JESUS THE REVOLUTIONIST
HE CAME TO DRASTICALLY ALTER SOCIETY
JESUS THE REVOLUTIONIST
Jesus is probably the most talked about and multi-described man who has ever walked this planet’s surface. He has been called a king, a man of sorrows, a peacemaker, a trouble-maker, a lunatic, a holy man, demon-possessed, Messiah, Savior, Lord, and the list goes on. But the name that probably most correctly describes Him is, a revolutionist.
A revolutionist is one who appears on the scene with the primary goal of transforming the culture or society of the time. There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus came to do exactly that. I also believe that it was God’s intention that He do just that, for the good of society and culture, not just for that time, but for ever. For several thousand years, God had seen the world’s population as two distinct groups. The Jews, and the Gentiles. He had chosen Abraham to be the father of a new nation, called Israel. He chose Abraham and his decedents as a special people, who were to eventually make possible the transformation of the population of the whole world. Jews had the opportunity to quit their citizenship of this nation, and the Gentiles were able to become Jews if they so desired, by obeying all the laws that God gave to His chosen people.
When Moses was called by God to bring the Jews out of captivity by Egypt, He orchestrated a strict set of rules that, if obeyed, would guarantee these Jews a life of blessing and joy. Moses was called by God to the top of a mountain to accept what we know as the Ten Commandments. These were the laws of God that would guarantee the safety and prosperity of these Jews, if they obeyed them. If they disobeyed them, they would be punished, or even ‘deported.’ No longer blessed by God as His chosen people. But as these millions of Jews walked across the vast desert on their way to the Promised Land, there was much trouble between tribes and individuals, as is always the case when lots of people are forced into living in close quarters. So, God once again gave Moses a list of rules concerning relationships and civil behavior, so that they could get along without squabbling. This list also included the essential requirements of God to enable these people to stay in right relationship with Him. The bible makes it abundantly clear that these rules were very hard to obey fully. The apostle Paul, gave us a clear insight into just how difficult it was for a Jewish man to live under these rules. In Romans chapter seven he used hyperbole to describe such a life. One aspect of these rules, was the requirement for anyone who had sinned to make amends for that sin by bringing an animal or bird to an altar specifically built for acts of worship and other spiritual matters. They were to sacrifice this animal or bird on that altar as a sin offering, so that God could forgive them for their sin.
This was how the Jews were to live, and to help them, God sent prophets to guide them in their worship and obedience to God’s laws. This second list of rules are known as the Mosaic Law. There were many prophets during the three thousand odd years before Jesus came on the scene. Many of them were hated by the people because the prophets would tell them how God would punish them if they continued to disobey His laws. They were persecuted, tortured, and even killed by angry crowds of ‘sinners.’ Moses was the first of this long list of prophets God ordained to speak on His behalf to these chosen people of His. Eventually, there was a period of about three hundred years when no prophets were present. God had definitely not given up on His people, but I am sure that He meant them to know what it was like to have no prophet to chastise them when they sinned, or to guide them in their attempts to obey God’s laws.
Then Jesus arrived on the scene. Many of the Jews were expecting Him, because God had given them the promise that He would send the Messiah who would set them free from captivity. The problem with that was that some of these Jews believed that Jesus would set them free from the harsh rule of the Roman Empire. So, they missed the incredible truth that was by far much greater than being free from the Romans. God intended to set them free from the bondage of the Mosaic Law, which was ‘harsh’ and difficult to keep. I have always had difficulty getting my head around how these people could afford to keep sacrificing animals for forgiveness of sins. There were in the vicinity of two million of them who escaped Egypt and roamed that desert for forty years. If they sinned like ‘Christians’ of our day do, how did they ever keep enough animals or birds to gain forgiveness, or keep in right relationship with God? I have only one logical answer to that: they did NOT sin anywhere near as much as I did when I thought I was a Christian because I had trusted Jesus, believed in Him, accepted Him as my Lord and Savior, and did my daily devotions and attended church faithfully. I am sure the Apostle Paul would disappear in a fire ball if he was a pastor today. He told us that when he heard of one of his flock sinning, he would feel a fire in his gut. So, obviously very few folks who professed to be Christ-followers of his day, sinned. In fact, he addressed his letters to, the saints at Ephesus, or wherever he was writing to. We all know that saints don’t sin. That’s precisely why they are called saints.
