As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m beginning to give thought to the next in my series of online retreats. After focusing—literally for years—on the voice and experience of the various people surrounding Jesus’ incarnation (Mary, Joseph, shepherds, Anna, Simeon, and others), it’s time to move forward thirty years and explore The Ministry of Jesus through the Eyes of Others.
That ministry may only have covered about three years of time (according to scholars), but the gospels are full of stories of Jesus’ encounters and relationships. He connected with a lot of people. He wove an impressive web of connection, throughout and beyond his home territory of Galilee. As I’ve thought about how to organize this material, I came up with a list of different types of encounters and realized that I could create an entire online retreat on each of those categories.
For example, there are a number of stories of Jesus calling people to follow him—or telling them that they can’t (I’ll share a bit more about that next week). There are also many stories of healings, teachings, and miracles. Then there are encounters and relationships that illuminate Jesus as a leader, Jesus in relationship with women and with outcasts, and Jesus in Jerusalem. Each of these categories illuminates a facet of Jesus’ ministry and seems to provide an opportunity to delve more deeply into how he influenced and transformed the lives of others he encountered.
As you can imagine, my mind and heart are full of possibilities. I’m planning on spending the next few weeks sharing some of my initial thoughts with you on each of these categories. That might include a few glimpses into the voice and experience of people who encounter Jesus, but it will also likely include some of my own experiences and thoughts on these categories.
As I begin this series, however, I want to ask you for assistance. Whose voice would you like to hear? Whose perspective would you like to explore? I welcome your contributions to help focus my task. How would you fill in this blank: The Ministry of Jesus through the Eyes of ___________.