While many of us have heard a one-dimensional gospel — the spiritual forgiveness of sin — the gospel Jesus preached did not dwell exclusively in the spiritual plane. He was not just restoring the spiritual being, but the whole human being. He said as much in his first public sermon, when he quoted the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,” (Luke 4:18-19).
If you look at Jesus’s ministry — especially his healings — you’ll notice this thread running throughout: the leper who can now return to the city; the adulterous woman who is no longer condemned; the demon-possessed man who is no longer an outcast; the hated Samaritan who is now a hero.
In sum, Jesus was restoring people’s God-given human dignity — their Imago-Dei.
Coming from India, I am keenly aware of what happens when people are robbed of their dignity.
For example, as I write this, women in India are fighting for the right to enter a temple in Kerala. For centuries, women of menstruating age were barred from the site, but in September, the Supreme Court lifted the ban. Four months later, only a handful of women have managed to get in, and that under the cover of night and heavy security.
The story of the Dalits — whom you might have heard called “untouchables” — is another case of an entire people being robbed of their dignity.
“At heart, the Dalit struggle is a struggle for recovering their God-given human dignity. To them, the gospel is not simply about going to heaven — they need heaven to come down to them because they are living in hell on earth.” Joseph D’Souza of @DFN_USA https://t.co/Ng872g7auL
— The KAIROS Company (@thekairosco) January 28, 2019