Who does Jesus’ life, death and resurrection benefit? The short answer is…YOU! Who benefits from the incredible grace and new life that flows from Jesus is, perhaps, one of the most disputed questions. Scripture makes clear the answer. Scripture also makes clear that the “You” is the universal You. We are, each of us, offered this gift of new life. Throughout the history of the church, clergy and church leaders have tried to control the grace of Christ for their own purpose. They have put Jesus in a box. To be fair, not every leader was motivated by malign intent. In many cases, these leaders were genuinely motivated by the desire to help people be connect to God, to faith and to the community. Unfortunately, too many leaders have sought to control and shape the life we have in Jesus for the sole purpose of control.
When Leaders Get It Wrong
Leaders who use the Gospel to enforce divisions within the human community betray their own bias. They put Jesus in a box to dole out grace only when it serves their purpose or people. When church leaders use the Gospel of grace to marginalize people by their own prejudice, they deny Christ. Because these leaders often speak with the loudest voice, they are able to silence other voices.
Jesus Won’t Stay in a Box
Jesus experienced this challenge in his own home synagogue. He revealed a hard truth when he announced the restoration foretold by the prophet. At first, his friends and family expressed great wonder at Jesus’ words. However, when he announced his intention to continue his work outside of Israel, he challenged them. For Israel, the common wisdom was that the Messiah would be an exclusive gift for them. Jesus’ service outside their boundaries revealed something they had a difficult time hearing. In the end, not even Israel could put Jesus in a box.