Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Challenge of Jesus

I just finished reading N.T. Wright's The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is. I think that Wright stretches too far sometimes when he tries to tie most of Christ teachings to the exile and restoration of Israel. overall his book should be read by Christians who seek to understand the perspective of a first century Jew and what those individuals may have thought when they heard Jesus teaching. The last two chapters of the book is where I found the real gold of his writings and I share the following.

"If you are to shape your world in following Christ, it is not enough to say that being a Christian and being a professional or an academic (to address these worlds particularly for the moment) is about high moral standards, using every opportunity to talk to people about Jesus, praying for or with your students, being fair in your grading and honest in your speaking. All that is vital and necessary, but you are called to something much, much more. You are called, prayerfully, to discern where in your discipline the human project is showing signs of exile and humbly and boldly to act symbolically in ways that declare that the powers have been defeated, that the kingdom has come in Jesus the Jewish Messiah, that the new way of being human has been unveiled, and to be prepared to tell the story that explains what these symbols are all about. And in all this you are to declare, in symbol and praxis, in story and articulate answers to questions, that Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not; that Jesus is Lord and Marx, Freud and Nietzsche are not; that Jesus is Lord and neither modernity nor post modernity is. When Paul spoke of the gospel, he was not talking primarily about a system of salvation but about the announcement, in symbol and word, that Jesus is the true Lord of the world, the true light of the world." (pg 187)