Jesus attitude to sinners
Jesus was sent by God to the world to come and save the mankind. His mission was to spread the word of God and make sinners repent. God himself loves sinners, and he had to send his only son Jesus to come and save sinners “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men tosaved and to come to an awareness of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a sacrificeto all men…” (1 Tim. 1:3-6).Jesus loves sinners that he sacrificed his life for the sinners to see the kingdom of heaven. Jesus gave sinners a second chance. He didn’t want anyone to perish, but everyone one to come to repentance(Wilson, 2004).
He welcomed and ate with sinners (Luke 15:1-10) “This man welcomes sinners and eat with them” The Pharisees said. Jesus was talking at that time to the tax collectors and “sinners” who had all gathered to hear Him Jesus get invited to Levi house. A big banquet held and a large crowd of tax collectors gathered to eat with him. Jesus wanted to show that he had not come for the righteous,but the sinners to repent. Tax collectors a viewed as the most corrupt people hence termed as sinners as they used to take bribes. He engaged with sinners so as to fulfill his mission of redemption.
Jesus had mercy on the sinners on the sinners. At the cross, Jesus pay for the forgiveness of his executioners. At the same time, he promised the thug crucified with him paradise. “This day you will be with me in paradise.”Luke 23:34, 39-43. Jesus let the adulterous woman go since no one is found worthy to accuse her.Jesus, when left alone with her,says,” Go in peace your sins are forgiven. Sin no more.”
The son of a man feels and knows that when forgiven more sin the closer the person comes to God. To illustrate this Jesus narrates this parable of the debtor where the one with more debt and another with less debt. The other whosesin is less and forgiven does not feel much appreciated as the one forgiven more sins the more he or she has for God. The Pharisees with the self-righteous feels bad about this. For if the tax collector and the prostitutes were forgiven they become even more saintly than thePharisees
The description of cultural norms of 1st century Palestine.Politically the Jewish this time were under the Roman rule. There was a Roman representation that is Herod, who reported to Ceaser (Emperor).The Jewish accepted all religious beliefs, philosophical teaching and government system are compatible. The system was to meet to give people religious freedom, political freedom and freedom of thought yet strictly controlled. The Jewish were so against the Roman Empire as it did not allow placement of idol in places of worship.Furthermore the Jewish considered all people outside Israel community to be gentiles. Another reason that added to this resentment of the Jewish towards the Roman Empire was when Herod massacred all the Jewish male firstborns. The Jewish government divided into two parties. The Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees taught the Law and the traditions of Israelites patriarch and strictly conformed to Jewish law. The Sadducees were the wealthy conservative leaders who rejected the traditions in favor of political and religious cooperation with the Romans.
Economically,there was a very large disparity between the poor. There were large constructions underway commissioned by Herod. The Jewish involved themselves in agricultural activities such as cultivation of olives, dates, grains, figs and vineyards. The Roman government imposed heavy taxes to the Jewish. The tax collectors who were local employees collected tax. They were considered outcast and traitors to the community. The rich in the society were mainly the Sadducees who werethe Roman Empiresympathizers. The middle class consisted of the Pharisees, merchants, artisans, and craftsmen. The low class included; the casual laborers, the unemployable (blind, lepers, deaf,etc.),and the slaves who were mainly from other communities and taken due to the debt they owned. The Jewish were also expected to give anoffering in the temple.
The Palestine community during Jesustime mostly consisted of Jewish, Syrian, Armenians, Greeks and Romans. Jesus lived in the farming village of Nazareth. The commonly spoken languages here were Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin.Jesus spoke Aramaic throughout his life. The houses were two square rooms with dirt floors. They ate two meals a day that is a light breakfast and a heavy evening meal. The women were the one who were to prepare the food and milk the cows. The hub of the village was the marketplaces and the shops. They wore tonic as the undergarment and a mantle as the outer garment. Men also wore abelt and some wore saddles. The man was the spiritual and the legal leader of the family. The unmarried sons and daughter lived under one roof together with their parents. The Jewish family lived under strict religious, social and moral values. Jesus’s family consisted of Joseph, a carpenter who was the father, Mary the mother and Jesus. The family, therefore, was a middle-class family.
