Saturday, May 21, 2016

Jesus Privileged the Deprived to Deprive All Others of Privilege

DeKalb County, Illinois
If you want to read a beautiful little book by an excellent New Testament scholar that will introduce you to the Real Jesus and current Jesus-scholarship, then I recommend Richard Bauckham's Jesus: A Very Short Introduction.

Bauckham explains the upside-down kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed.. He says: "The kingdom is a topsy-turvy world that inverts all claims to personal importance in order to do away with all self-importance." (p. 77) For example, Jesus brings a little child by his side and says, shockingly, the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Just as it belongs to the likes of the poor.  Jesus doesn't call a child to illustrate a child's teachableness. A child resided on the near-bottom of the prevailing honor-shame hierarchy. This is precisely the shock effect felt by the disciples and the others who saw Jesus do this.

Bauckham writes:

"These poor, as we have noticed, are not the ordinary people, but the destitute, the people at the bottom of the social and economic heap. Jesus does not suppose that the kingdom belongs exclusively to them, but that they are the model citizens to which everyone else must conform." (p. 78)

The destitute are now to be treated as one's social equals.

Then, brilliantly, Bauckham writes this:

"On these terms, but only on these terms, Jesus did not confine the kingdom to the destitute, any more than he confined it to the children. He did very seriously privilege the destitute and the children, in order to deprive all others of privilege." (emphasis mine)

That... is beautiful! Jesus privileged the deprived to deprive all others of privilege.

(Here is where you can purchase my book on prayer.)