What was Jesus about? Was he trying to start an exclusive club or was he trying to create a new world of inclusivity? These questions have dogged Christianity for millennia. Some Christians insist that God’s love is exclusive, so that only certain types of believers are saved. Scriptures such as John 14.6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” are often used as a tribalist form of salvation.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus mission and ministry is depicted differently. Jesus doesn’t see himself as an inclusive club leader, instead he interprets his work as liberating and prophetic. At the very beginning of his preaching career, Jesus declares:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free.” -Luke 4:18
How has the elevation of one exclusivist Bible passage (John 14.6) distorted the way we perceive Christianity and even Jesus himself? How would our faith change if Jesus’ message of liberation (Luke 4:18-19) was plastered on billboards instead? Join The Progressive Sacred for a conversation about Jesus and the church, about universalism and tribalism, and how we can reclaim Jesus’ radical love.
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