LAW AND ORDER
In all other visions of life throughout history, power, status, and law stand at the forefront for shaping society. It remains vital for our orderly living and security. The vision of love creates a new hope that once empowered by love then the place and shape of law and order takes on a new character and purpose. The vision of love is radical because it touches the heart of every person’s sense of being and activates an energy that transforms
If Christmas is the great symbol that says the very foundation of life is grounded in love, the means for unlocking this vision is revealed through Jesus daily teachings and encounters with the people of his day. In these, we can gradually grasp the depth of Christmas’ radical call to humanity.
I want to briefly highlight a few of these events that bring to light the secret of unwrapping its radical ways.
Walking the long roadway to Ceasarea Philippi. Jesus asked, who do people say I am? They answered, some say John the Baptist, others one of the prophets. Jesus said, but who do you say? Peter answered. You are the son of the living God.
While on trial before Pilate, .... Jesus said... ‘My Kingdom is not of this realm’. ‘Then you are a King?’ Pilate said to Jesus. ‘You say that I am a King. For this reason, I was born and have come into this world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’
‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked.
JOHN THE BAPTIST
Trapped in prison John the Baptist asked his own disciples to ask Jesus is he the one we are awaiting or do we look for another. Tell John what you hear and see, the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear ...etc.
The young lawyer asked Jesus,
What must I do to inherit eternal life.
Jesus replied, what does the law say.
He replies, Love God and your neighbour as yourself.’
Jesus determines, do this and you will live.
Some Jews came to Jesus and demanded of him, by what authority he did what he did.
Jesus answered, You first tell me, was Johns baptism from God or man.
They argued amongst themselves and walked away.
When the lepers asked him to heal them, he suggested they go and show themselves to the priests who had the authority to declare if they were healed.
To the blind man he put a paste of mud made with saliva on his eyes and instructed him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam.
To the paralysed man, it was take up your bed and walk.
ONE COMMON ATTITUDE.
I could go on with many other examples, of both teaching or healing. One thing is common in all these examples...
Jesus never tells people answers, he always asks them to answer their own question.
He never simply heals.
He always challenges them to embrace a healing action.
HUMANITY’S GREAT CHALLENGE
What has this to do with Christmas? We say God was in Christ. But we are challenged to ask what does that mean? From Jesus life style we learn that he is not going to tell us. Like everyone else he is going to throw it back in our lap. He is going to ask us, ‘what do you think it means that God is in Jesus?
The implication of this is that the richness of the divine love revealed in the infant Jesus, is the foundation of all life and therefore is to be discovered within the human experience.
This is the great gift of Christmas. This is its radical message. The divine is immanently set within our very life. Within our inner being, and within our relating. Jesus put it, ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.’
What a gift, to know that God is really born within us all. But with that gift is great responsibility. We are to honour the gift. We are to honour the divine life that is our very existence.
We are to live the love of God as Jesus did.
How do we do it? He does not tell us. But he has given us a life to learn to unwrap this greatest of all gifts, the way of love.