Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Good and Bad News of Jesus

Here are some quotes from Walter Pilgrim's Good News to the Poor. This book is, in my opinion, the best book about Jesus' view of the poor and rich written yet, second only to John Chrysostom's sermons to the rich in scope and message. Why is this book out of print? We should all be studying this book in our churches.

The gospel of Mark’s “original intent was not that of a warning to the rich but as a word of promise and hope to the poor. It said something like this, ‘You who are least in the eyes of others and by the measure of earthly standards have the least, you will be abundantly blessed in the age to come.” The coming of God’s kingdom meant the end to their lowly status and God’s vindication of their cause.”

For the anawim, “the social and political life-settings are still there. The situations of distress are still those of literal poverty, persecution, oppression, affliction and the like. The anawim are truly the victims of life and their enemies are powerful and well-to-do. What makes them anawim, is the fact that their hope is in God and their cries reach out to Yahweh with confidence in His promised deliverance.”

“The Lucan birth narratives present the opening drama of a God who puts down the mighty and the rich from their positions of eminence and raises up those of low degree. In these stories the revelation of the new age begun in Jesus Christ is given to the poor and the lowly, as well as the pious and the not so pious…. Luke is here already anticipating the good news to the poor embodied in Jesus’ ministry throughout his Gospel.”

“Jesus’ acceptance of [sinners] into his fellowship points to his creation of a new community of those who were formerly on the outs with God and with other people. In this sense ‘the first will be last and the last first’ and God’s promised eschatological reversal for the poor has already become a reality in the ministry of Jesus.”

About the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16):
“How could anyone hear the vivid descriptions of the gross discrepancy in social conditions as anything other than a devastating critique against the rich who exploit the poor and live in social luxury, unmindful of the dying beggars at their gate? Moreover, God’s decisive siding with ths poor is not only alluded to in the name Lazarus, i.e., God helps, but in the great reversal which brings moral judgment. For the rich man is not just deprived of his possessions, he is punished (vv. 23-24), while Lazarus enjoys the eschatological blessings of the faithful elect. Hence we conclude that it is not just the great social inequality which results in judgment or blessing, but also the way of life associated with both…. The emphasis on the great disparity between the rich and poor raises the question acutely whether the rich as rich can avoid the eschatological reversal in the coming age.”

“Luke addressed himself to the rich Christians in his day. He does not insist that they give up all their possessions, nor does he require an elimination of all economic differences in the community. But Luke does say this to the rich Christians: ‘Your abundance and the poverty of other Christians are not in accordance with God’s will or with the spirit of Jesus. You must relinquish your abundance for the sake of the poor and work toward greater economic equality…’ ”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please no spam, ads or inappropriate language.