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Sharing the light of Jesus in a multifaith world

posted 20 Oct 2017, 15:49 by June Miller, MCA Communications   [ updated 20 Oct 2017, 15:52 ]
an excerpt
by Donna Kampen Entz 
Originally published in Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology 18:2 (Fall 2017) by AMBS

I am the light of the world “I am the light of the world!” Jesus proclaimed (John 8:
12; 9:5). Light? What did he mean? His hearers would have recognized the reference to the Prophets’ writings found in their scriptures (our Old Testament). In the Old Testament, salvation and light mean much the same thing: the offer of complete well-being, as intended by the Creator. Light is the antitheses of darkness, disorder, and chaos, and salvation is the antithesis of oppression, exploitation, and despair.1 God says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light of the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isa. 49:6, NRSV). 
Donna Entz

In the New Testament, Simeon blesses Jesus, the infant messiah, as he is being presented in the temple. Simeon prays, “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:30–32). This servant/messiah is for the Gentiles and for Israel—for everybody, including our neighbours of various faiths. 
So how did Jesus go about being the light in the diverse world of first-century Palestine? The Gospels tell us that he healed the sick, whether their ailments were physical or spiritual. Jesus literally brought people back to life; he raised the dead. He confronted corruption in the politico-religious establishment and spoke out against religious fanaticism. He called people back to the spirit of their faith. He told parables using images familiar to common folks, and the heroes of his stories were often people at the margins. He taught his followers how to live according to upside-down kingdom values that stretched them to think and act outside the expectations of the status quo. He engaged seekers and kept them scrambling to catch what he was saying. He even earned a reputation as one who partied, who associated with tax collectors, sinners, publicans, and prostitutes. 

What is the common thread in the various ways Jesus related to people? Interestingly, he didn’t tell everyone about the kingdom of God. Nor did he reveal his identity and purpose to most people. To me, it seems that the constant in everything Jesus did was that what he offered was life-giving in some way. As Jesus’s followers, everything we do should share his life-giving light with others.

For the complete article, please see attached file. 

  1 Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40–66, Westminster Bible Companion (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998).

Donna Entz

Donna currently serves North Edmonton Ministries, a ministry of Mennonite Church Alberta. She and her husband, Loren, formed the ministry seven years ago after returning from 30 years of service in Burkina Faso. Donna Entz relates to immigrants and refugees. The ministry's vision is to share the whole gospel with people in North Edmonton with the hope of starting a community of faith who are passionate about social justice and about following Jesus. 

June Miller, MCA Communications,
20 Oct 2017, 15:49