Thursday, September 20

The Jesus Scandal

In Mark's Gospel we're told that John the baptist was preaching repentence and holiness, and that he testified that Jesus was so much greater than he that he was not worthy to loosen Jesus' sandal. Jesus went through the baptism and the Father confirmed the prophecies by receiving Jesus as His Only-begotten, well-pleasing before Him. When Jesus went out preaching He immediately began receiving disciples to follow and learn from Him. His first choices, Philip, Simon, and the Zebedee boys, may well have been fairly observant Jews, even though they didn't live near Jerusalem and its centres for prayer and study.

From that point, however, He continued to scandalise the observant and the “proper:” He healed the sick, pronounced forgiveness of sin (and healing!) to the desperate, even touched and healed a leper, and, oh yeah, cast out some devils. The scandal, however, was not yet complete for now we see him inviting an apostate, treacherous, tax collector to become His disciple, and then actually going in to eat with this scum and his acquaintances! When the Pharisees' scribes tried to undermine this development by slandering Him to His disciples He spoke directly to their prejudice by saying, “..I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” His life continued to be a scandal to the “established” people, and following Him today still does.

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