Reasons for the Promotion of Justice
The Destiny of Jesus
Jesus deep concern for justice was paramount in his ministry. Right from birth, Jesus’ path led him to those who had experienced a lot of social injustices. He was born in a humble background, his father was a carpenter in their small town Nazareth. His birth came at unexpected time while his parents were on a journey and he had to be born in a manger. Surprisingly, His first visitors were shepherds who were by then regarded lowly in the society. This shows that the mission of Jesus’ ministry was not focused on the high and mighty in the society but mostly for those who were regarded lowly in the society. Bringing justice was quite central in his ministry.
His ministry had been prophesied by both David and Isaiah implying that one of the reasons why justice was central in his teaching was to fulfil the prophecies. “Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and justice will look down from the sky” (Psalms 89:14). He also confirmed this by reading the scripture from the book of Isaiah when he was beginning his Ministry in a Synagogue in Nazareth on a Sabbath which stated that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him, because he was anointed to preach the word of God to the poor, heal the broken-hearted, preach deliverance to those in prison, to set free those who were oppressed, to bring sight to those who were blind, and to proclaim the year of the Lord” (Luke 4:16-21). And he proclaimed that it was fulfilled to them who were listening. This shows that Jesus Concern for Justice was central in his Ministry and that is what He had come to world to do.
Justice as a Component of the Kingdom of God
As Jesus began his ministry, he teaches that we should first seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness (Matthew 6:33). The ministry of Jesus sought to bring salvation to the world. He neither encouraged punishing wrongdoers nor support the kind of holiness that the Pharisees and other teachers of the law had because it was oppressive to the people. He encouraged people to love their neighbours, to take healing into broken backgrounds, to forgive those found doing wrong, and for people to acknowledge their own sinful natures. The woman who was caught in an adulterous act was brought hurriedly to Jesus that he may give approval that they stone her to death (John 8:1-11). He instead told them that whoever had no sin to go ahead and cast the first stone. They all left the woman alone having been convicted of their own sins. This teaches people not to be judgemental and that true justice seeks to bring transformation and healing, not necessarily punishment or death of wrongdoers.
The Factions in the Society
During the era of Jesus, the community was divided into faction based on income and tribe. There were the rich and the poor, and Jews and Non-Jews. This is another reason why the Ministry of Jesus addressed justice as part of its crucial themes. In the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), Jesus teaches about the implication of unjust actions on earth. The Rich man who did not consider the welfare of others was punished for his act. Jesus through his actions and teachings aimed at promoting justice for the well-being of the society.
The general norms in the community required that Jews do not interact with people from other communities. This unfolded in the situation where Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob (John 4:1-42). Jesus engaged the woman in a conversation where we learn that she actually had five husbands who were not her own but Jesus did not condemn her. It was clear that Jesus engaged in promoting justice among all people because true worshippers that God required are those who worshipped in Spirit and truth. Whether one was a Jew or a Samaritan did not matter. He had come to help all and his mission was not effected on racial terms.
The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches on social justice (Luke 10: 25-37). The parable teaches about helping those in need without considering their orientation. In this case, the Levite and Priest considered themselves of higher social status and could not stop by to help the man who had been attacked. The Samaritan man, however, helped the injured man despite the loathing between the Jews and the Samaritans. This encourages people to help each other and that justice is for all no matter their religion or race.
In His ministry, it is clear that the social disintegration was one of the reasons why Jesus concentrated on promoting justice for all irrespective of their social status or tribe. His deep concern for peoples’ needs and sufferings is well portrayed in the New Testament. He ensured that those who were lowly regarded and were considered unclean or not worthy to mingle with others got their justice by making them clean. For example, He healed the man who was covered in leprosy who begged him to make him clean if he would (Mark 1: 40-45). The Mosaic Law prohibited women who were unclean to touch anyone but Jesus did not mind the haemorrhaging woman touching his cloak (Matthew 9:20-22). She immediately got healed and Jesus made it known to the crowd. This was to show the crowd that justice should be for all, even those that we think should be cast off.
