Monday, October 22, 2007
What would Jesus say? I know this one hasn’t quite hit pop culture yet. But now that the phrase is out there you can bet your bottom dollar that someone, somewhere will once again find a way to make a quick buck shilling the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My intent on asking the question isn’t to suggest the motto for a new bracelet but to ponder what would Jesus say to the black church and black community if say He were here today. More to the point what do those of us blessed with blackness and graced with salvation say that Jesus would say to our people? For a few there’s little doubt that the blackness we’ve known is dead and even those who don’t agree with that must at least admit that blackness is in serious trouble if not on life support. And since it’s more likely than not that we’d turn to Jesus Christ as the one having the answers to our current dilemma how would we reply to those of our people who might ask ‘what would Jesus say’.
Turning once more to the Sermon on the Mount let’s look and find the answers to the one of the most important issues of our time: namely what in the world does Jesus have to say to the souls of black folks. For those unfamiliar with the setting Jesus has embarked on His public ministry which consisted of proclaiming the kingdom of God (yes we’ll get to that later) and demonstrating the reality of that kingdom through miraculous healings and exorcisms. He has large (probably thousands) of people following Him from all over Israel both north and south (cf. Matt. 4:24-25).
At one point our Lord while in northern Israel sits down on a mountain or large hill calls his disciples (at least a few dozen or maybe hundreds) and begins to teach them. A few things to keep in mind now. First, Jesus was teaching people who had similar circumstances to many in black America. They were a subdominant group dealing with an antagonistic conquering power and thus were no doubt feeling all of the negative effects of that oppression. My guess is that most if not all of those Jesus spoke to that day had either suffered first hand or known of someone who suffered from Roman brutality. Second the disciples Jesus taught that day would no doubt spread His teaching to their families, friends and whomever else they came into contact with. Third since Jesus claimed a peculiar uniqueness (He actually told people to suffer for His sake and called YHWH His own personal Father) it seems only logical that the Lord believed that His teaching would in some way form the core philosophy concerning how His oppressed people related to Himself, God the Father, each other and the Romans.
So what would Jesus say? For now I’ll leave that to you. Take some time to read and reflect on Matthew 5 through 7. Read it and ask yourself ‘what would Jesus say to me, my family, my relatives, my friends, my neighborhood, my community, my city and my people?
To Him Who Loves Us...