So what was this conflux, mingling, of ideas and philosophies that were around in Jesus’ time that I spoke about in the last blog?
It’s all to do with culture I suppose. The traditions and history Jesus was raised in as a Jew. But also the ideas and emphases that informed and radically transformed the way Jesus saw the tradition. What Jesus said and did and preached was in the air. Of courser the particular way he brought it all together was his unique genius. But His radical re-configuration of life’s priorities was based on the religion of his race, the philosophies of the time and the raised consciousness which were fermenting in the hotbed of ideas and tensions of Palestine at that time. In Him all these elements come mysteriously- and through divine grace – together.
Jesus is unique. Because in Him a paradigm shift was taking place. A totally new configuration of how to see the world and live in it. Many of the elements are there in what we call the Old Testament, but also in the Greek philosophers – the Stoics and Platonists and so on. But in Jesus they cohere and are re-presented afresh in his life and death – and most especially of course in His resurrection.
These ideas are interestingly explored in my friend mark Vernon’s fascinating book.
Our theological shorthand for all this is that Jesus is the Son of God. He is part of the divine. One of the three persons of the Trinity – Holy and Undivided. But he is also the Archetype of a new way of being human, a way in which acceptance – and forgiveness – of others and LOVE become not merely optional extras but the Way of being wholly human itself.
Today on Palm Sunday we follow Jesus. We follow Him on the way of the cross. We follow Him as our saviour and our Lord. But we also commit once again to Him who is the Way the Truth and the Life – and to that radical re-configuring of OUR lives … to God before everything and then to others.
We may not be able to process in a physical sense this year – but we can as we read the last version of the hymn below make an inner spiritual procession of Faith and Love – and commit ourselves to the Holy Week and Easter journey of Faith.