Jesus is known to be one of history’s most influential men. That’s because in some sense he was a man, but in many other ways he was more than just a man. Taking a band of twelve ordinary men, He started a revolution that would become the very fabric that we exist in today as believers and followers of Christ.
But the way Jesus did it was no walk in the park. Many times, He had to challenge Jewish and even universally accepted ethics and norms so that people would understand what our life is really about. Here are four accounts where Jesus changed the norms and changed the way things are done even today.
1. Love your enemies.
In a culture where it’s often “me against the world,” Jesus commanded in Matthew 5:43-44, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” It’s other worldly even today to even consider behaving in such a way that blesses not just those who do good to you, but even those who are out to malign or hurt you.
Jesus changed the way things happened when He called Jews to love tax collectors, gentiles, sinners and even the Roman government.
2. Sabbath is for man, not man for sabbath.
In a society previously influenced by the domineering and letter-following ways of Pharisees and Sadducees prior to Jesus initiating His ministry, everyone was used to blindly following traditions and laws just because they were told to. Jesus challenged that by getting people to ask “why?” and “how does this benefit me?”
God gives us laws for our welfare and so that we may draw closer to Him, and it is our privilege and responsibility to understand how the law fits into that.
3. Conviction not condemnation.
When Jesus stood up in front of the woman being accused of adultery and said “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more,” (John 8:11) people had seen something that they were not accustomed to- they saw mercy.
God declares in Hosea 6:6, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” The law is important and so is discipline, but if it does not point back to the persona of the loving and gracious Heavenly Father we all have, we miss the point.
4. Forgive always.
Peter thought he was being a hot-shot by saying that he would forgive seven times instead of the standard three that common judiciary systems would have in that day, but Jesus challenges even that and says in Matthew 18:22 “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy- seven times.”
We can forgive ultimately because God has forgiven us of all debts, and as He has extended mercy and grace, He desires that we walk in that same mercy and grace as well.
By By Patrick Mabilog