Donald Kraybill’s The Upside-Down Kingdom does a wonderful job explaining the realities of Jesus’ life and teachings. Kraybill examines the literary text of bible and adds the historical and religious facts of that time to further show the true context behind the life of Jesus. Kraybill takes the teachings of Jesus and brings to light the importance of the political and social climate. Kraybill reveals that Jesus’ teachings directly correlated to the social conditions of his time. He addresses how the teachings of Jesus were directly influenced by the economic, political, and religious struggles that the people of Jesus’ time faced. Throughout the book Kraybill explores the ideas of Jesus, and examines the facts that Jesus’ teachings and ideologies are in direct contrast with ‘world’ views, therefore creating an upside-down kingdom. He reiterates that Jesus came to begin a revolution that did not balance on war and hate, but relies on each person to express love and compassion towards one another.
Kraybill puts emphasis on the scripture Matthew 4:1-11. In this passage Jesus was lead by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where he is tempted by the devil for forty days and nights. The devil tempts Jesus with bread to stop his hunger and then he tempts Jesus to throw himself of a cliff, to show that God will protect him. Lastly, he tempts Jesus with the offer to have all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus resists all the temptations of the devil. Kraybill argues that these temptations play a vital role to the life and teachings of Jesus. All three temptations represent an issue in the time of Jesus. The bread represents the poor and the hungry. Jesus had the ability to help those who society looks down upon. Thes...
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... functional way. Kraybill brought to light how incredibly deep and meaningful the bible can be. The bible is more than just words on paper bound in a book. If you take the time to examine the historical, literary, and contemporary worlds of the bible, it soon becomes so much more meaningful as a Christian. Another question that I have after reading The Upside-down Kingdom is if the authors of the gospels purposely wrote for future generations. I wonder if they knew that someday people would be out of touch with social and religious practices of their day, and if they purposely wrote in a way that could be meaningful no matter what year it is. Overall I think Kraybill does an amazing job of bringing the bible to life. His insight into the historical and economic perspective of the teachings of Jesus helps the contemporary Christian apply the teachings to their life.
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