Crossing the Law

I haven’t broken the law lately.

And apart from occasional speeding on the highway and a couple of shoplifted candy bars in my teens, I’ve been a pretty law abiding citizen. As a child I was that kid. You know, the one who cozied up to the teachers, put her hand up to answer the questions in class, and not only obeyed all the rules, but made sure that you all obeyed them as well. I loved the law, and I loved being on the right side of it.

However, I find Jesus the law breaker, a compelling figure.

The laws of the ruling religious elite of his day created inequity of power and the exclusion and marginalization of the vulnerable.

Jesus broke the law when he touched the leper.

When he fraternized with sinners and tax collectors.

When he permitted women of ill repute to anoint and to kiss him.

When he healed on the Sabbath.

When he confronted the big business of organized religion and literally turned the tables on it in the temple.

These infractions of the law were so grievous to the ruling class that they engineered his arrest, trial, and execution.

What does it look like for us to follow in His steps? To adopt His preferential treatment of those on the margins? To address the systems of the elite that rob the vulnerable of their voice and their power? To stand in the face of consumerism, productivity, classism and insularism? How can we live in resistance to the empire? How can we embrace Jesus’ path of nonviolent suffering love?

I love the irony at the end of the story.

Jesus is executed for breaking the law.

And, breathtakingly, in one final act of lawlessness, He breaks the law of the universe and rises from the grave in resurrection power.

Philippians 3:10-11
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

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