Summary: HOW JESUS CONTEXTUALIZED THE TRUTH THROUGH CHALLENGING PEOPLE ABOUT THEIR VIEWS OF GOD, CHRIST, AND THEIR OWN HUMANITY - A Case Study in contextualization from Mark 12.
HOW JESUS CONTEXTUALIZED THE TRUTH THROUGH CHALLENGING PEOPLE ABOUT THEIR VIEWS OF GOD, CHRIST, AND THEIR OWN HUMANITY - A Case Study in contextualization from Mark 12.
The goal of Jesus in every communication encounter was to challenge the people to their highest potential in the will of God. His infinite wisdom allowed Him to do what no finite mind could comprehend in entirety. However, His ideal contextualization process gives us something to aim for in our own efforts to bring the incarnation into people’s lives today. Jesus showed expertise in making his message relevant, appropriate, and need meeting by portraying Himself as one who knew how to deal with rejection from His own people. In this framework, He characterizes God the Father as one who is:
1. Trustworthy - The owner went away, entrusting His fields into the care of the cultivators. The Lord gives us the freedom and the responsibility to make something of what He has invested. To fail to create a harvest is a serious breach of trust. The cornerstone of effective contextualization is trusting relationships. This rapport bridges numerous gaps between people in ways that only the Holy Spirit can understand. Without trust in our communication, the contextualization process becomes virtually impossible.
2. Generous - The landlord gave the tenants a wealthy vineyard equipped with all the necessary implements in order to produce a harvest. Just as the Lord furnishes us with the necessary provisions in order to return to Him many souls, fruits of the Spirit, and expansions of His kingdom. Contextualizers are people who are willing to give with expecting much in return for their know that their rewards in heaven are great.
3. Patient - The master gave the people several chances to pay the debt they owed, but they tried to shirk their responsibilities. When we deserve judgment God is patient towards man not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. It is the kindness of God that nurtures us to maturity. It takes great patience to contextualize the truth to people across cultures. The numerous barriers, filters, and obstacles to cross-cultural communications necessitates patient endurance.
4. Just - The owner made it clear that someday God would extract justice to the violators of His rules and standards of righteousness. No one shall escape from being accountable on the final judgment day. Some people may take advantage of God’s patience, but eventually we will all be faced squarely with our motives and deeds to be reckoned accordingly. Contextualizers need to practice justice in the administration of their tasks without partiality.
Jesus also tells us something about Himself in these accounts:
1. He is equipped to transcend any topic at any level depth of understanding. He shows equal facility in talking about agriculture as He does with politics. Contextualizers need to be able to show a capacity to deal articulately with the Bible in light of the truths of historical, practical, systematic, biblical, African Christian perspectives, as well as with the hard and soft sciences. These presupposes an ability to make the academic practical as well.
2. He removes Himself from being in succession with the prophets. He presents Himself as a servant and not as one who deserves all the rights and privileges of a first son. He was challenging the Jewish authorities in casting Himself as the true Messiah. Contextualizers resist the temptations to be seen as those deserving special treatment, privileges, or rights.
3. He contrasts Himself with a political, social, or military Messiah in the fashion of David, which the Jews were looking for. Instead, He pictures Himself mainly as one who came to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. Contextualizers are primarily servants above other identities.
4. He had resigned Himself to die a disgraceful death in order to become the Savior of the world. He never carried any illusions that He could somehow escaped from the greatest responsibility for coming to earth. He knew the way that He would take would mean suffering, but He fixed His eyes on the completion of His goal. Contextualizers need to be cognizant of the factor of the cross in denying themselves, carrying the cross of Christ’s identity, roles, and sufferings.
5. He expressed a confidence that He would ultimately triumph over the forces of evil, misunderstanding, traditions, and religious bigotry. He never doubted the promises of God that He would glorify the Son through the process of His death, burial, and resurrection. He knew that the grave was not the end, but the beginning for Him and the eternal life for billions. Contextualizers are assured that their efforts in the Lord, despite set backs, are not in vain in the Lord.
Jesus also teaches us a great deal about Humans through this twelfth chapter of Mark: