My friend D is a passionate Jesus-follower and loves sharing about his community in India. He shares a bathroom with 23 people, many of whom wash their clothes with rocks. He listens to and learns from his neighbors in a crammed slum neighborhood. He thinks about the way of life to which Jesus calls us, and talks with others about how community development and societal redemption can flourish.
I spent time with D and a handful of other college students every weekend on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus, reading and praying through the book of Acts, being inspired and convicted by the Holy Spirit’s work through the early Church movement. D and others with me were plotting to carry the torch of Jesus’ Church within the U of M and surrounding universities, connecting students with the Gospel of Jesus and meaningful community in which to thrive. Out of these weekend Bible studies and prayer came the church plant of Jacob’s Well, pastored by one of my best friends and brothers, Nate Ray. I worked with JWell during my years at college, some of the most spiritual- and leadership-formative experiences of my life.
When D recently traveled back to the States to tell people about his experiences and visit family and friends, he spoke to Jacob’s Well. I listened to the podcast last week and it spun my wheels. “Embracing Brokenness,” he called it, and he posed the question:
What boundaries does Jesus cross?
I came up with a few thoughts to add. Jesus crosses the boundaries of…
- Tradition. Jesus reframes ceremonial hand washing. Matthew 15:1-20.
- Cultures and regions. Jesus travels through a “shady” town and talks to a “shady” lady. John 4:1-42.
- Cultural taboos. Jesus calls a tax collector to be his disciple. Matthew 9:9-13. Jesus is a friend of sinners. Matthew 11:19.
- Cleanliness and health. Jesus touches and heals a man with leprosy. Matthew 8:1-4.
- Nationality and social status. Jesus commends a Roman officer’s faith. Matthew 8:5-13. Jesus commends the faith of a Gentile woman. Matthew 15: 21-28.
- Age. Jesus touches and blesses children and commends their faith. Mark 10:13-16.
- Religion. Jesus redefines the Sabbath. Matthew 12:1-21.
- Laws of physical nature. Jesus multiplies fish and bread. Matthew 14:13-21. Jesus walks on water. Matthew 14:22-34.
- Safety to risk. Jesus wrestles with the Father’s call self-sacrifice. Matthew 26:36-46.
- Divine to human. God puts skin on and moves into the neighborhood. John 1:1-14. Jesus gave up divine privileges to become a humble servant. Philippians 2:5-11.
A good instigating concept from my friend D, who blogs here (and even shares some slam poetry).
In your perspective, what boundaries does Jesus cross?