Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Missional Jesus 6

What was Jesus’ ministry? It is a safe bet to infer from what Jesus did to what his intent and what his vision were. I suggest that Matthew 4:23-25, which has a near parallel in 9:35, is a great place to see what Jesus’ intent and vision were because the Evangelist tells us what Jesus was in the business of doing. Think about: behavior indicates vision.
1. Overall, missional Jesus did what was good for others.
2. Missional Jesus taught in typical centers of religious education. What did he teach? Read the Sermon on the Mount.
3. Missional Jesus preached — which means declared good news — about the kingdom of God, which he believed was in some sense already here and in some senses yet on the horizon. What is the kingdom of God? As I have sought to explain on a number of occasions (Jesus Creed, A New Vision for Israel), Kingdom for Jesus is the “society in which God’s will is established and transforms all of life.”
4. Missional Jesus healed — which means what it says. He prayed to God, he asked for people to be healed from all sorts of maladies and sicknesses, and they were healed. We can do what we want with this today — spiritualize, demythologize, socialize — but the fact remains clear. Jesus said things and power was manifested.
5. Missional Jesus was attractive.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon?possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

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John Frye

posted June 25, 2007 at 6:15 am

Your brief post reminds me of Ben F. Meyer’s *The Aims of Jesus.* I like your summary: behavior indicates vision. Good stuff.

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posted June 25, 2007 at 10:43 am

Dr. Doug McIntosh expressed some great thoughts on this passage:
“…at this stage of things Jesus continues to bless and heal and teach. He does not come in judgement. He comes preaching the good news….Judgement is coming, but at a time that is uncertain. The task of believers is to lay out the good news of the gospel, to live out its implications, and to trust God for the results….”
Dr. McIntosh then goes on to state:
“It is the kingdom that has drawn near. And the King is showing us how His kingdom works. He lives out the will of His father, and we live out His will…In the kingdom of this King, the King offers Himself to them in loving service. He inconveniences Himself for their sakes. He walks the dusty roads of Galilee to teach them, to tell them the truth, and to address their urgent bodily needs. That is the manner of His kingdom. It’s a kingdom of a different sort.”

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posted June 25, 2007 at 1:07 pm

I preached the Beatitudes yesterday as part of a summer series on the Sermon on the Mount. Instead of focusing on what each Beatitude meant, I pointed out how verse 3 and 10 end: with the Kingdom of heaven. This was Jesus’ focus throughout his preaching, especially in Matthew. And though the Pope has said that these are eschatological promises, I believe that we as Christians can be the answer to these promises (if that’s what they are!) now. Others don’t have to wait until some future time for these promises to be fulfilled. We can fulfill them in others’ lives now. The K/H is simply God’s presence in our midst. Our church has been seeking for several years to be a presence-based church and people. I reminded them that they are God’s presence—that they are the evidence of the K/H—in the world. Through us the K/H comes near.

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posted June 25, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Great post Scot. On number 4, I might want to point out that Jesus healed more often than he prayed for healing (if that distinction makes sense). I think this says more about Jesus than just pointing that his prayers were usually answered.
Also, I’d be interested in hearing to what extent you think Jesus’ Kingdom proclamations were made in light of the foreseen demise of/judgment on second-Temple Judaism. Andrew Perriman has famously claimed that ours is (to a certain degree) a ‘post-eschatological’ age. One need not be a full-blown preterist to recognize that some (much?) of Jesus’ teachings are given in light of ‘the coming wrath’ (understood as a judgment within history rather than at its end). I think the general picture we have of the Kingdom doesn’t change too much with these insights, but I do think it helps us read (the gospel accounts of) Jesus a little clearer.

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posted June 25, 2007 at 3:29 pm

I believe that Missional Jesus also provided all who would be his followers with purpose. Many people struggle through life because the do not understand their purpose. Once recognized, accepted, and obeyed; this purpose or commission introduces one into a new realm of resolve – not spookyness but peacefull perserverance in their daily lives and thus, in their own way, fullfilling you point # 1.

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