In business or basketball, in hospitals or homes, excellence means climbing to a higher level and advancing to a greater distance. It’s almost always a future event since it doesn’t exist in the past and hasn’t in the present. ONLY when the innovative leader appeared.
Jesus came as the exponential innovator in Israel and history.
In a day that considered the rich automatically blessed by God—who could be saved if they couldn’t, the disciples asked?, Mark 10:26, Jesus declared wealth a decided danger to the spiritual life. Contemporary Judaism decided that beggar Lazarus should consider a feast any scraps wealthy Dives threw him. Jesus instead said Dives went to Torment after dying and Lazarus into Abraham’s bosom.
In a day when simply being a descendant of Abraham seemed to assure spiritual privilege, Jesus preached repentance to all Jews so they could enter God’s kingdom Mark 1:14-15. In a Judaism that considered Samaritans foul-reprobates, polluting sacred Jewish blood with pagan blood, Jesus declared a SAMARITAN his model neighbor Luke 10:33. In a day when every Jew felt burdened by Roman soldiers, Jesus called a Gentile, Roman military leader the embodiment of faith unparalleled in Israel Matthew 8:10.
Suddenly, wherever Jesus went in Israel, or beyond, he touched lepers while under the curse, removing it; he valued the blind, touching their eyes to sight; he welcomed invitations from tax collectors, and even imposed on one to be his host, eating food Pharisees considered toxic; and humbled himself before women to accept their financial support, while other males choked back their disgust.
Jesus re-organized the whole social pecking order, putting first those the social leaders considered last—and LAST the aristocrats who put themselves FIRST. And Jesus didn’t care what the up and out thought or demanded. The social elite made no impression on him, much as they threw themselves at him by argument, questions and demands. Common people, especially little ones ferried by their mothers, HAD his attention merely by being anywhere close.
When the elite suffered, everyone consoled with them; were they not worth sympathy? When the poor and brokenhearted suffered, only Jesus appeared and comforted by cleansing and restoring. He stood by them, cheering them, supplying strength to their weakness and solutions to their problems.
Not for him the apparel or appearance of worldly wealth. The rich would have dressed him like their kind, from their own closets, had he been willing. Instead, coming from God, his Father’s Glory shot from every blink of his eyes; in every word spoken grace flooded from every glance and nod. What could anyone add to Deity when he chose to become a Man? He’s the One who could, and did, change all life by giving his life as our model.
Check out Virg Hurley books at Amazon.com