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Messianic Focus (42 of 52)
Christopher B. Harbin
Getting to know someone is a lot more complicated than learning a name and occupation. It is about much more than placing them in a specific economic, educational, or social class. It entails more than knowing their family of origin, marital status, and whether they have children or grandchildren. We have to know something more about what is important to them. We need to understand their ambitions, dreams, goals, and priorities. If we don't understand their values and priorities, we will never really understand the meaning behind their words and actions. Unless we understand what is important to someone, how can we really know how the rest of who they are fits together?
We don't always know what to do with Jesus, but much of that centers on failing to understand what he found important. Until we can make sense of Jesus' priorities, we will not likely grasp much of the meaning of his teaching and actions. We may see disparate pictures of Jesus chasing money changers out of the Temple with a whip and Jesus calling on us to turn the other cheek. How those images relate to each other will remain a mystery unless we have a sense of what Jesus considered truly important. It is too easy for us to read snippets of the gospels and come away with a very skewed portrait of Jesus.
What we need is some kind of process that would clarify what Jesus saw as truly important. We need a handle on where Jesus invested his time and energy. We need a sense of how the various glimpses we see of him fit together to form a cohesive whole. We need the larger picture of what Jesus was trying to accomplish in order to help us understand the import and impact of the focus points in the larger narrative units the gospel writers used to present Jesus to us.
Part of our problem is that we no longer read the gospels as they were written to be read. The gospel of Mark is a sermon written to be read al ...
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