While the Jesus Model is less complicated than all the Temple approaches to God. The Jesus Model is more demanding. Because of things Jesus said like John 13:34-35 (NLT)
Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
Jesus also redefined 4 terms that are very important to our understanding of this Brand New movement.
#1 Structure: The church is a body, not an earthly Kingdom. While Jesus and Paul both referenced God's Kingdom coming, it is not of this world. Paul talked directly about the church being a Body. While each of us has been gifted to play a specific part. However, if we aren't engaged, something is missing. And if we aren't engaged we are missing something. While the Temple Model is about consuming, the Jesus Model is about engaging. We could stay home and worship God alone, but why would we want to do that when we can engage with the rest of the Body and change our community and change our world? Why would we cheat ourselves & the Body?
#2 Authority: Exercised for the benefit of the followers, not the leaders. Jesus completely turned the leadership paradigm upside down. In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus explains to his disciples that authority is about leveraging our power to serve those under our authority. Then Jesus said in John 13:15-16, the more authority we gain, the more feet we need to wash.
#3 Marriage: A caring partnership not ownership or domination. Jesus elevated the status of women in a world where they were property, their voices didn't count, and they were treated as 2nd rate. Jesus replaced the idea of marriage as ownership with marriage as a partnership. Then in Ephesians 5:21, Paul came along and re-emphasized that marriage should be a level playing field.
#4 Holiness: Being "a part of" rather than setting one's self "apart from". Jesus coming to Earth showed that holiness was no longer about withdrawing from, but rather engaging with. Holiness wasn't about disengaging from the world. It wasn't about the Christians huddling up together. It wasn't just about making a "Christian" everything. In John 1:14, we see that the perfect, holy God would choose to come down to our dirty planet and not just become a human, but also make his home among other humans. Then Jesus, the Messiah, would go around touching, healing & interacting with unclean, unholy people. He redefined holiness to being "a part of" rather than setting one's self "apart from".
- Do you define these 4 terms the same way Jesus did?
- What if we all individually engaged as a part of the Body?
- What if every Christian in authority decided to use authority for the sake of the people under them?
- What if every husband & wife laid down their rights & reasons and learned to treat each other the way that God through Christ has treated them?
- What if we looked for ways to engage our community rather than retreat and huddling together?
What if we began to ask at every point when selfishness rises up or those moments when we want our way...What does love require of me?
That brand of Christianity changed the world once. That brand of Christianity can change the world again. That brand of Christianity will be almost irresistible.