A lot of commentary is devoted to why Jesus came. His basic message was to love the Lord your God and to love your neighbor as yourself. He came to spread a gospel of love, not of hate. This message holds greater meaning for me when I consider what it was like to live in His place and time. Jesus turned traditional family values upside down to teach what God wants. Jesus dressed like a Jew, ate like a Jew, loved to eat and drink, and deeply lived out his Judaism. That he engaged in questions of how to follow the commandments showed he cared deeply about them. He said there will be a time when we will no longer ask ‘Who is my neighbor?’, but ‘Who acts as neighbor?’ Are we waiting to be served rather than serve?
Rabbi Hillel, one of Judaism’s greatest teachers once said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. All the rest is commentary; go and learn” (‘The Misunderstood Jew’, Amy-Jill Levine). Jesus takes this a little further. Levine sees Jesus as the hero of the masses, come to promote a more just society. His followers practiced daily prayer, shared goods in common, cared for widows and believed in trusting in God’s will. Of faith, hope and charity, they believed the greatest of these is charity. We see modern day examples in Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa. Be proactive, practice nonviolence and charity in all forms.
And be opened! Like Jesus, we also have the power to heal.
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