Christ succeeded in making his point of view about life and the world prevail
over our point of view, not by rhetoric or any of the normal forces of
persuasion, but by himself. For the forces of persuasion, once they are spent,
allow the previous pattern to re-establish itself. In the case of Christ we have
a unique form of persuasion. It is like what happens when an error in our
viewpoint is shown to us, and our mind reassembles around the truth that we have
not seen. But it is unlike this process in that the truth that takes us over is
not a correct proposition but a person. (Sebastian Moore)
Jesus’ style and message were even different from his forerunner, John the
Baptist. John’s preaching was a heavy burden laden with the “old-time religion”
threat of hellfire-and-brimstone. John lived in the desert. Jesus lived in the
cities. John preached God’s judgment. Jesus spoke tenderly of Father’s love.
John spent much time in fasting. Jesus spent much time in feasting. John’s
message was a funeral hymn. Jesus’ words were a wedding song. The lost lambs
came to John. Jesus went seeking the lost lambs. John Shea expressed it so well
with these words:
We play dirges and do not mourn,
Frantic rock and do not freak out.
A new music must be heard
will drive us to dance
In a world wrung into flatness.
Tonight will we
not all sleep
With one ear in dream
And one alert
For the crackling
of the concrete.