Revolutionary revelations contained in this book
The political dimension of Christ's mission
In shedding his blood “for the forgiveness of sins” Jesus was not forgiving mankind in general but the multitudes of his guilt ridden and impoverished followers who had been dispossessed of their land by the Temple aristocracy and then stigmatized as sinners by the draconian purity rules of Shammaite Pharisees. Those rules ascribed such adversity to sinfulness and in healing these people, Jesus was imparting complete forgiveness by erasing their guilt. But the Temple that regarded forgiveness as its exclusive preserve and thus Christ posed a direct threat to its authority. Thus in ‘pouring out’ his blood for this cause, the New Covenant Jesus sealed was not Christocentric. Rather it was elevating human compassion as the core principle and purpose of our lives.
Judaic distinctiveness of Christ's mission
- In confining his message to the Jews, Jesus was not an ethnic chauvinist. It was the most direct way he could convey the primacy of compassion and social justice which were embedded in the rich traditions of Judaic humanism.
- His message was enhanced by contrasting these humanist Judaic ethics with the debased and corrupted Judaism that had gained ascendency in the Temple of Jerusalem. In confronting this institutionalized oppression, his mission became intensely political.
- Unlike John the Baptist, Jesus did not share the prevailing obsession with an impending apocalyptic end of time. He joined John’s movement not in anticipation of divine deliverance but because it was anti Temple- and was about to have a leadership vacancy.
Christs political and moral priorities
- Jesus was not the bleeding heart liberal stereotype of the social gospel. The long march to a Kingdom of Heaven on earth required starting with the most extreme cases of human suffering, not the 'poor' but the ptochos, the Greek word used by gospel writers which meant the vulnerable and helpless, the utterly destitute and desperate.
God and evil
- Jesus declared the purpose of suffering was to reveal the glory of God as reflected in human compassion. In the parable of a farmer and his field, Jesus infers God did not consciously will this suffering and that it should be seen as an unavoidable and inexorable concomitant to the creation of life.
The purpose of human existence
- Our ultimate salvation or otherwise will hinge on the degree to which we express this compassion given the capacities we are endowed with. We will have a number of reincarnated lifetimes in which to pursue this spiritual goal. To see someone who may have already discovered what Christ called the 'Kingdom of heaven', open this link: http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article/258860/saint-catherine
Interview with Tom Drake-Brockman on US Christian radio, State of Belief programme: http://stateofbelief.com/segments/christian-humanism/