Monday, April 14, 2008
Should we talk of Jesus' "ministry"? Or should we talk about his vocation, his mission, his work, and his range of activities instead? The word "ministry" can obviously conjure up a very specific Christian understanding of a religious vocation which is anachronistic to import into Jesus' context. In Christian depiction Jesus is undoubtedly a servant or minister to Israel (e.g. Rom. 15.7-8), but what word should we use to describe Jesus' activities that respects the language of the Gospels to describe what Jesus was doing but at the same time fits into the religio-social sphere of Palestinian Judaism? Is a reference to Jesus' "ministry" a too Christian designation to use?