Multiply Justice

Archive for the tag “Jesus”

Our ideas of justice and human rights depend on this one fact

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

I don’t think most Christians truly understanding the earth-shaking, life-changing meaning of the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead. I know many of us who were raised in church haven’t grasped how different our world would be if God had left him to molder in the grave. Most unbelievers certainly don’t understand the degree to which modern democratic civilization — from science, education, and social services to even the very concepts of justice and human rights — grew out of and depends on the teachings of Jesus and Christian tradition. The resurrection is a fact of history and civilized society cannot survive without the truth it represents.

… One of the most important aspects of the resurrection is that without it, one religion would be as true as any other. Who is to say that Baron Samedi, voodoo’s anarchist god of death, should not be worshiped with child sacrifice? Even Jews and Muslims, who would say they worship the same one, true, supreme God as Christians, have no way of proving that their understanding of God is true. Without the resurrection, no one could know who can be trusted to teach us about the nature of God, the meaning of life, and what is true and just. Apart from the resurrection of Jesus, moral values and religious tradition are merely unproven personal opinion.

The resurrection of Jesus was an actual event in history. Because God raised Jesus from the dead, we know God has power even over death and evil. Because God raised Jesus from the dead, we know Jesus taught the truth about how we are to live before God in an evil world. The resurrection is a fact – proven beyond reasonable doubt – that leads us to the truth about what God is like and what is true and just.

Christians who understand the importance of the resurrection will see their faith in a whole new light. Christians who understand that the resurrection is a fact of history will have greater confidence and more powerful motivation to engage lost souls with good news. And Christians will have new passion for doing justice in an evil world when they understand how much civilized society depends on Christian truth.

Read the full post by clicking here.

‘One thing you haven’t done’

By Mark Kelly

As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mark 10:17-22 NLT)

We don’t know his name, but we know his character. He was a good-hearted, sincere man who loved God and had been willingly obedient to the Law since he was a youngster. He did what his religious leaders told him was necessary to enter God’s kingdom, yet he felt something was still missing.

Jesus felt a genuine love for him, but he knew what was lacking. This earnest soul was a captive of his possessions, which kept him from helping the poor. He needed to listen more carefully to Micah 6:8 — while he was walking humbly with God and loving mercy, he was not doing justice. Jesus knew we cannot serve both God and earthly possessions. He wanted us to love our neighbors as generously as we love ourselves.

When Jesus told him he needed to free himself of captivity to possessions and do right by the poor, the man was deeply saddened. He turned and walked away from Jesus.

However you see yourself, the fact you are reading this on a computer makes you rich, compared to the majority of people in the world today. You may be a good-hearted, sincere soul who loves God and does what your religious leaders tell you is necessary to enter God’s kingdom. Yet you wonder why things don’t seem quite right. You have asked God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. You have asked him for signs and wonders. You have done the 2 Chronicles 7:14 thing. You have prayed for revival, even participated in a solemn assembly. Something still seems to be missing.

So you ask Jesus what you need to do, and he looks at you with genuine love and says, “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, then come, follow me.”

What would you do? … What have you done?

The last great stronghold in most of our hearts is our captivity to possessions. We love what we have, and we have many things. We are even held in captivity by our desire for things we don’t have. If Jesus told us to sell it all and give the money to the poor, many good Christians would turn and walk away from him, deeply saddened.

Can you let go of things? Are you willing to give sacrificially to help the poor and oppressed? Will you follow the Son of Man, even though he has no place to lay his head?

What we are missing is justice. We are not personally engaged in helping the poor and oppressed, the hungry and homeless, the patient and prisoner. We are not loving our neighbor the way we love ourselves.

If we want to inherit the Kingdom, if we want to experience the abundant, eternal life God created us to enjoy, if we want our churches to be filled with God’s power and drawing broken souls to Jesus, we need to do justice. Then our salvation “will come like the dawn.” (Isaiah 58:8a NLT)

Mark Kelly is editor of Multiply Justice. Copyright © 2012 Kainos Press

Justice for your whole life

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18-19 NLT)

By Mark Kelly

If Jesus’ announcement of his Messiah-ministry — “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me” (Luke 4:14-21) — should be understood only in a spiritual sense, not speaking to the physical and material dimensions of human life, why did Jesus illustrate it with references to a widow and a leper? (vv.25-27)

Jesus came to redeem the Father’s lost children from all kinds of poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression. Because the core of our being is spiritual — our creation in God’s image — we cannot be redeemed and set free unless we are redeemed and set free in spirit. But that is only the beginning of our salvation. The Almighty One intends to set us free from all kinds of poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression — for us to experience abundant life in every dimension, the way God created us to enjoy life. Our mission as followers of Jesus is to take the Good News of redemption and freedom to every person who suffers in the darkness, to show them how to have abundant life in every dimension of their lives. Our “missional” program must be designed to address life in all those dimensions.

Jesus’ good news that “the time of the Lord’s favor has come” is good news for your whole life. It permeates every fiber of your being and seeps into every aspect of your life. If we are to experience Jesus’ salvation, we must pull down the barriers and remove the obstacles that try to keep the river of life dammed up in just one area. Let God’s endless river of life flood into your existence, sweeping away everything that falls short and bringing your desert to life. His salvation brings wholeness and holiness. Your life will be a living example of God’s justice in this world.

Then you can join Jesus in proclaiming that justice to everyone who suffers in poverty, captivity, blindness, and oppression.

Mark Kelly is editor of Multiply Justice. Copyright © 2012 Kainos Press

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