What is the purpose of our faith? Of Jesus? Many will say that the purpose is to get us to heaven after we die. Others will say to teach us how to be moral. Still others will say to ransom us from the evil one/Satan/devil. Many theories abound as to why Jesus came and what changed because of his being among us, his death and his resurrection.
One of the greatest insights into this truth is found through a quote from Fr. Richard Rohr. He states, “Jesus did not come to change God’s mind about humanity. Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.” This is revolutionary and foundational. God has been, is now and forever will be, loving creation. It is God’s nature…God is love. Unfortunately, we have been slow to embracing this concept and too often prefer a vindictive God (the God who punishes those bad people…of course, we aren’t in that group), rather than the gracious and restorative God.
In the early section of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus outlines his purpose in ministry and life. Read Luke 4:16-21. What is Jesus’ purpose? He outlines a few key points—
~Preach Good News to the poor (poor in material and/or poor in spirit?);
~Proclaim release to the prisoners (those in jail and/or those imprisoned in life-like addictions?);
~Recover the sight of the blind (just the small percentage of legally blind and/or those blind to God like Nicodemus in John 3?)
~Liberate (free) the oppressed (those who live under the control of another/those who feel far from God?)
~Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (the ancient way of Jubilee, in which all is made whole and equal?)
Yes, these are deep, world changing ideas. They ought to shape how we view the purpose of Jesus and what it means to Embody Christ! If the root of our theology is love, how we answer these questions changes in light of love. It invites us to be about the same things! The way of love must be the way of inclusion, which brings a reality of wholeness to all, or else it is not love!