In reading the New Testament, I want to pay particular attention to what Jesus talked about. I always wondered if the only thing he talked about was “about God” (who, by the way, would be himself). He spoke in the synagogue. If we met Jesus today, would his words consist entirely of sermons?
I read about Jesus’s parable of the vineyard workers, expecting more than a denarii when the late workers got that too. Then Jesus predicts his death (Matthew 20:17-19, Luke 18:31-34). James and John want to sit at his right hand (Matthew 20:20-28). After this, he heals blind men and meets Zacchaeus.
What is ironic about Jesus’s path in these stories is that he speaks of God’s kingdom, but God’s kingdom is happening in real life–right as they speak. For instance, James and John probably thought God’s kingdom was going to be a physical kingdom, competing with the Romans. Jesus’s work happened so closely to his life, the disciples made the mistake of thinking his kingdom was an earthly kingdom. And his story of the vineyard applies to God’s kingdom, but uses language and a situation that seem familiar to earthly ears.
For the people following Jesus, his teachings and words must have pointed them towards God, but without sounding like a Sunday sermon all the time. I guess that’s what I always wondered: did Jesus’s kingdom seem so abstract, did his words seem far-off and theological, or did he live out his commandments in a way that made him a perfect person to be around? Because he integrated his teachings so much with his life, I would say that’s why being with him didn’t feel like a sermon all the time–he was the Son of God, and God, and that’s why.