Outsiders vs Insiders

Outsiders vs Insiders
“The revelation of “[a] God humiliated even unto the cross,” as Pascal put it, flies in the face of what most Jews of Jesus’ time, and of what most people throughout history, have expected God to be. In this light, we can discern the thematic centrality of the cross in Jesus’ many teachings that reverse common expectations about God.
For example, few people in Jesus’ day would have expected God to “justify” a tax collector who was too ashamed to “even look up to heaven” (Lk 18:13) instead of the righteous Pharisee who fasted twice a week, gave a tenth of all he earned to God, and thanked God he was not like “robbers, evildoers, adulterers” or “this tax collector” (vss. 11-2). Similarly, few if any expected God to welcome into his kingdom “tax collectors and prostitutes” before religious leaders whom everyone held in high esteem (Mt 21:31; cf., Lk 7:38-50). Indeed, because the God he revealed was so contrary to what people expected, Jesus repeatedly taught that those whom most assumed were “outsiders” would find themselves “inside,” while those whom most assumed were “insiders” would find themselves “out” (e.g., Mt 7:21-3; 22:1-9; 25:31-46). All of these anticipate the great reversal of the cross, where God entered into total solidarity with “outsiders” by becoming a crucified “outsider.”

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