“Jesus had a special mission to the marginalized” Essay
Explain this statement, using examples from the gospel and say why the attitude of Jesus provoked a hostile reaction from some Jews.In the time of Jesus, many groups of people were marginalized. These groups included Lepers, Gentiles, Women, Sinners and Tax Collectors. These people were all treated as “Outcasts” of society.If we read the gospel, we see there’s evidence that Jesus deliberately went out of his way to help these people.From Luke’s gospel, we can see that there are many cases in which Jesus seeked and found these so-called “Outcasts”. The reason they were seen as Outcasts in the eyes of normal Jews is because at the time of Jesus, if you were seen to have a disability then you were seen as being punished by God.Throughout his life, Jesus healed many people and most of them were marginalized from society by Jews. For example, in the story of “Jesus heals a Leper” (Luke 4:38-40) Jesus was in a town where he saw a man who had Leprosy. When he seen the man, the man fell to his knees and begged Jesus to heal him, “Sir, if you want, you can make me clean!” Then, Jesus stretched out his hands and touched the man, “I do want to,” he answered. “Be clean.” At once the Leprosy left the man. Then Jesus ordered the man not to tell anyone about it, except the priest, who was to examine the man.This provoked a hostile reaction amongst some Jews because they believed that if you had any contact with “unclean” people, then it made you “unclean” also. Jesus wasn’t comfortable with the fact that people were being isolated due to the law.Another story of Jesus going out of his way to heal a people marginalized from society is in the story of Zacchaeus, the Tax Collector (Luke 19:1-10). As Jesus was walking through Jericho, there was a Tax Collector there named Zacchaeus, who was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but because he was a physically small man he couldn’t see Jesus because of the crowd of people. He climbed to the top of a nearby Sycamore tree to see Jesus who was passing by. Jesus looked up and seen the man at the top of the tree and said “Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today.” Zacchaeus hurried down the tree and welcomed him with great joy. All the people in the crowd started grumbling because Jesus was associating with a “Sinner”. Zacchaeus stood up and told Jesus that he’d give away half of his money to the poor people, and said if he had cheated anybody out of money then he’d pay them back, four times as much.This caused a hostile reaction, because Jesus was associating with a “sinner” who had stolen and cheated the people out of money, and also, Tax Collectors worked for Romans, who were occupying their country by force. When the people grumbled, it showed to what extent the disliked Zacchaeus.The third story from Luke’s gospel, which proves that Jesus deliberately went out of his way to seek and help is Luke 18:35-43; Jesus heals a Blind Beggar who has faith. As Jesus was coming near Jericho, he was approached by an elderly man who was by the roadside, begging. When he heard the crowd passing by, he said, “What’s this?” The crowd replied, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”The elderly man called out “Jesus! Son of David! Take pity on me!” The people in front of him scolded the blind man and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David! Take pity on me!” Jesus heard the man shouting his name, and asked for the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Sir, I want to see again,” the elderly man answered. Jesus replied, “Then see! Your faith has made you well.”This caused a hostile reaction because Jesus did this miracle in public, and didn’t ask the people to be quiet about what had happened. This was because he knew that his life was coming to an end soon.In all these examples we see Jesus breaking down the barriers (laws) by befriending “unclean” people, associating with them, and by having contact with them. This made Jesus become hated by the lawmakers in Israel.