On a search for a better world, finding it in the most unlikely places
Then Jesus said to them, “Tonight all of you will run away because of Me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away because of You, I will never run away!” ” I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight—before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!” “Even if I have to die with You,” Peter told Him, “I will never deny You!” And all the disciples said the same thing. (Matt 26:31-34)
Funny thing – the disciples were willing to die for Jesus – the Jesus they thought they knew. They were willing to lay their lives down for the freedom of their nation, the liberation of Israel from her oppressors, and the destruction of the “enemy.”
In their “brave” declarations, they only demonstrated a shortsightedness that would be very apparent a few hours later. They were only willing to die for their kingdom, their Jesus, their ideas. They were courageous – for their vision. A vision of violence and glory and personal advancement. They had so much to learn – that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways…” (Isaiah 55:8)
They thought the Kingdom would come with swords and blood, in power and violence. They projected their own hatred onto God – they didn’t see that God wanted to make the Romans their brothers, the Gentiles their family! They didn’t believe what Jesus Himself had told them – “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matt. 5:44). Blinded by their own pride and lack of vision, they left their master alone. It took time and hard lessons to teach them what was worth living for (and dying for).
But are we any different? Can we honestly claim that we love terrorists, are we who claim to follow the Jesus of the Bible truly demonstrating His attributes? Forgiveness? Grace? Love? I’m sorry, but I must say the answer is no. Are we sending as many people to love the terrorists as to kill them? Are we spending more time and resources condemning illegal immigration or reaching out to illegal immigrants….do we see Jesus in the oppressed brother in China who made our T-shirt, TV, or car – or is Jesus just for people like us…homogenized, occasionally intriguing, and ultimately, domesticated.
We love to talk about Jesus…as if we really knew Him! As if He didn’t demand everything, and promise impossibilities….as if He lived in suburbia X and preached at the Crystal Cathedral, drove an SUV, worn a “I AM” t-shirt (from Wal-Mart, no doubt) and taught everyone to be safe, be secure, be wealthy, be healthy! You see, we’re (that includes me most of the time) just like the disciples. We think we have it all figured out…that surely God must be on our side…but that’s not even the question: the question is – are we on His side? Look again to His Word, and see if it is so.
He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”(Matt. 22:37-39)
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt. 23:12)
I need these words more than anyone else…God forgive me for being blind.
– By Derek Webb
i repent, i repent of my pursuit of america’s dream
i repent, i repent of living like i deserve anything
of my house, my fence, my kids, my wife
in our suburb where we’re safe and white
i am wrong and of these things i repent
i repent, i repent of parading my liberty
i repent. i repent of paying for what i get for free
and for the way i believe that i am living right
by trading sins for others that are easier to hide
i am wrong and of these things i repent
i repent judging by a law that even i can’t keep
of wearing righteousness like a disguise
to see through the planks in my own eyes
i repent, i repent of trading truth for false unity
i repent, i repent of confusing peace and idolatry
by caring more of what they think than what i know of what we need
by domesticating You until You look just like me
i am wrong and of these things