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Jesus and Paradigm Shifts

Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”

When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mark 2:15-17)

A paradigm shift, or at times referred to as revolutionary science is, according to Thomas Kuhn, in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), a change in the basic assumptions, or paradigms, within the ruling theory of science. The paradigm, in Kuhn’s view, is not simply the current theory, but the entire worldview in which it exists, and all of the implications, which come with it. A scientific revolution or paradigm shift occurs when scientists encounter anomalies that cannot be explained by universally accepted paradigms within the community of research.

This can also be true in the religious community. Jesus is challenging the Jewish system of accepted religious and cultural paradigms. Jesus is creating a state of crisis among the Jewish leaders concerning what is acceptable within the worldview of the culture. Jesus is teaching and modeling a new worldview, a new lifestyle, a new way of looking at God, a new way of relating to God, and thus, a new way of viewing people.   Jesus is upsetting the religious and cultural apple cart!

Jesus is a revolutionary and he is intentionally creating a crisis in the Jewish religion, worldview, and culture. Jesus is literally challenging the current way of thinking that has governed the Jewish paradigms for cleanliness, exclusivity and ethnicity. Jesus is modeling and teaching a revolutionary concept, intentionally introducing a paradigm shift—a gospel of grace (vs. Jewish Law), acceptance (vs. judgment), Relationship (vs. religion), Intimacy (vs. ritual), love (vs. hatred), and inclusion (vs. exclusion).

Jesus is modeling a Paradigm Shift of Inclusivity. Instead of a Religion of exclusiveness, ethnic pride, and judgmentalism, Jesus is preaching and living a gospel of inclusivity, grace, and love that includes the worst of sinners. Jesus is preaching and modeling that anyone can come in; everyone is welcome to the party.

Jesus is advocating a gospel of inclusion, grace, love, mercy, and intimacy. This is challenging the Jewish view of exclusivity that has existed in Israel for thousands of years. The love and grace of God’s acceptance is open to anyone who wants it. And it is most dramatically open to the worst of sinners, who haven’t a religious leg to stand on. They are the most welcome, because they know they’re sinners, they know they have shame, they know they have nothing to bring.

What do you have to bring? What is your claim to salvation? If your answer is nothing, then you are in the right group. The “nothing to bring” group. Yes, you are included and so are all your friends. Join the party; come to the banquet. This is the greatest party ever thrown in your honor.

On the Road,

Steve