If we are fair, you can use the bible to bring validation to either perspective. The reason is that there are examples of both types of justice. Yet, in light of the Christ event, we must ask how the example of Jesus influences our vision of justice and our call to be a people of justice.

Truth be told, justice is a giant animal to try to tackle. Justice typically involves systems and systems are incredibly hard to challenge, let alone change. Perhaps that is a root cause of Jesus’ death—he challenged the religious system and the political system of Rome. For the Romans had a reason to put him to death—he was a rabble-rouser, in their view. The system of Rome worked for the imperial powers that held the places of prominence. Just like in Rome, as in any other place, anyone daring enough to challenge people’s places of comfort, affluence and power are always met with resistance, if not outright attack.

In Jesus’ teaching, he often spoke truth through story. This is the only way to challenge the status quo, I would dare say. In Luke 16, he begins to tell a story of the injustice of our world. Read Luke 16:19-31.

This nuanced story speaks directly to justice. The people have always had the path of justice, they have simply chosen to ignore it. This one, in his comfort and plenty, simply ignores the need of his neighbor. Assuming that this is a ‘faithful’ man, he would have known the law and the call to care for the poor. Yet, he simply turns away from the opportunity before him. He ignores justice and simply enjoys luxury. Is Jesus speaking to the reality of his time and place while this message continues to filter to our generation? By the way, I have found that most people look up to what others have, who have more, and seldom look below to see the riches they have that others are looking up to. Justice is partly marked by the way we view, and use, our resources!