What would have made Jesus’ mission a failure?
What is the most important event in the entire Jesus-event. Christians might say that it is incarnation (God becoming a human), his death or his resurrection. Revolutionaries may point to the revolutionary nature of many of his activities. Some activists might stress his ability to be martyred for the values of the “kingdom of God”. Another bigger question is whether the entire mission of Jesus was successful? Without an explanation here, my short answer is Yes. And what would have made it unsuccessful or a failure?
I base my reflections on one of the powerful words in the gospel of Luke, “Be compassionate just as your heavenly father is compassionate.” His mission would have been a failure
- if Jesus couldn’t give an answer to the crowd who came with stones to kill a woman caught in adultery.
- if he has given to the temptations and did miracles at the demand of Satan.
- if the father of the story of prodigal son might have welcomed the returning son as a servant (as the son demanded) and not thrown a party for him.
- if Jesus hasn’t accepted the hospitality of Zaccheus. (We can say, Jesus invited himself to the house).
- if the Samaritain of his parable didn’t take care of the injured jew.
- if Jesus haven’t corrected himself and healed the daughter of the cannanite woman. (It was to her that he said in the beginning of the incident, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs”).
- if he hasn’t forgiven Peter who denied him thrice;
- if he hasn’t forgiven on the cross.
His mission would have been a success even if he hasn’t done any miracles. It is easier to hide under the shadow of glorious images of Jesus, forgetting his radicality — a radicality that is counter-cultural, abnormal and beyond the limits of law.
A mission of his follower (and of the church) is a failure if it doesn’t exhibit the same charateristics. And many of these characteristics are too chaotic (not orderly for a generation who loves order. But a virus taught us a little to live within the chaos).
The context: A very good friend shared a difficulty in the pastoral experience of the church. Knowing the person as a exceptional human being and Christian, it made me ask some questions.