Our political theology is strengthened by trusting that the words of the Son of Man are a fleshly restatement of what is divinely just and good and holy and lovely. Because Christ has come and his presence is with us, God’s words are even more accessible to us.
The weighty and earnest words of Deuteronomy ring out with welcome clarity in a time of partisan wrangling and division. God cuts to the chase, gets right to the bottom line, and calls out what is important—an invitation to a covenant for the common good.
The trouble in American Evangelicalism and in Christianity more broadly, is that standing face-to-face with our Messiah, we find ourselves at a loss of how to serve. What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? What, beyond the instinctive sense that we are to follow Christ, does it mean to follow? What are we looking for?
Biblical stories about baptism are connected to, but also at odds with, historical theology about baptism as well as the current liturgical practices of baptism. Reading Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism together with contemporary theologies offers a glimpse of the radical solidarity of Jesus.
*This post originally appeared on the Politics of Scripture January 2, 2017.
Matthew’s careful quotation of Isaiah 60 urges us to perceive that the birth of the poor, brown boy in a back corner of the Roman empire was the dawning of God’s glory upon humanity. Let us, then, celebrate—not with fear and self-preservation, but with confident investment in human flourishing.
We must develop strategies to resist the political deployment of the image of the innocent victim as a tool of further oppression and we must seek to mobilize the image of the innocent victim towards the end of emancipation and liberation.
Joseph knows that this situation with Mary is not about legalities, or honor or shame or what other people may think or say; it is about God bringing Christ to the world. All that matters is God’s call. Joseph honors Mary, and their marriage, this family, as the opportunity God has created to bring hope, salvation to all the world.
The greatest potential implication of Isaiah 11:1–10 lies in the way it disrupts our expectations of justice, equality, and peace by framing of our narratives of the perfect society and unsullied nature. Rather than Utopia, the passage offers us a vision of a perfectly imperfect world order in absolute harmony.