by James T. Mace
“But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another.” (Tertullian, Apol. 39.7)
Such a sentiment towards the church is not too widespread today. The world is not enough attracted to the truth of Christ’s kingship through beholding reciprocal ecclesial love but is instead repelled by her divisions. The church does not yet practice loving global solidarity.
Part of the reason for this may be due to erroneously defining the second great commandment (the 2GC) as universal, thus deprioritizing intra-ecclesial loving solidarity. Exegetical warrant for universalizing the 2GC is seen in the Samaritan parable in Luke 10:25–37. But this may be misunderstood. Quickly developing Christological thought in Greco-Roman contexts seems to have bypassed certain messianological categories in the OT theme of Israel’s eschatological reunification, and we are not adequately familiar with this aspect of Jesus’s messianic self-understanding.
Jesus’s own self-understanding is so significant for our assessment of early Christology
that what looks like an incomplete picture of Jesus’s messiology might have contributed to
weakening not only of what should be an ongoing proof for Jesus’s divinity but also of his establishment of an ecclesial foundation, the 2GC.
The crux of the problem seems located in misunderstanding Jesus’s messianic mission regarding the Samaritans as fellow Israelites to be incorporated with Judaeans into his restoration of all Israel. But the church can attract the world to the reality of Christ’s kingship by once again manifesting in spiritual power the corporate image of the divine love community (John 17:20–23). This must be through more perfect obedience to the 2GC, which can be recovered through exegesis appreciating Jesus’s messianic self-understanding of Samaritan reunion into renewed all Israel.
In this brief paper I will construct a combination of analysis and imagination. I will show that readings of John 4:4–42 and Luke 10:25–37 plausibly verify the hypothesis that Jesus’s self understanding as the Davidic Messiah prophetically fulfilling eschatological restoration of Israel includes faithful Samaritans within the reciprocally loving covenant community, thus vindicating the reality of heavenly rule by the ascended Jesus.
READ THE REST OF “Jesus’ Messianological SELBSTVERSTÄNDNIS” HERE