The Paradox of Jesus’ Strenuous Commands and Inclusive Lifestyle


Although the ethics of Jesus have occasioned considerable debate in New Testament scholarship, both with respect to their authenticity and interpretation, without doubt Christians today look to Jesus not only as the founder of their faith, but as one to emulate. His teaching is demanding, confronting, and uncompromising. Jesus is also remembered as a regularly associating with those on the margins of society: sinners, prostitutes, and tax collectors. And yet, surprisingly, his demanding teaching does not occur in the context of this association. So, a paradox exists. Those whom would we would expect to distance themselves from Jesus given, for instance, his rigorous sexual and financial ethical teaching, gravitate towards him. The guardians of the law and morality, on the other hand, tend to oppose him. This paradox needs explanation, and how we do so has important ramifications for Christian social ethics today.


Greg ForbesDr. Greg Forbes
Greek, Hermeneutics and New Testament Lecturer
Melbourne School of Theology

Greg has had close ties with MST since he commenced undergraduate studies at the college in 1986. After completing a BTh in 1991, he has since completed an MTh on Revelation 20 and was awarded a PhD from Deakin University for a thesis on the parables in Luke. Research interests include Synoptic Gospels, General Epistles, and Greek grammar as it relates to exegesis. Greg is married to Anne-Maree and they have three sons.