There are those who seem to think that Jesus’ sole mission on Earth was to call humans to repent, to call them out for their sins. Today’s reading comes from Luke 4:14-22. In it, Jesus proclaims the foretelling of his mission in the Old Testament.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
While Jesus frequently in scripture tells people whom he has cured or helped in some other way that it is by their faith that they have been healed, or they should go and sin no more, Jesus only calls out sinners who are hypocrites. And in this reading, Jesus the Christ clearly declares that he was anointed by the spirit to help the poor, free captives and the oppressed, and heal the afflicted.
And Jesus tells us elsewhere that it is not our job to judge others. In fact, he tells us we should worry about our own sins before worrying about the sins of others.
So where do those who claim to be Christians come off judging others for their shortcomings? Jesus even tells us, let him who has not sinned cast the first stone, knowing full well that He is the only one among us who has not sinned and that He is the one who chooses not to cast any stone. If Jesus comes not to cast stones but to heal and aid the poor and set captives and the oppressed free, who are we to do otherwise?
Another reading from the Bible is from 1 John 4:19-5:4. It speaks to our love of God and our love of one another. And this speaks to why we sometimes are quick to judge one another instead of following Jesus’ teachings on judging others.
Beloved, we love God because
he first loved us.
If anyone says, “I love God,”
but hates his brother, he is a liar;
for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen
cannot love God whom he has not seen.
This is the commandment we have from him:
Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
If you really love others, if you are full of the love of God, do you really have time to judge them? Better you should spend your time healing and feeding and freeing them as Jesus commands us.