The Politics of the Cross: Part Four

Submitted by SCM on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 10:30

This is part four of a series of blogs by Paul Ballard looking at the politics of the cross through the eyes of the four gospels.

Luke: Peace and Justice

In Luke, Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, weeps over the city: ‘Would that even today you knew the things that made for peace’ (19.42). The procession is one of triumph and praise for the mighty works they had seen: ‘Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest’ (19.38). It is no accident that the disciples echo the song of the angels at Bethlehem. Peace, the shalom of God, is the theme of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is the focus of that healing and reconciliation that breaks down barriers and reunites those that have been divided. 

Peace, however, is found in the right ordering of society- in justice. Luke, of all the Gospels, draws out Jesus’ prophetic commitment to the poor. The Magnificat (1.46-55) celebrates the elevation of the humble and the brining down of the mighty. Jesus opens his ministry (4.16-30) by reading from Isaiah (61.1ff): his mission to the lame, the blind, the prisoner and the poor. Women are a core part of the disciple band (23.55), and in Jerusalem it is the common people who prevent the authorities from making their moves against Jesus (19.48). 

So Jesus yearns over Jerusalem, whose fate he so clearly sees. We are let into the loving heart of Jesus that is sensitive to the needs and sorrows of his people. His way of love is to be sensitive to the fate and needs of the people so that one’s heart is rent apart by it, so that we become the wounded ones. It is Luke who tells of Jesus’ forgiveness to those crucifying him (23.34), who yearns over his disciples at the supper (22.31). ‘Do not weep for me,’ he tells the women of Jerusalem, ‘but weep for yourselves and you children’ (23.28). 


Part Two: Mark – Service and Solidarity

Part Three: Matthew -  Resistance and Challenge

Part Five: John - A Kingdom not of this World

Tags: theologyreligionCrosseasterHoly WeekJesusPaul Ballard