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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jesus for President: Week 1 (see http://www.jesusforpresident.org/)

Where we [humans] go wrong – wanting to be the judge or determiner of what is good and evil; beautiful and ugly; right and wrong {Story in Genesis 2 – 3 of Adam and Eve}. That was the temptation -- to be like God -- the one determing what is good and evil, right and wrong . . . isn't that still the temptation today?

What God wants – humans to rely on God and the creation God made good and beautiful – not rely on human authority or the temporary beauty of the empire (consumerism) {Genesis 1}

What we can learn about leadership in the kingdom of heaven – God picks unlikely people to lead God’s people: homeless people (Abraham and Sarah); shepherd (Moses and David); crying mothers (Rizpah). God’s leadership is usually from the bottom up, not the top down as we humans like it. God chooses weakest, most unlikely characters to be the heroes of liberation story; lest we be tempted to think it is our own power and authority (see Joshua 6, Judges 7) – unlikely overpowering

What we can learn about being ‘leaders’ for God: Yes we are set apart. Can’t rest in being set apart by God – our blessing from God our call to be different must lead to actions – we are set apart to heal and bless a broken world – the way we are set apart should be evident to others in how we interact with the rest of the world (empire). God did not set us apart just to be special people – no, to be people living out that blessing from God in what we do and in decisions we make.

God continues to reach out to us (and Israel) even though we continually turn to human authority and leadership and put our faith there rather than God.
God’s kingdom and leadership is radically different; see the hopes of it in Isaiah 11.

Read Luke 2:1, 9-11 looking at how radical the angel’s pronouncement really was in light of the meaning of the words in the political context of the Roman empire.
Kingdom: Roman Empire v. Kingdom of heaven with God at head who liberated Israelites from slavery and wants to liberate all people from the sinful powers of empire
Gospel: imperial announcement, usually accompanied by flags and ceremony regarding birth of an heir to emperor v. Gospel: Jesus’ good news that God’s kingdom had come near
Christ – messiah, known to Romans as title for king of the Jews; means commissioned or appointed usually only refers to emperor v. Christ – messiah, divinely appointed ruler who would fulfill promises of liberation from empire
Son of God – title for kings and emperors v. Son of God – name for Jesus

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