Importance of Covenant Faithfulness in Marriage
The scriptures teach us about a husband’s need to love his wife just as Christ so loved the church that he gave himself up for it (Ephesians 5:25). The wife is required to be loving to her husband as well and submissive to him. Each partner is obliged to be faithful to the other in respect to this command. The two should not be deterred from loving and being faithful to each other by their shortcomings. The love of Christ for the church (his people) is unwavering. His death on the cross for our sins shows his great love for us and that of God the Father. This is the example to emulate in marriage where each partner should be forgiving, gracious and loving to the other. If people stay faithful in marriage today, it shall encourage generations of descendants to remain faithful and this will culminate to a total restoration of the marriage institution. Marriage will once again be honoured and desired by all and the current disregard for marriages in most young people will be superseded.
The teachings we receive about marriage help in controlling premarital sex among young people and discourage divorce which are both detrimental to the marriage institution. The Creator made man with the intention that man shall leave his parents and join woman and they get married to become one flesh (Matthew 19:4-5). In 1st Corinthians 7:2, Paul states that any sexual activity with multiple partners is immoral. Every woman should have her own husband and every man his wife. The same way a wife has no authority over her body and yields to the husband so should every man yield to their wife. This encourages faithfulness to each other and makes each party embrace the responsibility of being loyal to each other.
In their book, Gushee and Stassen (2016), describes what the couple headed for marriage experience to each other. The relationship in most cases in characterized by mutualism, loyalty, trust, being there for each other, and mostly love in an abiding manner. It is noted that among the couple to be soon married, there is limited sexual bonding. Some common questions among the couple soon to be married is on the faithfulness in their relationship.
Marriage is one of the most common forms relationship that demands covenant faithfulness. The human nature leads people engaged in a marriage to seek bonding, trust in the relationship, element of mutual caring, loyalty, and faithfulness. In covenant relationships, the presence of faithfulness and loyalty are two qualities that helps the parties involved to overcome failings and disappointment. From the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, it is clear that in the search for love, we become wounded, exiled and alienated. This increases the need and the urge to find reconciliation, and faithfulness in a relationship helps is acquiring the mutual affirmation that helps individuals overcome alienation and isolation (Gushee & Stassen, 2016).
Divorce in marriage goes against the covenant of faithfulness as God intention to a married couple is to remain together till death separates them. Malachi 2:16 says “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” We should, therefore, ensure that we remain faithful in our marriage to safeguard the covenant of faithfulness.
In Exodus 20:14, the Bible includes any promiscuous sexual behaviour before or even during marriage as adultery. This goes against the law of marriage. It is clear that a marriage bed should be kept pure and should be honoured by all for God will punish the sexually immoral and the adulterer (Hebrews 13:4). God wants us to only reserve sex for marriage or to married people as an exclusive right. Sex is holy and should be enjoyed by the married people for their bond to grow stronger and for procreation. Fornication in the Bible is likened to adultery which is against the marriage law for it is impure.
A married woman is bound by law to the man she is married to as far as the he is alive (Romans 7:2-3). Once divorce is effected according to this book, remarrying constitutes being adulterous. This clearly shows that marriage should be a lifelong journey where people learn to trust one another, to be accommodative, kind and loving. This covenant is important because it encourages couples to be forgiving, honest, humble, and to care for each other. These are virtues that each partner develops in pursuit to fulfil the marriage law of living with each other till the end of their lives. The children that are born also grow regarding the same virtues.
Jesus said that married people are one flesh and should not be separated whatsoever (Matthew 19:8,). Spiritually, marriage is more than our presumptions of just two people living together. It is about two people that God puts together for a lifetime. The covenant of faithfulness in marriage serves to discourage divorce and encourage unity in marriage.
Bible, K. J. V. (2014). Bible Gateway. Accessed July, 10.
Gushee, D., & Stassen, G. (2016). Kingdom Ethics: Followig Jesus in Contemporary Context. Michigan: Willam B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
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