The distinctive feature of the ministry of Jesus was that while it was an open invitation to everyone and all were welcome, it was directed primarily towards those whom the orthodox, the establishment, regarded as beyond the fringes of respectability. The ministry of Jesus was directed especially to those who were considered to be beyond the realm of salvation according to the theology of the day: lepers who had to live outside the camp, regarded as unclean and denied fellowship with others; Gentiles who had no share in the privileges of Israel; women and children who had no status within the community; notorious sinners, despised tax collectors, drunkards and prostitutes. The ministry of Jesus was open to all, but it was directed primarily towards the oppressed and the outcast, for it was a ministry of grace and love.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
A preferential option for the poor?
Is the gospel good news for the poor or for everyone? Whenever I suggest that the gospel is good news for the poor, there are people that ask 'what about me?' It's not that the 'non-poor' are excluded but perhaps that to prompt the question is to miss the point. Here's how my first theological professor, Athol Gill, put it: