Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Missional Jesus 48

posted by xscot mcknight

Missional Jesus made powerful impressions. So powerful that once a rich man (Mark 10:17-31) comes up to Jesus and asks how he might find eternal life. Jesus’ answer surprises many today when they read the text with honesty:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

One very simple point: one inherits the kingdom/eternal life by:
1. Following the missional Jesus who broke the Torah into two themes: Love God and love others. This is the point of the commandments.
2. By following the logic of Jesus to see that the second half of the commandments is how one discovers if one is doing the first half of the ten commandments. (Matthew makes this clear by adding the Jesus Creed’s second commandment: Matthew 19:19.)
3. By showing that one is fully devoted to following Jesus by giving up what was holding the man back: love for money and things were his “love God” substitute.
By and large, this interchange expresses what Jesus always expresses when someone wants to know the essence of life with God: follow Jesus.
Is this evangelism? You bet it is.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted August 29, 2007 at 4:38 am


Good and helpful for us and for us towards others, here, Scot. Thanks.



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brad brisco

posted August 29, 2007 at 6:35 am


“Is this evangelism” Well only if we can turn your thoughts here into 3 bullet points! :)



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John W Frye

posted August 29, 2007 at 9:53 am


I can’t believe Jesus blew his chance to tell the rich young ruler that just as there are physical laws that govern the physical world, so there are spiritual laws blah, blah, blah…God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”
Christianity is a behavioral reality, not merely a belief system. Obedience to Jesus’ “Follow me” will reveal faith in Jesus or not.



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Peggy

posted August 29, 2007 at 1:56 pm


It really is this simple. Looking for loopholes and caveats with Jesus will only get you the straight scoop.
Pointing out that the 10 Commandments are divided into two sections is helpful–the first section contains commandments about loving God and the second section contains commandments about loving others.
The whole “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” is a point of idolatry that many currently seem to be missing–especially when we think about it as “someday I’ll want this” ;)



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Michael W. Kruse

posted August 29, 2007 at 3:13 pm


Can one earn an inheritance? Isn’t an inheritance a gift?



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Peggy

posted August 29, 2007 at 3:17 pm


I guess it depends on the laws governing the estate.



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Scott Watson

posted August 29, 2007 at 4:41 pm


A couple of comments are in order. The implicit understanding of the disciples is close to the Deuteronomistic understanding of the two ways in which the righteous are blessed and the impious cursed in this life and the age to come–the same implicit biblical theology that motivated Job’s friends.Jesus’ kindgdom announcement subverts this.
It’s interesting to note that the term “evangelical” in the Western Christian context is often identitified with a certain reading of Romans and the experience of it as a tranformative text by Luther and then Wesley. But in patristic history abd later,the “evangelical,” typified by this text and parallels,has been defined as followig Jesus in this ascetical lifestyle by Saints Anthony and Francis of Assisi,among others.It’s funny how Evangelicalism can more readily subsume the American success paradigm as Christian,while claimin to be Christian,and at the same time marginalize or reject,for all intents and purposes,the ascetic Jesus of the Gospels. Who’s evangelical?



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Tom Lutke

posted August 30, 2007 at 6:40 am


I’ve been reading this blog for a couple of months now but have never commented before. Scary!
I’ve was raised “evangelical” which meant that we were about the four spiritual laws and other evangelism techniques. It is a system that is grounded in believing rather that doing. Yet this rich man is asking “what must I do”. Also in Matthew 25:34 and following, Jesus is talking about doing. Have I had it all wrong?



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Michael W. Kruse

posted August 30, 2007 at 8:23 am


What I think it is interesting that Jesus leaves out the last commandment from his list:
“You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
Ex. 20:17
When the man says he has kept the ones Jesus listed, Jesus says “One thing you lack…” I don’t think the issue is the man’s wealth. It is a covetous spirit. He “covets” eternal life and wants to know how to “earn” what can only be “inherited” or given.



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tim atwater

posted August 30, 2007 at 10:56 am


re division of the ten — five and five — doesn’t honor your ‘rents fall more generally into the latter side (love your neighbor)?
Isn’t the sabbath commandment similarly for love of fellow humans primarily? (The Sabbath is made for folks not folks for the Sabbath)… and rest is for our neighbors the animals and the earth (ala Franciscan family definitions — brother sun, sister moon)…
All of which confirms the Jesus Creed — just makes it even more impossible to segment?
grace and peace



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Scot McKnight

posted August 30, 2007 at 11:06 am


tim,
The first “half” is not five/five but the love God portion and the love others portion.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted August 30, 2007 at 11:39 am


I wrote: “What I think it is interesting that” Sheesh! I think my brain has gone to random neuron firing. Sorry.



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tim atwater

posted August 30, 2007 at 12:01 pm


Scot, ok, well said — biblical halfs don’t have to be half and half — but aren’t the Sabbath and all the first half also at least half-way about neighbor?
and/or — need there even be a division?



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Peggy

posted August 30, 2007 at 12:30 pm


I’m all for reclaiming a better (more biblical?) definition of evangelical! The “Good News” is about hearing (which includes right understanding) and then doing (being obedient). The first without the second isn’t complete.



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Scot McKnight

posted August 30, 2007 at 12:33 pm


tim,
For me it’s not about half/half kind of idea but about the deep structure of commands — they are either about loving God or loving others.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted August 30, 2007 at 8:53 pm


Good one, John. I do tire of this physical law spiritual law rigamarole.



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