038 | Kingdom Without Borders


The things Jesus taught brought very strong responses during his life on earth. His teaching still does. Jesus challenges people. He challenges me.


Check out this account of Jesus in his hometown teaching in the synagogue.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor." (Luke 4:16-19)
The custom of the time was a teacher would stand to read Scripture and then sit to teach on what they read. Jesus sat down and said
"Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
The immediate response from the people.
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.
I have been journaling through a book titled The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story. In his reflection on the 38th passage outlined in this book the author Whitney T. Kuniholm writes "...as you'll see in the rest of our journey through the Bible, Jesus made many more jaw-dropping statements about what he came to do. A person who said what Jesus said and did what Jesus did demands a response."

Follow closely the response by the people to Jesus and his teachings in this passage.
He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. (Luke 4:15)

... All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. (Luke 4:22)

... All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. (Luke 4:28-30)
The opinion of the people changed from praise to rejection. This change took place seemingly out of the blue. They drove him out of the city to the edge of a cliff. Their rejection was deep enough to move them to try and kill Jesus. A clear foreshadowing of the rejection by the people a few years later in the shouts of the crowd before Pilate "Crucify Him" (Luke 23:21) and ultimately on a hill at a cross outside the city.

In this account what seems to change their view is not that Jesus is claiming to be the Anointed One, the Messiah, but that he is pointing out that God's acceptance and favor goes beyond the nation of Israel to the Gentile people. And not just gentiles but a Gentile woman (Luke 4:25-26, 1 Kings 17:1-16) and a Gentile leper (Luke 4:27, 2 Kings 5:1-14). Those who were considered at the bottom of society. This is what seems to trigger the rage in the people. They simply rejected his teaching that God would place his favor on others outside their culture and beyond their borders.

Jesus' ministry would extend beyond the culture he was born into. Jesus came to provide a way for anyone, Jew or Gentile, man or women, healthy or sick, rich or poor, to be free from sin and death, to see the truth of life, and find acceptance before God. Acceptance not based on national borders. He came to bring healing beyond his own race and culture, beyond Israel. He came for all people.

In reading this account I am personally reminded not to exclude people from God's master plan. I am reminded to never separate myself from others along national, cultural, economic, racial, societal, or other lines. God's plan of salvation through Christ acknowledges none of these lines. God's Kingdom is without man made borders. God's Kingdom is open to all people, from all nations, with access through one gate, the Messiah, Jesus.

It is so important not to let our culture or national pride blind us in anyway from the work of God in our time.



| More on the Essential Jesus journey. |

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7 comments:

  1. This reminds me what somewhat said about Jesus' message: it is very narrow (excludes all 'other ways' to get to God), but at the same time, all inclusive, of every person, regardless of age, gender, race, etc. who comes to Jesus as the only way for salvation.

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  2. Jesus is so cool. I love reading about Him.

    I have to constantly stay close to God, spend time in His presence, so that I can be aware of people on a different level. Otherwise I see later that I've fallen into being exclusionary without even realizing it.

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  3. Thank you HEAVEN_POET.

    Perfect STEVE. Following Jesus is radically exclusive as the way to God and radically inclusive for all who choose to follow.

    Love the thought TRACY. The more we know God, the more we spend time in His presence, reading his Word, the more we are sensitive to others and inclusive towards other people. No one is ever beyond the love of God. It is so easy to follow our society and culture into an exclusionary pit. But we know God wants to include everyone and desires no one to perish (2 Peter 3:9).

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  4. This is a very good thought but one must know first that Jesus also came not only a Messiah but also the King of the Jews. That's why John, Jesus and the disciples preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. The wise men when they found the star they were looking for a child king. When the Jews openly rejected the King this is when God raised up the Apostle Paul, a special apostle to the gentiles. The one who was charged to bring in the mystery also known as the church which was not revealed to the prophets of old. The transition period from the Kingdom to the Church was laid down on Acts 15, the very first conference of Christians.

    In Romans 1:16 Paul wrote:

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; TO THE JEW FIRST, and also to the Greek. (emphasis on capitalization)

    Salvation was first offered unto the Jew first, they rejected, then it was offered unto the Gentiles.

    Luke 21:24 also states that the time of Gentiles might be fulfilled.

    Romans 11:11 is the reason why salvation has come to the Gentiles - to provoke them (the Jews) to jealousy

    You can say that the Kingdom was postponed and will later resume after Jacob's trouble or the 7 year tribulation that's that time when the Jews will finally receive Him as King.

    The reason why there is a necessary emphasis on this is to remind a Christian that His salvation is of Grace. A gift that is something we're not worthy of yet God in His unfailing love offered it to us when the Jews rejected it.

    Very nice blog. God bless you.

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  5. Very nice post Brad and such a lovely blog you have. I stop by almost daily, I try to make it everyday, but you know sometimes you get diverted from other things that life shoots in your way :-) Have a wonderful day to you and yours and also all your blog readers, God Bless

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  6. I have preached the gospel on the streets in nations far away from my own. When I look out at all of those faces, sometimes looking very different than myself, I always try to remember "these are my equals, my friends, fellow human beings just like me."

    It's amazing how easy it is for people to be condescending when preaching the gospel. It is easy to come with a "boy you are messed up and need our help" approach, judging everything about the culture and their way of operation.

    It takes a lot of humility to see people as your equals when your culture is screaming in your head that they are not!

    Thanks for posting!

    :-)

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