Friday, April 10, 2020

Barrier No. 3: The Cultural Barrier

As Jesus continued to progress through his time in Jerusalem he had so much to teach. It was the culmination in many ways of Jesus’ three years of master’s classes on God’s Kingdom. As mentioned already, the Pharisees’ spent much of their time trying to figure out how to trip Jesus up in his answers. One area they did this several times was around Heavenly authority. In Matthew 22 they asked about paying taxes to Caesar and about marriage at the resurrection. They were focused on cultural wars of their days…things that would get Jesus planted firmly on the left or right of the day in order to put him at odds with some powerful group. We often do the same thing. We get trapped in this dichotomy that we have to be on one side or the other. Yet Jesus being Jesus chose a third way, he refused to get engaged in the cultural wars and instead reminded everyone that where we really need to be focused was on the eternal. There is an eternal worldview that we need to develop so that we are not embroiled in choosing sides for the here and now, but instead connect directly with God and what God finds most important, something which tends to be much more valuable, compassionate, and sustaining. This does not mean that we are not engaged in social justice work, simply that it is not based on a political worldview, but a Kingdom worldview.

Do you identify yourself as democrat or republican before you identify yourself as a Christian?

Do you orient yourself on various topics based on what the news and media says or what the Bible says?

Do you vilify one side and champion the other instead of staying consistent to an eternal world view?

Are you able to see the third way of Christ, moving past the left or right and focusing on a wider, more generous kingdom then we often think possible?

God of the eternal, the big and wide Kingdom of Heaven, God of what was, is, and is to come. Keep us from getting lost in the mundane, getting sucked into arguments of self-interest, or creating national religions to replace the universal faith in a universal God. As we contemplate the sacrifice made by Christ on that first Good Friday, keep us focused on his grace filled actions and the Kingdom that was open to us on that day. The kingdom that surpasses all of the cultures and kingdoms of this world. Amen.

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