I just finished reading Santley Hauerwas’ lecture given at a youth ministry conference. His article mainly dealt with the problem of focusing Christian identity around love and the forgiveness of sin. If this were the case, God could have sent a man to tell us to love one another and that are sins would be forgiven if we would repent of them and change our ways. We did not need Jesus for these reasons alone. He argued that we needed Jesus because he was Jesus.
We needed a man, fully human, to come down and meet us where we are at. We needed a man to show us a lifestyle of alternative politics. It is important to remember that, as Hauerwas noted, Jesus’ confession to Pilate that his kingdom was not of this world is not a message that his kingdom is in another place. Jesus’ claim is that his kingdom is altogether different in character to the Roman Empire. His was a kingdom built not by military conquest, but by the very people who spurn the military leaders by loving their enemies and upset the status quo by giving to the poor and the needy instead of taxing them.
Jesus’ message is sometimes bigger than we sometimes make it out to be.