Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’
Mm-mm. . .
I just read a first chapter full of promise. Know the feeling? A chapter that makes your heart beat faster, for you catch a glimpse—as if peering through the woods—of what you’ve been looking for? Many of you know.
The book is N. T. Wright‘s The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is. A few (of many) quotes that have left me tantalized:
We have been taught by the Enlightenment to suppose that history and faith are antithetical, so that to appeal to one is to appeal away from the other. [...] When Christianity is truest to itself, however, it denies precisely this dichotomy—uncomfortable though this may be. [...] Actually, I believe this discomfort is itself one aspect of a contemporary Christian vocation: as our world goes through the deep pain of the death throes of the Enlightenment, the Christian is not called to stand apart from this pain but to share it. [15-16]
I am someone who believes that being a Christian necessarily entails doing business with history and that history done for all its worth will challenge spurious versions of Christianity, including many that think of themselves as orthodox, while sustaining and regenerating a deep and true orthodoxy, surprising and challenging though this will always remain. [p 17]
Many Jesus scholars of the last two centuries have of course thrown Scripture out of the window and reconstructed a Jesus quite different from what we find in the New Testament. But the proper answer to that approach is not simply to reassert that because we believe in the Bible we do not need to ask fresh questions about Jesus. [...] And this process of rethinking will include the hard and often threatening question of whether some things that our traditions have taken as “literal” should be seens as “metaphorical,” and perhaps also vice versa. 
In the aftermath of World War II, many European intellectuals (later joined by Americans and many others) were forced to ask this question: how could this have happened? This referred to two world wars, and especially the Holocaust. [...] They diagnosed the sickness that had befallen Western civilization in general and “Christian” Germany in particular to be excessive confidence.
Mark 1:21-28 (NIV*)
21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
Strange thing to say, isn’t it? Rabbis certainly did have authority to teach the Scriptures. But when Jesus spoke, something else happened.
And as if to prove it:
23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24″What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Remember, we’re in Chapter 1 here. Who else in the room would have even thought this? Virtually no one but Jesus himself. How shocked they must have been to hear it. What a statement!
And what a source! Jesus reacts immediately. First:
Why would he shush, if it’s true? Why would an evil spirit say it, anyway? Read the rest of this entry »