Teach MERGE: Jesus and Economics – Chapter 1

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Okay, so a few of us are working on a book regarding Jesus and Economics. Plus, we are using it as a curriculum for a class I am teaching this Fall at Church. Here is the notes and outline of the first chapter. Note, this is a rough draft and doesn’t really tell you how it is going to be written:

“Jesus wasn’t an –ist, but he did have economic views. This class will explore many of the economic views held by Jesus as told by Luke in his Gospel. It will be 8 sessions, focusing on the songs of Liberation, parables, other insights, and closing with a session on the Lord’s Prayer (in Luke) as we determine how best to bring about the Kingdom of God locally, and what role the Church plays in God’s economy.  A study guide will be provided at the first session, which will introduce Mark and Zechariah’s songs of liberation in Luke 1 which sets the stage for the rest of the Gospel. It’ll be a mix of biblical studies, theology, fun and modern issues. Hopefully, a lot of fun though!”

We now have many different understandings of Jesus Christ. We all know the temptation for Christians to make Jesus Christ into their own image and likeness. After all, everyone wants Jesus on her or his own side. Consequently, Jesus has been proposed. as a capitalist and a socialist, a revolutionary and a law abiding citizen, a nonviolent pacifist and a guerilla. Yes, problems abound in the effort to spell. out or unpack the meaning of Jesus, and it may be difficult to find agreement. – Charles Curran

  1. Songs of Liberation (September 14, 2011)
    1. Mary – Luke 1.46-55
      1. The Song of Hannah 1 Sam 2.1-10
      2. Confident Triumph (Hannah) Versus Contemplation of Grace (Mary)
        1. Mary is in a place of humility. She should be a Queen.
        2. Both songs are sung by mothers regarding their sons. Samuel would be a great Prophet, and by comparison, Jesus was going to be a Greater Prophet. What was the role of the prophet?
    2. Zachariah – Luke 1.68-79
      1. The Great Deliverance Luke 1.71-75
        1. Political in nature
        2. No separation of the secular and the sacred.

Note that the first psalm and hymn of praise we here is not from a man, but from a young woman, most likely 14. Women were given the place of glory and praise not just here, but in Judges 5, the Song of Hannah, and Miriam’s praise in Exodus 15. The songs are very nationalistic, very corporate and doesn’t speak to the needs of the individual. But in acknowledging the very nationalist realm of these songs, we have to remember that both May and Zachariah were dependent upon Israel’s scriptures which spoke of a time when Gentiles would come into the covenant, a new covenant. Mary is peaking on behalf of her people, and is in a sense representing her people when she speaks of herself. Israel was brought low, and was made to reverence God; now, she/they were hoping for a deliver. God had granted that petition through her son. The Greek here allows us to ponder if Mary was speaking about either the past or the future. Has God or will God?

51-53 details a complete reversal of the human values around her. Rome was proud and mighty, and the Jewish people poor and hungry. Yet, it was these people whom God would come to. A commentator writes, “In the ancient world, it was accepted that the rich would be well cared for. Poor people must expect to be hungry. Mary sings of a God who is not bound by what people do.”

What does this tell us about Jesus? Mary saw in Jesus the hope that the people of God would be freed from tyranny, but what tyranny? Has the commentator noted, it wasn’t just about Rome, but about human values. It is the Gospel before the Gospel, at Tom Wright says!

4Q521 –

vens and the earth will listen to His Messiah, and none therein will
stray from the commandments of the holy ones.
Seekers of the Lord, strengthen yourselves in His service!
All you hopeful in (your) heart, will you not find the Lord in this?
For the Lord will consider the pious (hasidim) and call the righteous by name.
Over the poor His spirit will hover and will renew the faithful with His power.
And He will glorify the pious on the throne of the eternal Kingdom.
He who liberates the captives, restores sight to the blind, straightens the b
And f ever I will cleavopeful and in His mercy . . .
And the fr will not be delayed for anyone.
And the Lord will accomplish glorious things which have never been as
For He will heal the wounded, and revive the dead and bring good news
to the poor
. . .He will lead the uprooted and knowledge . . . and smoke (?) – (Michael O. Wise, translation)

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