Day 3—Second Week #1 Exercises
As I stated previously, I’ve been quite busy with the second year of Spiritual Director training. And because of that, I’m not able to update this blog as much as I’d like. However, the last few days of class have been the exception to the rule.
Last time, we talked about God’s Dream. Today, we’ll focus on Jesus and his cause. The prayer texts for this are:
Who was Jesus: Isaiah 9.6-7; Matthew 16.13-24; Luke 9.18-22; John 1.1-18; 6.35; 8.12, 57-58; 10.37-38; Colossians 1.15-20.
What was his cause: Isaiah 11.1-11; 53.1-12; Matthew 11.2-6; Mark 10.45; Luke 4.16-20.
Just like the other day, I’d add some other texts, specifically to Jesus’ cause: Mark 1.15; 10.35-45; Luke 4.16-21; etc.
To put it bluntly, the Gospels seem compelled to say that Jesus did and said the things that only Yahweh was supposed to do and say (see Wright’s book How God Became King). His main cause, therefore, was to usher in God’s Realm (or Kingdom). As he said in Mark 1.15, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!” And just like we saw from Luke 4, the fulfillment of those promises—the preaching of God’s Realm to the poor, the releasing of prisoners, healing the blind, liberating the oppressed, and proclaiming Yahweh’s Jubilee—is not sometime in the distant future. No. Jesus said, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled” (v. 21). All of the passages above are sub-points to the establishment of God’s Realm. In other words, it’s because of God’s realm that all of those other things happen.
Another way of saying this is that there’s an eschatological emphasis with Jesus. He’s the final chapter, if you will, of Israel’s story. St. Paul wrote that Jesus is the “goal of the Law” (Romans 10.4). That is to say, everything was leading up to Jesus. He’s the hinge upon which the whole story turns. All of God’s promises find their fulfillment in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1.20). Because of Jesus, the “old creation” came to an end. That is, the Old Covenant System—with its sacrifices, laws, etc.—were only a temporary system put in place until Jesus (Galatians 3.23-25). That system, however, wouldn’t be completely finished until the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE (Hebrews 8.7-13; note the present tense verbs in verse 13).
Furthermore, somehow, through Jesus, God’s Dream would begin. The seeds would be planted during his ministry, the crops would grow (from his ascension to the beginning of the war), and then the harvest would occur at the end of the Old Covenant age (Matthew 13.36-43; 24.1ff). Ultimately then, God’s Dream (i.e., Jesus’ main cause) is the complete restoration of all creation (Colossians 1.15-20). From then to now and into the future, God’s Dream is continuing to spread throughout creation and will finally be capped off with a fresh surge of Grace when God’s Realm and our realm fully and finally become one (Revelation 21.1-5; cf. John 17.11; 20-23).
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC