How One Man Change the World – by David Collis
While writing Interviewing Jesus, I noticed a significant but overlooked feature about Jesus and it involves the structure of his practice, the implementation of his vision and the underlying nature of his attitude. Jesus was a skilled technician and a convincing orator who inspired many to follow in his footsteps. It’s hard to imagine that Jesus’ wisdom and practice can be of value for people in the 21st century but it is true; he can but not necessarily for theological reasons. His “offerings to humanity” stretches throughout time.
It seems reasonable to ask, “How could one man change the world,” followed by, “How did he do it?” I share ten Jesus techniques, approaches and attitudes in this blog.
One – Jesus embodied his message. The two were inseparable; so much so that the early Christians claimed he was the personification of wisdom. This assertion is not insignificant or trivial. Jesus said what he meant and did what he said and he never asked anybody to do something he did not do himself.
Two – Jesus was transformed by the Father, love, compassion and wisdom. He overcame his physical needs and did not succumb to his temptations. He set aside fear, anger and hopelessness and replaced it with boldness, courage and fearlessness. He did not allow lament, wailing or cynicism to flow from his tongue or overshadow his ministry. Instead, he offered a new vision of the divine along with new hope and deeper love. Jesus, step-by-step, showed the truth of his vision each day and commonly referred to it as “new wine for new wine skins.”
Three – Jesus developed a strong message of compassion, love, mercy, peace, truthfulness, faith, non-judgment, non-condemnation, gentleness, wisdom and turning the other cheek. He also recast the divine as the Father and asserted that the Kingdom of Heaven was not a destination after death, but a presence to be known; that it is everywhere and inside each person.
Four – Jesus established a straight forward goal and developed a simple guideline. He traveled from village to village, town to town and city to city. He spoke, shared, fed, healed and gathered followers and disciples. He composed the Our Father Prayer to guide him, for he was not certain what a day would bring, who he might meet or what he would encounter. The prayer acknowledges the Father at the beginning and end while asking for daily bread, to forgive and not be led into temptation in between. These are not complicated expectations or aspirations. Regardless of the circumstance, the Our Father Prayer provided small comforts and guidelines as Jesus confronted routine uncertainty or hostility. Each day Jesus awoke, renewed his commitment and continued on with his ministry undaunted.
Five – Jesus developed a rhetorical strategy to deflect opposition and personal attacks. He is heard saying, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” “It is not the Sabbath that was created for you but you for the Sabbath.” “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.” (Each saying paraphrased)
Six – At times Jesus removed himself from the demands of his ministry to relax, unwind and replenish his strength. Alone, he found solace in quiet and lonely places where he prayed and meditated.
Seven – Jesus left the comfort of his home to become a living sacrifice. He faced an intolerant, theocratic society more willing to kill than embrace him. He was courageous, brave and fearless and he was as strong, bold and fierce as he was compassionate, wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.
Eight – Jesus created clear, sharp and memorable sayings: “Do to others;” “Love your enemy;” “Consider the lilies of the field;” “Turn the other cheek;” “A house divided cannot stand;” “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and “Wide is the road and narrow is the gate.” These words pour from his lips smoothly.
Nine – Jesus was provocative and challenging. He flipped tables, questioned traditions and defied social customs.
Ten – Jesus had faith in himself, his message and ministry. He knew the Father called him to step outside of himself and do something greater than he could envisioned. Metaphorically, he walked on water. In doing so, he discovered his divinity.
In summary, Jesus, through a personal transformation, faced his fears, soared beyond his human limitations, harnessed his strength and shared, with conviction, a vision of the divine that most in his the world were unable to accept or envision. Through his ministry and death, he sparked the imagination of others to continue his legacy.