The Inauguration of Jesus

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In just a handful of days as president, Donald Trump has delivered on his promises to decimate the lives of those he considers “losers.” He signed an executive order directed at repealing healthcare from over 18 million people. He signed two additional executive orders aimed at following through on the Mexican border wall and eliminating funding to cities that don’t enforce immigration laws on undocumented workers. He reinstated a Reagan policy that cuts funding for women’s healthcare abroad. Trump, a former investor in the Dakota Access Pipeline that was shut down by Barack Obama in December, signed another executive order to move forward with the project. Rick Perry, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Energy, also happens to be a board member of Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the pipeline. He also signed an executive order to revive the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline that was halted in November of 2015. All of this while he and his staff continue to peddle lies and “alternative facts” about the size of inauguration crowds and 3 million illegal votes for Clinton during the election.

Where is can we find hope in this environment?

New Testament scholar, Daniel Kirk, points out that Jesus didn’t start his ministry until John the Baptist was arrested by Herod Antipas and the ruling religious powers. Kirk writes, “Jesus goes into the region of the person who has arrested his predecessor in order to proclaim that the very thing Herod wanted, kingship, is arising in his midst. But Herod will not be wearing the crown.”

Jesus inaugurates God’s commonwealth, “the kingdom of God,” by proclaiming good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, liberation for the oppressed, and salvation for the outsider. In Matthew’s gospel, his ministry begins by “teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
When superpowers seek to dominate through acts of self-interest, control, and imprisonment, the inauguration of Jesus brings love, hope, and healing to the “loser.” Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” The inauguration of Jesus was followed by Jesus teaching his disciples on a mountain about life in the kingdom of God:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth…”

May we find hope in the upside-down reality of the kingdom of God that journeys into the belly of the oppressor and enacts a revolutionary way of being in the world. After all, we know it is not the superpowers who inherit the earth.