upside-down

Jesus never ceases to amaze me! He shocked the religious and the irreligious in his earthly ministry. The standards and ways of the world would not dictate how Jesus responded and spoke. The beautiful thing about all of this, is that he still does it today.

The Bible is full of references and themes that suggest God is on the side of the poor, outcast and marginalized of our society. God wants his people to reach out to them and declare his love for them. It would be hard to find a part in the Scriptures that would refute this idea at all. The Gospels and Jesus ministry thrust the “least of these” before us because they were always before Jesus. Our calling as Christians is clear, we are to care for them.

But this is where Jesus’ mission surprises all of humanity. As we work to fix the injustice of this world as we want relief to come to the poor and justice for the oppressed. But what do we want for the oppressors, the ones creating all the problems? What do we want for the abuser, the one in charge of human trafficking rings, the thief on Wall St. that stole every penny of someone’s savings, the bullies, etc? This is where it gets difficult for me. I want justice to be had with these people but it is exactly where Jesus acts in an upside-down way. Jesus not only loves the victims of suffering and injustice, but he loves the perpetrators of those very injustices. Jesus goes after the oppressed and the oppressor. This is what separates Christians from “good people.” We don’t just seek to save the lost who are poor, destitute and marginalized…we also seek to offer the good news of salvation to the ones we believe are outside of God’s grace because that is exactly what Jesus did and continues to do today.

Jesus works on both sides of the spectrum even when we think he shouldn’t care. Chapter 24 of “The Story” we see Jesus acting in upside-down ways. Through his parables we learn about the Kingdom of God and Jesus’ heart for people far from him. The Luke 15 parables all point to the rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents. The lengths Jesus will go for one lost person is truly amazing. This gospel has the power to redeem and restore, and even in the face of extreme evil the Gospel has the power to turn it back.

How far are we willing to go? Would we fight harder for some people and not others? How can we take on the full spectrum and be for the oppressed and oppressor?

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