Friday, September 17, 2010

Of Jesus and Suffering

I've been reading a book lately called Humanitarian Jesus: Social Justice and the Cross by Christian Buckley and Ryan Dobson. It's been convicting to say the least.

As a humanitarian and social activist, but first a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, I've often struggled with meeting the overwhelming needs of the world AND sharing the wonderful gospel that will meet the greatest need--eternity. There are always questions about lines that should or shouldn't be crossed, there are always toes to be stepped on and opportunities to be passed up.

But the great question to me has always been: is it right? Is it right to not step over the line and share the gospel, is it right to step on toes and take care of physical needs when you are "suppose to" be sharing the gospel? Is it right to pass up an opportunity to share Christ when you are there to give clean water, teach English or even rescue from slavery?

I can't think of how many times I've heard the verse "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." (Matthew 25:35-36) as the reason Christians should be socially active. It's as if this verse is the heart of Jesus, meeting the needs of people to show them the gospel by loving as Christ loved.

I agree.

But today, I want to leave something to think about, did Jesus always heal? Did Jesus always fix the needs to have people follow him? Was it Jesus goal to take away physical pain and suffering of this world before eternity comes?

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he as anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19)

When it comes right down to it, I'm thinking about the order of Christ's purpose. I'm thinking about the main reason Jesus came. What does that mean for my purpose? What does that mean about the church's purpose?

And when the answers come, is there boldness to actually take the action needed?

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