My Rights

Israel had been waiting so long for the promised Messiah that they forgot what to look for. Jesus really shouldn't have been a surprise to them because they had been told clearly what was to come. In the waiting, though, they began to form their own ideas of who he would be. The most common and widely accepted theory was that the promised Messiah was going to come and start a revolution. Not a "love revolution" but a war. A bloody, messy war. Then, he would establish himself as king, and all would be well. Even once the disciples began recognizing Jesus for who he was, they still held on to these beliefs. This might explain some of Peter's fiery temper, especially when Jesus was arrested. Peter's first reaction was to grab a sword and FIGHT! He slices a soldier's ear off, but Jesus is quick to repair the damage and tell Peter, "those who live by the sword, die by the sword". Simon, one of Jesus disciples was known as "Simon the Zealot". The word zealot was created to describe the sect of Jews that had become fanatical in their religious beliefs to the point of terrorizing Rome when they could. Yes, terrorizing. They absolutely believed that God would deliver Israel by the sword. You can imagine how chilling it was for them to hear Jesus say that war was not the answer. I wonder if maybe that had a lot to do with why all but one fled when he was arrested. Peter denied him three times. I suspect his fear and confusion had a lot to do with why he did so.

Then to add to their fear and confusion, they watch, (or rather hear about since they had fled), their Master die on a cross. I'm sure they thought he had given up. They probably even felt embarrassment that they had followed him, only to have him die like that. They probably feared for their own lives. The bottom line is that they just didn't know any better.

They didn't know any better.

Yes, Jesus had been clear on his purpose. He did not hide anything from them. They simply didn't have ears to hear until it was all said and done. "Oh, now I get it!" was the response they had when he appeared to them after his resurrection.

When I look at the state of this world, the way we want to argue our points, our ideas, the way we adamantly scream that we. are. right...well, I say that we "don't get it". If anyone had the right to yell, protest, fight...it was Jesus.

But he didn't.

Jesus looked at a group of feisty, hard headed men that had hate for Rome coursing though their veins, and told them to put down their swords. I wonder how many of us are holding swords high, trying to fight battles that will never be won by swords. I wonder how many times we lay aside the commands of Christ to fight a cause our flesh is itching to fight.

I wonder...

Truly, this is not an "anti- anything" blog. It's simply an observation. An observation of what I see Jesus say and do, compared to what I see us say and do sometimes. It's a sad observation really, of what I see around me that I wish was not so. I am a passionate, fiery, hard headed individual....but I want all that to funnel through the mind of Christ in me, not through my flesh.

Is there a challenge in here somewhere? Perhaps. Maybe we could rethink our "freedoms of expression" and remember that when we have turned ourselves over to Christ, we have given up a lot of "rights" we used to think were ours. When we become followers of Christ, we become servants, plain and simple. What do servants do? They serve.

I have to say, I notice something about Christ as he walked this Earth. He wasn't concerned with his rights. He was concerned with one thing. Sharing truth with his lost sheep. Miraculously, he did so, without a throne to stand on, or a position to boast of. He was willing to give everything to share the truth...he did give everything.

For me, the bottom line is this: I am passionate and hard headed about following Jesus. I only want to be like him. I don't care what I am told is "my right", I don't care what "freedom" I lose, I just want to be Jesus to the world around me. I pray that the darker the world gets, the brighter his light shines in me. That's all that matters. Seeing his name praised, seeing him honored through my life. Do you honor him with your words and deeds? I pray so. That is what this "free world" needs to see. A people who do not conform, a people who do not waver, a people who mean what they say. A people who walk in humble forgiveness and grace. A people filled with love, joy,  peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and...self control.

Let it be so in me Lord, let it be so.

"But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God." John 1:11-13

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