Friday, December 07, 2018

Preparing for the Invasion - #14 - The Method of Jesus

Playing backgammon in Jerusalem

(In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis referred to the Incarnation as "The Great Invasion.")

Several years ago, at Redeemer, we preached through the four Gospels chronologically. This took almost seven years! Then, we preached through the Pauline Epistles, 1 and 2 Peter, the book of James, Hebrews, and (for over one year) the book of Revelation.  

Verse by verse, bit by bit, brick by brick, we have been laying a foundation for our people, building a Jesus-literate house to live and move in.

Whenever I preach I expect God to do something. It wasn't always this way for me. I wasn't taught this. Now I expect the proclamation of God's Word to be accompanied by demonstrations of his love and power. 

Proclaim and demonstrate.  

If Jesus had a method, that was it. Jesus' words had authority. Jesus' actions validated that authority. (I do believe that God's Spirit does things in the hearts and minds of people as his Word is simply proclaimed. But it is instructive to note that, as Jesus' words had illocutionary power, Jesus also acted in demonstrations of power. Kind of like "tell and show.")

New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham writes: 

Jesus "saw the kingdom arriving in the sorts of things he was doing: bringing God’s healing and forgiveness into the lives of people he met, reaching out to those who were pushed to the margins of God’s people, gathering a community in which service would replace status. These are the sorts of things that happen when God rules."  (Bauckham, Jesus: A Very Short Introduction, p. 38. Emphasis mine. This is a beautiful little book on the Real Jesus. Tolle lege!!!)

George Ladd writes: 

“Jesus’s ministry and announcement of the Good News of the Kingdom were characterized by healing, and most notably by the casting out of demons. He proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom of God, and He demonstrated the Good News of the Kingdom of God by delivering men from the bondage of Satan.” (Ladd, Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God47. Emphasis mine.)

Pick up your Bible and read. Expect Jesus to demonstrate his love and power in your life today. 

See also Gordon Fee, Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study.

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