For the 3rd Sunday of Epiphany, Lindsey and Adam read Matthew 4:12-23. As the drums of war beat throughout the world, Jesus gathers not troops but disciples, calling us not to fight but to repent: unlearn the ways of violence and live according to love. “Jesus Unmasked” seeks to remove the masks of exclusive theology and violent cultural lenses that obscure the truth of Jesus’s unconditional love. Scripture passages are read from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. “Jesus Unmasked” is a Raven Foundation production.
Politics and religion are intimately intertwined. Politics is about humanity’s relationship with one another and with power, and the Christian faith is about God becoming human and subverting and reorienting our understanding of power.
Jesus goes to Galilee, the land of Gentiles or “others,” to subvert our understanding of “otherness.” This is fully within the Jewish tradition, in the blessing of Israel to be a blessing to the world.
Jesus goes to a land of “death and darkness…” and beckons us to follow Him! Christianity is not about avoiding death or hell, but about going there to bring hope and love.
Jesus calls fishermen – among the most marginalized and despised of people. Literally pushed off the land and forced to make a living on the sea, the “realm of chaos,” fishermen were not accustomed to being wanted… except for their labor. There’s an eagerness to follow Jesus because he sees their humanity. But there’s also a risk, because Rome was keeping track of their productivity, and would possibly punish them for leaving their posts. This is an example of nonviolent civil disobedience.
What do we make of the way the disciples leave their father, Zebedee, behind?
Jesus gives free universal healthcare!
In times of war, the poor and the sick are often neglected. War exacerbates health problems and erodes compassion. But Jesus puts the sick, the poor, the broken and the injured FIRST. Changing the world isn’t about marching out with a powerful army but meeting the powerless where they are and healing them.
We have to change our entire outlook on what saves us. This is what repentance is all about.
Change your mind about the fisherman. They are worthy and loved and called by Jesus.
Change your mind about who the “others” are. Love your neighbors and your enemies.
Change your mind about violence. The world will be saved through healing hands, not slashing swords.
Change your mind about who God is. God is not the one who demands sacrifice or death. God is Love.
Repentance doesn’t mean wallow in guilt. It doesn’t mean revel in self-righteousness.
Repentance means you are perfectly loved, just as your enemies are perfectly loved. When we see that Perfect Love loves us all perfectly, how does that reorient our lives?