Jesus is not only the Saviour of the world, a good Rabbi, a prophet or teacher. He is not just a king or a payment for our sins but he is also a revolutionary. Even though we know in our hearts that Jesus came to open the eyes of the religious leaders of the time and to revolutionise how they saw God, few Christians see him at the depth this revolution really went.
For many Christians we act like Jesus was a nice guy, maybe a little bit of sandal wearing hippy that spoke lots about loving each other. Even if at a basic level he was like this how come we can’t even do that. (That’s love that is).
Jesus said ‘love our neighbour’(Matthew 22:36-40), but so many Christian don’t even speak to their neighbours of which I will put myself in that club. The words that left Jesus’ mouth were provocative yet we teach them as if he was just saying some nice things.
Is it that we are just not familiar with what Jesus actually said, or are we just not reading those hard bits. Jesus was a revolutionary teacher; radical prophet; provocative preacher; controversialist; iconoclast; and the implacable opponent of the religious establishment.
Jesus was never nasty or critical but was someone who loved and loved and loved. But he still had that political agenda in all that he taught.
Teachings about being slapped and walking the extra mile (Matthew 5:38-42) were all about helping people reclaim their humanity form Caesars Augustus power and a miss used law court. Teachings about loving your neighbour were about doing away with the racism against the Samaritans. Jesus taught that there was another world that we could live in. This was never about a world to live in once we have died but a word possible here on earth right now.
Jesus taught about bringing change to humanity’s view of God. Change to men’s view of women. Change to the old order of things, replacing it with a new order. He came to bring forth a new covenant—a new kingdom—a new birth—a new race—a new species—a new culture—and a new civilization. Called Gods Kingdom.
This was a kingdom, which said that everyone was equal, everyone was loved, and not just the religious. A kingdom where there would be no more fear, no more pain but lots more grace, forgiveness, mercy and love. And did I mention Love?
Jesus was a man who would not bow down to the authorities of this world and religious conformity.
Jesus preached a revolution.
Jesus preached a non-tolerance of hypocrisy.
Jesus preached a liberating gospel.
Jesus preached and was happy to evoke anger in the religious people.
He came not only as Saviour paying a debt, He did not owe to wash away humanity’s war, hatred, and ingrained sin…
He came not only as Prophet, comforting the afflicted and making those comfortable feel uncomfortable…
He came not only as Priest, representing man before God and representing God before man…
He also came as Revolutionary, tearing apart the old ways of doing things with a view to bringing in a new way.
For many Christians, this is a new look at the Jesus they hear being taught about each Sunday but it is all there is the bible. When it says in John ‘Jesus Wept’ at his friend Lazarus’ grave, this wasn’t only because his friend had died, but because he knew this was never as God intended the world to be. In Gods design there was no pain, no death and no crying. But Jesus knew that this world was becoming a living hell for many of us and that was never in the plan. Jesus came to bring a little of heaven to earth, Gods kingdom to earth.
Jesus pattern of revolution runs pretty deep. On one occasion, Jesus healed a blind man by mixing mud with spittle and putting it in the man’s eyes. Such an act was in direct defiance to the Jewish law that stopped you from working, mind you healing on Shabbat (sabbath). Yet Jesus intentionally shattered this tradition publicly and with absolute determination. Jesus eat food with unwashed hands under the judgmental gaze of the Pharisees, again intentionally defying their out of date tradition.
If you want to be a true disciple of the revolutionary from Nazareth it means that you will need to realise a few things. It might mean that you end up going to places that aren’t all that nice. Jesus hung out with those who had life threatening illness, had professions the good religious people wanted nothing to do with and he hung out with those who would be seen as ‘those people’. Following Jesus will lead you to ‘those people’ who most of society wants to hide away. Being a follower of the revolutionary from Nazareth does not mean eating organic and drinking fair trade tea although both of those things are good. Being a follower means going to the people who need the help. For example giving bags of cloths to the homeless collections is a good start. But actually going to the homeless and giving them what they need direct is the Jesus way, the other way is still trying to keep them at arms length.
Being a follower is about being right there next to them, living life with them and welcoming them on the journey with you.
If you are a true disciple of the Revolutionary from Nazareth you will eventually evoke a question all revolutionaries get asked. It is the same question that was asked Jesus’ disciples while He walked this earth. That question is: “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?”(Matt 15:2). What they are essentially being asked is ‘Why do you not do what we do?’
Our response needs to be, because I do what I see the Revolutionary from Nazareth doing.