We are looking at Jesus as a revolutionary. Let me remind you of the definition of a revolutionary: someone committed to the thorough replacement of an established system of government in the hope of seeing radical change in society and social structures.
We saw that Jesus reformed government – and took us out of the world’s governmental system and gave us the grace and empowerment for self-government. And, that because of this He could live in the world but not be of the world. He belonged to a different kingdom, God’s Kingdom, and so lived a life that was noticeably different and very attractive. As revolutionaries we are to live the same way as He did – being imitators of Christ, as Paul wrote.
No person ever practiced what he preached better than Jesus did. If His assignment for us is to be revolutionaries, we have an intimate knowledge of that that means largely through His earthly example. He was relentlessly self-disciplined. The consistency of His words and behaviour transformed every place and every person He encountered.
I really encourage you to take some time to read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life with the intention of discerning her attributes and actions that gave Him this power to transform. Too often we write off His influence, protesting that He was, after all, God, and therefore His ways are beyond our grasp. But that’s just an excuse we hide behind to avoid the challenge of revolutionary living. His life is our model. A true revolutionary accepts the challenge to be fully Christlike, as impossible as it may seem at the start of the quest. Remember, nobody starts out a champion; only those who are single-minded in their determination to reach lofty goals become unrivalled leaders.
As you study the Gospels for lessons and clues, notice that Jesus ignored customs, expectations, and even laws in order to be all that God intended. His focus shows us, in the flesh, what is possible and how to make the most of every opportunity provided by God. Let’s take a brief look at His life in the next few blogs, seen in the book of Matthew, to discover how you can transcend the moral and spiritual gravity of this world to enter a revolutionary orbit.
Jesus had the right to have a chip on His shoulder. But from the moment we meet Him all we find is humility. Think about His choices and how He responded to various circumstances. He was baptized by someone whose very salvation was dependent upon being forgiven by Jesus. He refused to accept titles or even simple accolades. He did nothing to call attention to Himself; in fact, He generally shunned the spotlight and avoided situations that would bring notoriety and acclaim. He consistently exhorted people to demonstrate humility and to realize that their stature is determined by God, not by what they or others say.
Despite the human tendency to proclaim and prove one’s independence, Jesus recognized and freely acknowledged His total dependence upon God. In both His public ministry and His private life, He lived as a servant seeking to be used by God the Father. His self-worth was not based on His own performance; it was based on how faithfully He did the will of God and operated in the power of the Spirit.
Unlike many people who assume power our influence, Jesus was never under the delusion that His service to humankind would produce universal applause and adulation. Aware that He was a warrior in the invisible spiritual battle, the Man from Galilee went to great lengths to preach to His colleagues and prepare them to embrace their inevitable social standing: targets for misunderstanding, hatred, discrimination, and persecution. The picture He painted for fellow revolutionaries was appallingly unattractive – and it reflected His acute awareness of His place on earth.
More next time…