“From that time Jesus began to preach, saying,
‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
This whole protest thing has me messed up, not from bewilderment of “autonomous zones” but whether Christians should be part of any protest. I wrote recently that the political, social, and economic problems of today were very much present in Jesus’ time, yet he didn’t protest. To be sure, he did whatever he pleased, or rather, whatever pleased our Father. That means he broke plenty of cultural/religious rules such as Sabbath regulations beyond that prescribed by Moses or the ritual washing of hands/dishes. Make no mistake, he kept a lot of rules, too, but only those that God put down in scripture. He violated none of these.
He was certainly no hermit or recluse. He deliberately went out into the streets, synagogues, and the temple. He went from town to town, into the countryside, and even into non-Jewish territory. What did he do? He healed the sick and proclaimed the gospel. He came to seek and save the lost. His whole life on earth was to destroy the works of the devil through his death and resurrection. He came to show the world that he is God and called everyone to follow him. He didn’t ask; he commanded. Very few obeyed, but that doesn’t mean he won’t one day deal with that.
Did he organize any protests concerning injustice for a particular cause? Did he participate in any? Or was his message simply, “I am the Messiah. Change your ways and follow me. There is no turning back. It might just cost you your life, but it will be worth it. I promise. If you don’t, one day you will always and forevermore regret it.”
What about men like William Wilberforce or Martin Luther King, Jr. who spent their lives fighting for just causes? What about those who march for pro-life? That’s a really good point.
Here’s the thing that I see in so many protests, especially those happening today. I see hatred. So much hatred. Is this how biblically righteous anger manifests itself? I don’t think so. As far as I can tell, the bible does provide for hate, but it is in the breaking of God’s commands and with those who refuse to stop. I think it’s safe to say that each of us has sinned more through our anger than acted righteously in it.
Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
We must be very careful with anger and not associate with those who are angry people.
Proverbs 22:24-25 Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.
So is the answer to all of this that it’s OK to protest as long I don’t get angry?
I think the bigger question is this: Is Jesus ever important enough for me to hit the streets? I mean, is the kingdom of God ever important enough for me to go all public and proclaim it like Jesus did? Look at the opening verse. Is Jesus ever important enough for me to do something like that?
It’s not like Jesus kept that job for himself. What did he tell the twelve when he sent them out? “And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10:7). How about the seventy-two? Same thing. Oh, and what did Jesus tell them should a town refuse them? Shake the dust off your feet against them. Jesus said, “I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.” (Luke 10:12)
Do I ever get that motivated?
I don’t know, but it seems like it’s much easier to get all aggravated and march about just about ANYTHING than it is to hit the streets and proclaim the gospel.
There is something inherently wrong about this. A man-in-the-mirror moment.
Maybe I could march and proclaim the gospel whilst doing so…..instead of making the gospel my primary purpose for marching. That’s starting to sound a little Pharisaical to me.
Father, re-arrange my thinking. Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers