Jesus and Paul on Mission of
Excerpts are taken from
Transforming Power by Robert Linthicum (IVP, 2003). For a
longer version from the chapter, "Jesus is Caesar," click here.
Gospel of Luke, Jesus is committed to the bringing in of the kingdom
of God (the shalom community). This kingdom will bring in its wake a
grand reversal in which poverty and systems of domination will be
eliminated and humanity will become all that God intended it to be.
This reversal will occur through the intervention of Jesus as the
one bringing about jubilee. Through his life and ministry, his
empowering of people, his confrontation of the systems, his
suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus will set the stage for the
resurrection of humanity into 'the world as God intended.' ...
of the four Gospels presents a powerful Jesus. But each Gospel
writer presents his own particular nuance of Jesus according to the
particular agenda of that author. ... The Gospel of Matthew presents
Jesus as the marginalized Messiah. ... The Gospel of Mark presents
Jesus as the radical rabbi. ... The Gospel of John presents Jesus as
the countercultural Christ. ... What would happen if the church
would reclaim for itself the Jesus of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?
How would the church be different if it believed that Jesus worked
for the transformation of both people and their society? What would
happen if we believed that God's work of salvation was as big as the
totality of sin - corporate was well as individual; social, economic
and political as well as spiritual - and that Christ had come to die
for all of that world?" (p. 67-71) - see Luke 6:20-21, 24-25;
the most confrontational people in the Bible was Jesus. How
confrontational was he? Well, simply consider the number of
incidents in the ministry of Jesus that appear in just one of the
Gospels - Luke. There are 133 stories or incidents recorded in Luke
in which the adult Jesus figures. Of those 133 stories, 116 are
confrontational in nature. The remainders are primarily miracles or
commentary (for example, Jesus went from point A to point B).
"Of the 116 incidents in which Jesus
was confrontational, 66 were confrontations of representatives of
the religious, political or economic systems of either Israel or
Rome, 45 were confrontations by Jesus of his disciples or followers
and 10 were confrontations of demons." (p. 171)
to Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul was the most strategic player in
the formation of Christianity. ... Paul was not only an outstanding
theologian and builder of the Gentile church. He was also very
sophisticated in his understanding of and use of power, and that use
of power was built upon a highly developed theology of public life.
... To better understand Paul's insights regarding the church's role
in public life, one must understand how Jewish and Gentile people in
the first century A.D. perceived the world. ... Because Paul
believed there was an open door between the spiritual world and
physical world, he held that the governance of both worlds was also
irretrievably linked. ...
"Paul reminds the reader that when the
Christians engage in public life, they are in 'spiritual warfare,'
for they must battle the manifestations of spiritual principalities
and powers that possess the political, economic and
values-sustaining systems of Rome, Israel and all other societies.
(Eph 6:12) ... In one of his letters to the Corinthian church, Paul
wrote, 'For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power' (1
Cor 4:20). In Ephesians we see Paul systematically presenting what
that single sentence alludes to in 1 Corinthians." (p. 127)