Jesus, the great transgressor


When one contemplatively reads the gospel stories about Jesus we discover a Jesus that transgresses…

Transgress: to violate a law, command, moral code, etc.; offend; sin; to literally ‘step across’.

Jesus is often found saying in the gospels “you’ve heard it said…but now I say to you.” Transgressive.

Jesus said: “something greater than the temple is here.” Transgressive.

Jesus touched the untouchable. Ate with the unclean. Drank with the scourge of his community. Transgressive.

What are some other ways to describe this Jesus?

Scandal. Horror. Calamity. Catastrophic.

What else?

We are talking about the God-enfleshed that transgresses the false worlds and systems that seek to exclude, oppress, annihilate difference. Jesus transgresses the habit of human systems that pour out death on human communities.

How do we follow a transgressive Jesus in a community filled with violence, disinterested narrow political and economic interests, status-quo Christianity (or as Frederick Douglass called ‘slave-holding religion’)?

What does it look like to follow a Jesus that scandalizes human systems?

A Jesus that evokes horror in the souls of the powerful?

Provokes calamitous feelings in the hearts of the presumptuous pious?

A catastrophic Jesus that was possessed by the powerful Holy Spirit: bringer and energizer of a disturbing new creation?

Our times need a Jesus that transgresses cultural sentimentality and the status quo.

Jesus’ deep solidarity with the margins and those that suffer in society was a profound transgressive act that got him killed.

Our times are crying for followers of Jesus willing to be transgressors like him…

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” Jesus, Gospel according to John 14:12

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