Many Christians I encounter seem to want to place the gospel in a spiritual category safely away from the messiness of life, including politics. That is, Jesus is all about spiritual things (sin and salvation) and doesn’t really go near the political realm. The assumption is that the Bible itself has to do with spiritual matters, not social matters.
I find that this understanding is rooted in American evangelicalism more than in the New Testament, which tends to create unnecessary categories which are then imposed onto the Bible. The trouble is that the Bible itself does not support the notion that God’s mission only deals with spiritual matters. There is always overlap between the spiritual realm and the social realm.
In his book The Jesus Creed, here’s what Scot McKnight has to say about Mary’s song found in Luke.
“Mary’s song is actually announcing a social revolution. The King at the time is Herod the Great, and he is a power-tossing and death-dealing tyrant. Mary is announcing that he will be dealt his own due and have his power tossed to the winds. In his place, Mary declares, God will establish her very own son. Unlike Herod, he will rule with mercy and justice.”
McKnight also notes that when we think of Jesus’ teachings, we disconnect them from Jesus’ mother (who happened to raise Jesus). Among Protestants there seems to be an aversion to the mother of Jesus. “While some tend to adore Mary a little too much, Protestants tend to avoid her too often.” And yet Protestants are not exempt from the call of Luke 1:48 for all generations to call Mary blessed.
Protestants sometimes avoid Mary like the plague, but this is an overreaction. “There is good reason…for many of us to reconsider Mary’s impact on Jesus, because the Gospels clearly show that she had a significant influence on his teachings” (p. 89).
Further quotes about Mary
“We dare not make light of our past—whether it was wondrous or abusive, reckless or righteous. All we can do, like Mary, is offer to the Lord who we are and what we’ve been. He accepts us—past and all.”
December 28, 2020 at 1:00 am
“In [Herod’s] place, Mary declares, God will establish her very own son. Unlike Herod, he will rule with mercy and justice.”
This is great! How does McKnight envision how this happens/happened exactly?
In my view Mary’s song comes to fruition when God transfers political authority over the empire and over Israel to the church.
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December 28, 2020 at 10:21 pm
I will check, though Mary was given just a brief section! But *Jesus Creed* is great so far…McKnight generally delivers solid stuff in a pretty readable way…