This essay sample on Jesus Interactions With Outcasts provides all necessary basic information on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
Jewish religion and culture created many distinctions in society and there were many categories of people who were considered as outcasts, such as, lepers, Romans, foreigners, the sick and the poor. People who belonged to any of these categories were considered “unclean” and therefore were avoided.
Jesus consistently breaks these conventions and interacts with outcasts. Jesus demonstrates equality and compassion whilst dealing with outcasts. In Luke 16:19-31, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The Rich Man gave the beggar nothing, not even the scraps from the table passed over by those who had plenty.
This lack of generosity certainly had its consequences in the afterlife. His misuse of his riches has excluded him from eternal reward. He has enjoyed his ‘reward’ on earth in full, spending it all on himself, with no care for the beggar at his gate.
Riches may have been a gift from God, a reward even, but even the Torah would reveal that the responsibility to be generous came with power and money. However,1 Jeremias has pointed out that Jesus’ audience may well have associated the rich man in His parable with tax collector, so the Rich Man in Jesus’ story ending up in torment, separated from the good, would not, perhaps have been surprising.
On the other hand, it’s important to appreciate that from a Jewish perspective, many of Jesus’ listeners would perceive Lazarus as a sinner because of his miserable position, which was a judgement from God.
Hence the sequel must have been wholly unexpected by the audience. ” Jesus’ listeners would have been shocked to learn that Lazarus was spending the afterlife in the intimate company of the great patriarch Abraham. He has enjoyed a complete reversal of fortune as suggested by 2Hendrikesen, after all the Rich man had several opportunities to help the beggar ut did not do so.
It is also suggested by 3Drury that the Rich Man may, perhaps, have been of the Sadducee party. The Sadducees, a small but powerful group within Judaism, from whose ranks the top officials in the Temple. This elite often were the richest and the most powerful people who believed in preserving their traditions and would have kept In Luke 10:25-35 we have the Parable of the Good Samaritan, one of the most famous stories of Jesus and outcasts. The parable itself talks of how a man is beaten and robbed and left for dead by the roadside. A priest and a Levite walk by, ignoring him.
The only one who stops and helps is a Samaritan. The Jews hated Samaritans at this time, and they wouldn’t have liked that teaching. Jesus was saying that our neighbours might be the people we least expect. In that last parable, Jesus would have caused great offence by hinting that a Samaritan, a foreigner, and so an outcast, could reach the kingdom of heaven. Jews had the belief that they were God’s chosen people, and so were the only people who would enter heaven. Jewish law told that some groups should be ostracised and so they became outcasts.
Jesus’ open welcoming of outcasts would have provoked hostile reactions among Jews as He was clearly breaking laws. Jesus himself was made an outcast for associating with other outcasts, which even helped his teachings. Jesus, however, welcomed and helped these people. He openly broke down the barriers that society had placed between themselves and these outcasts. Jesus touched lepers, talked with tax collectors and ate with sinners. One of the many examples of this is told in Luke 19:1-10. It is the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus, in which Zacchaeus is a chief tax collector who wanted to see Jesus.
As he was small he climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus. Jesus called him down and said he would stay in his house. The people were shocked that Jesus was going to and outcast’s home. Zacchaeus promised to give half his belongings to the poor, and pay all he had cheated back four times as much. Jesus said that salvation had come to him and used a Messianic title talking of himself. This story is one of conversion, where the people were shocked that Jesus was actually calling a sinner and associating with him. How far does a social and historical background of first century Palestine contribute to an understanding of these events?
In the time of Jesus, many people were marginalized; meaning that they were ostracised, or separated from the rest of the community. These outcasts included lepers, Romans, tax collectors, women (especially widows), sinners and foreigners. It was thought that these people deserved to be in treated like this as it was there own fault and that their sickness was a punishment from God. Jesus obviously did not agree with this opinion and showed that everyone was equal and deserved respect and care just like everyone else. The Jewish teachers of law would have been enraged by Jesus’ actions.
He was going against major teachings of the law. On the Sermon on the Mount, he had taken it upon himself to, in the Jew’s eyes, to rewrite what had been passed down form generation to generation from Mosses and others. Although not completely changing them, some would have found that the new laws were much harder as they required real commitment to God. They considered that if you gave money to the church, you were a good person. Now they were shown that they must have the spirit and the faith, which was much more important.
In many of Jesus’ miracles he did them because of the strong faith of those who received. Jews saw the Romans as an occupying army and the fact that they were foreigners and so in the Jew’s eyes wouldn’t enter heaven. Jews would have believed that these were second-class citizens and anyone who worked for them were disloyal to the Jews. Also many Jews felt that tax collectors charged much more than was required. This was immensely irritating to the Jews and therefore tax collectors were considered unclean spiritually and morally.