I was a very respected member of the churches I attended in various towns and cities I lived in as a young man. In fact, I was given places of leadership in all of them, and folks sought my counsel and advice on spiritual matters. But I was tormented by the knowledge that my life was not pleasing to the God who I professed to love and serve. I fought a sexual addiction with all my being, heart, soul, and mind. I ended up literally despising myself due to this sin. I cried out to God for a year or more, begging Him to give me victory over this sin. I seriously studied several versions of the bible, searching for how to overcome my sin, and the way I felt about myself. Then one day it suddenly dawned on me that my motive for all of this searching, begging, and studying of God’s word was selfish. I wanted to feel good about myself. I hated hating myself. The desire to accept myself was greater than my desire to please Him. Of course, I can see that now when I look back and realise, I was not even a Christian then. Only a child of God would see this Satanic deception. So, I started studying scripture with the motive of desiring to please God. He revealed Himself to me, and by getting to know Him, I learned that He was absolutely serious when He said that the wage of sin was death. That gave me cause to fear Him, simply because I sinned. That enabled me to truly repent, and He gave me victory over that addiction.
Moses said to the people, do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of the Lord will be with you to keep you from sinning. Ex. 20:20
Of course, I had been taught that all my sin, past, present and future was ‘paid for’ by Jesus dying on the cross. But I never felt secure in that teaching. The more I studied His inerrant word, the more I realized that my sin had not been ‘paid for’ in the context of forgiveness. Sure, Jesus died to make the final and ultimate sacrifice for all future sins, but that did not remove the consequence of sin. What He did on that cross was crucify the old covenant: the Mosaic Law [Col. 2:14], and remove any need for you and me to sacrifice an animal or bird on an altar somewhere for forgiveness of sin. That was the incredible transformation of society that He came to accomplish. He also opened the door for all people to become His chosen people, as only the Jews were previously. Gentiles were now able to search for Him with all their hearts, come to know Him, learn to fear Him, so that they could repent and receive the Holy Spirit, and know and experience the joy of His salvation and the victory that was theirs in Christ Jesus.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38
That was the most incredible transformation of society this world has ever experienced.
God’s word clearly assures us that salvation is not possible in the absence of fearing Him. Many verses in Psalms and Proverbs tell us clearly that fear of God gives us life and security. I will not include them here, because if you believe what I have told you here, you will begin a serious search of scripture yourself to get to know God, and you will find them all for yourself. I will include the following verse to show you that the truth about the fear of God was not just for the Old Testament folks, but for us as well.
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. Acts 10:34-35
You may have noticed the fact that it was not just those who feared Him, but those who did what was right who were accepted by God into His family. Today’s gospel tells you that you were given the righteousness of Christ when you ‘believed in Him.’ The Greek word from which we got the word ‘believe’ from, means: believe, trust, have faith in, with the implication that actions based on that faith will follow. So, actions are necessary for righteousness. James confirms that in Js 2:24 where he tells us that we were made righteous [justified] by what we did, and not by faith alone.
I just read a tweet from someone calling himself Billy Graham, that told us there was some major cosmic battle going on while Jesus was on the cross. It sounded so spiritual and important, but I have never read about such a battle in my bible, so I don’t know where he got this information. We should be interested in what went on here on our planet shouldn’t we? Whatever he thinks went on up there in the heavens has zero effect on how you or I can attain to salvation. And that has NOT changed as a result of Jesus dying on the cross. We are ‘saved’ by doing God’s will. May. 7:21 That has been true ever since the Garden of Eden.
My book ‘A Nation Broken’ explains all this, and much more. Get it from Amazon or B &N today.