The Jewish religious setting was that of a monotheism nature. Which meant they worshiped one God. They believed there God was invisible and untouchable. Unlike the surrounding communities who had many gods (polytheism). The Jewish had a Sabbath day which started Friday sundown all through Saturday sundown. On this day all the families were expected to start with a morning prayer; women would then light candles in the house and then have a lively a jovial dinner. There was also a Passover feast every year. All the members of the family were required to go to Jerusalem and celebrate the day theyfreed from Egypt. The Jewish were also expectant of a promised Messiah. They believed the Messiah would come and redeem them from their capturers. At this particular period, they were expecting to be freed from the Roman rule. They were also believers in superstition and spirit of the ancestors and the control by curses.
The Jewish studied at the synagogues (houses of assembly).The history and the law of the Jewish are in the Torah. The Torah consisted the first five books of the current Bible. The Rabbiwere respected people and taught young men the Law and History of the Jewish community. Studies began at the stage of five years and continued to the age eighteen. Higher education was through taking a few more topics and learning them broadly. Young women were taught back at home by their mothers and other elderly women in the neighborhood.
Jesus differed with these cultural norms in some ways as discussed below:
The political perception of Jesus was that of servanthood as opposed to that which existed at the time. Jesus as a leader is a servant to the people. He also expects his followers to be aservant to those they led. ‘The first will be last, and the last the first’ Jesus said Mark 10:31. These were not the norm in the political leadership at the time. Giving Herod a reason to prosecute Jesus and the Emperor also to give the go ahead to the executioner to get rid of Him.
Jesus differs greatly with the social norms of the time. He says that the Pharisees called John a Demon who did not eat or drink. But when Jesus, who eat and drink, come they call him a glutton and drunkard. Jesus ate and partied with thetax collector and prostitutes ‘sinners’ which isagainst the religious norms of the Pharisees. But Jesus said to the tax collectors and the prostitutes would get into the kingdom of God ahead of them.
Jesus also differed in a great way on the position of a woman in the society. He allows the sinful woman to enter into a men alone meeting. At Simon’shouse, the woman washes his feet with her tears and dries them with her hair.She even goes further and anoints them with ointment oil. We also see Jesus allowing women to finance his activities(Edersheim, 2009). These are the duties purely for men at the time, but Jesus goes against the usual norms.
On the question of who is a neighbor, Jesus differs beyond any typical Jewish understanding. He illustrates this by the narration of the Good Samaritan parable. According to the Jewish this was far and unthinkable as they took anyone from outside the Jewish as an outcast and pagan.
Jesus attacks the family values of the Jewish at the time. He, for instance, tell a man to follow him but then the man asks for permission to bury his father. Jesus tells him to let the departed bury their own dead.In anotherinstance, he asks another man to follow him. The man asks to go back and bid his family farewell. Jesus in response tell him to forget about it and go and proclaim the kingdom of God.It goes even to a higher level when he outrightly says that unless a man hates his father, mother, wife, husband, children, brother, sister and his entire family he cannot be his disciple. The Jewish family norms at the time did not conform to such a doctrine.
All this has great significance to modern Christian’s. As followers of Christ,it requires one to be a servant to all those who have been placed to led and serve. It teaches every Christian that a neighbor is anyone who is in need of their help or assistance in any way that glorifies the Lord. The modern day Christian is also reminded his task of proclaiming the Gospel rather than concentrating on their personal gains and families. As a follower of Christ one also learn that they should not discriminate anyone due to any differences in their social status. For instance, a Christian learns that he has to take care of the sick, orphans, persons with disability to name a few of those whom nature has not favored. Church leaders and pastors in the current world should focus on bringing more into the flock of Jesus. Instead of doing so most continue to exploit their congregation and instead of being servants they have turned to businessmen and women. These teaching of Jesus are therefore of utmost significance in the current society dispensation.
Wilson, Andrew Norman. Jesus. New York: Norton, 2004. Print.
Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2009. Print.