If ever there was a message of rescue and redemption that had universal persuasion it would need to appeal to the deep ontological realities that lie in the human heart. A surface message that appealed to things like personality, ethnicity, temporal situatedness, gender, and skin color would not do. Such a message is found in the life, activity, and teachings of Jesus. Jesus ultimately appeals to all because in his for-allness he addresses, not surface issues, but the matters of the heart.
Jesus is going after the heart, and not religious behavior. And the deeper we go into the human heart, the more we are all the same. The message of Jesus would not have gone global were this not true. Jesus has embraced and embraces all human types in their fallenness.
Among all this world's religions, claims historian Philip Jenkins, only Jesus has gone global. (The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity) Jesus-gone-global is happening now as I type, and as you read.
Ontological realities Jesus redemptively addresses include:
- There is something wrong with me. (This is universal, with perhaps a few pathological exceptions.)
- I cannot change myself. (Contra self-redemption)
- I need redeeming.
- God comes to me, in human form, as my Redeemer.
- I can be sozoed - redeemed, saved from myself, restored and reconciled to my God.
- This rescue-act does not depend on my striving, efforts, talents, or abilities. It does not depend on my socio-economic status.