, rather than by the selfless sacrifice his life was embodying..

If Possible, Do Not MarryMatthew 19:11-12 — Once again, Jesus offers a second command that reinforces the fact that the Kingdom of God should be placed before all institutions and traditions of culture and self satisfaction. Here Jesus commands that those to whom it is possible, should avoid marriage all together, thus surrendering their rights to it's pleasures and privileges in order to be fully consumed by participation in following Jesus.

Sell Everything, Give To PoorMatthew 19:16-22, Mark 10:21, Luke 12:33, Luke 18:21-22 – Scholars and preachers have tried everything to make this text say something other than what it says, or to make it a personal command to this one rich man, despite it being given as a general command in Luke. Applying to just the rich man therefore somehow dismisses it's application to the broader audience of all Jesus followers. I admittedly wrestle myself with the meaning and application of this command. Although, I have not been remotely conformed to fully embrace this command, I believe that the fullest ability to be the embodiment of our commission to preserve and illuminate the world is hindered by our resistance to practice this command.

Choose the Servant PositionMatthew 20:26–28, Mark 9:34-35, Mark 10:43-45, Luke 22:24-27 — Here Jesus changes everything the kingdom of this world says about power. His followers are ordered to pursue the way of Jesus in an ever increasing commitment to downward mobility. Jesus puts no lower limits on the position of service his followers should be moving toward. Instead, his path is to ransom others through willing emptiness to enter their place of slavery, and remain in solidarity to their brokenness. It is in selfless sacrifice of solidarity with the broken that the practice of resurrection is borne.

Give Caesar Caesar'sMatthew 22:19–21, Mark 12:15-17, Luke 20:25 — One can not pursue citizenship in the Kingdom of God while hoarding the property of the kingdom of this world. Like commands before it, the followers of the Jesus way must live with open hands. There is no room for allegiances and properties other than the allegiance to the joining in God's redemptive work of justice and mercy. Whether it be the literal money owed in taxes, or the surrender of all other property that belongs to the world. Once again Jesus confounds our conventional need to hoard and protect my own self interests.

Continue Reading Part 10 of 14

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