This should have occurred to me long before now, but the more I study the Bible, the more I'm aware of how radical Jesus was during his time on earth.Being a Jew, he was, of course, born into a hand-picked Jewish family who was dedicated to their Lord God Jehovah. In those times, and for thousands of years before that, the temple was their church. There were all kinds of feasts and observances and sacrifices made to clean up each family spiritually.
The priests did everything in God's name. For example, if a man brought a certain animal or bird and had the priest sacrifice it, the priest would pronounce the man and his family clean of all sin. The priest was the highest person in the church or temple hierarchy. This is the culture Jesus was born into and was a part of for 12 years.And then he did something that truly surprised everyone present: he stood up in the temple and spoke. Usually the speaking was done by adults or the priests, well-educated and highly respected men of the community. Jesus explained parts of the scripture that day – something the priests normally did.
Later in his life, Jesus said he was the Son of God and had all the authority he needed to forgive sin. How bizarre would that be? It would be like a modern day Christian saying he was taking people to heaven on the next rocket ship out of here. We wouldn’t believe such a claim. Too radical. Goes against everything we have learned throughout our lives.And yet Jesus continued to be radical, knocking ancient Jewish law around a bit, worrying the Pharisees to the point of murder, and forgiving sins all along the way.
This was a big change for the good Jewish people waiting on their messiah. Some couldn't make the change. Some did boldly and some did so timidly.Jesus' radical style doesn't really come into play for us. We have always known of his love and salvation. We have always known that we don’t have to have a priest to be forgiven. And we have no sacrifice to make to earn God's favor.
Jesus took care of all of that. Come to think of it, that’s pretty radical, even during our time.