Article first published as Jesus the Christ: Model of Spirituality and Volunteerism on Blogcritics.
Contrary to the popular belief, Jesus never introduced religion but a model of relationship. It is summed up in the greatest commandment: Love God and fellow human as one’s self.
This vertical and horizontal relationship is the essence of Lord’s Prayer. The first part pertains to relationship with divine while the last, with humanity. “Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”. The use of plural words in the prayer – our, we, us– reveals the inclusiveness of Jesus in relationship.
Obviously, Jesus advocates spirituality, not religion. For religion promotes belief in various forms including rituals, dogmas, and creeds. Spirituality, on the other hand, espouses relationship of human person to something or someone who transcends themselves. This type of spirituality has twofold dimensions – personal and social or communal.
Similarly, Jesus has never skipped the voluntary process despite the supposed favor from people who know his real status. He prevails on John the Baptist when the latter appears reluctant to perform the required ritual. Jesus even rebukes disciples in their vindictive actuation against discriminatory treatments. Humiliated in an attempt to bridge the gap between warring cultures in one Samaritan village, he rules out retaliation as insinuated by James and John. He calmly tells Peter to hold peace, when fighting back against the savagery of his captors. Despite having in his disposal legions of angels to protect when needed.
Jesus washes the disciple’s feet at the height of leadership struggle during the last supper. The lobbying of both John and James and their mother for position in the kingdom might have sparked the internal conflict. Hence, nobody appears willing to do the menial task which earlier they enjoy taking turns. Jesus volunteers.
Jesus consistently exemplifies spirituality and volunteerism in his lifestyle and teachings, even in death. He voluntarily follows all the requirements of the law, although he deliberately skirts man -made unreasonable insertion and imposition to the requirements of God. He successfully passes the final challenge in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the way to the cross.
There, Jesus affirms his willingness to sacrifice, wrestling with his humanity vis-a-vis the divine mandate. As recorded in the gospel, the scene in the garden portrays the last struggle. Jesus pours out his innermost thoughts and feelings. Reviewing the justice requirements and redemption scheme, he attempts to argue for other alternatives apart from the cup of suffering and death
No wonder, the divine justice expedites resurrection as award for the greatest volunteer in the world. Had his professed adherents religiously follow suit, the world could have been a better place to live in.