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Jun 29, 2007

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will spotts

Michael - the reading of this passage as a 'mission statement' of Jesus raises a couple of difficulties for me. Its role as claiming a messianic mission does seem clear - and does seem to have been understood by its hearers, but there are several such passages in the Gospels - some of which emphasize quite different things.

For example, John asserts that Jesus came into the world that the world, through him, might be saved. John also has Jesus telling Pilate he came into the world for this cause: to bear witness to the truth. He has Jesus saying he has come "so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind"; "that they might have life and have it more abundantly"; and so that "no one who believes in him should stay in darkness." Luke presents Jesus as saying he came to seek and to save what was lost. In Gethsemane Jesus is portrayed as saying he came for this very reason. Paul says Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Matthew presents Jesus saying he has come to fulfill the law; and he has come not to bring peace, but a sword.

Michael W. Kruse

Hi Will. I have several more posts coming about Jesus and I think they will flesh things out more.

I would suggest that this passage in Luke metaphorically states the ultimate aim of Jesus ministry. He will reconcile people with God, people with each other, and people with creation (i.e. restoring them as productive stewards over resources entrusted to them.) Salvation of individuals is essential but I think it is penultimate to the telos, of God. We aren't just saved from sin. We are saved to someone for a mission. Our mission is to bear witness of the New Creation that is coming (in word and deed)and to invite others into that New Creation. The New Creation is God's telos not our individual salvation.

Revealing the truth, granting more abundant life, saving individuals, are all part of the process bringing in the New Creation. I'm aware that some may distort this passage in Luke toward some predetermined idea of 21st Century social justice. But I'm also aware of the Evnagelical tendency to make personal salvation the ultimate goal of Jesus ministry. I think this passage, taken in context, gives Jesus mission in the world and other passages expand on specific works he is doing in the world to bring about his eschatological vision.

kerryn

Hey Michael
i have been behind in my reading of your household code entries. just caught up.
keep em coming - very interesting background stuff to help us better understand the scriptures.
is this going to be a book? should be...!
with thanks
kerryn

Michael W. Kruse

"is this going to be a book?"

Well, it didn't start out to be. I'm just trying to organize lots I've ideas I've had about this stuff. Trying to explain what I'm thinking to others is the single best way I have found to learn and clarify for myself.

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