Webster’s Dictionary says a revolution is the fundamental change in political organization, especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed.
One of the major themes of the rioting that has recently hit America’s streets has been the notion of revolution. An example of this is in Seattle where protestors took over about six blocks of the city and are calling it the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). The goal of CHAZ is to create a zone where there are no police and the people self-govern. Inside the zone, leaders are holding teach-ins where they educate people about the issues of the day, people are painting murals to protest racism and promote social harmony, while others are planting vegetable gardens and providing food to those inside the zone.
Social harmony, teaching about a better way of doing life, making sure each other’s needs are met….. sounds awesome, right? It actually sounds very similar to the greatest revolutionary; one who came to promote social harmony, a better way of doing life, and meeting the needs of people. He also spent a lot of time teaching. He taught so well many of his followers referred to Him as “Teacher.”
The greatest revolutionary was Jesus. Many of us don’t appreciate this, but Jesus was radical. Today many people have a watered down view of Jesus and think He was a just a kind but wimpy, weak man that just talked about love and tolerance. That’s not true at all, however. In John 2:15 He made a whip and drove money changers out of the temple because they were ripping people off. Jesus wasn’t weak. He was very strong. He was so strong that He was able to use His power in a different way than any other revolutionary that has ever lived; to serve and not be served.
Many people think the current protestors are radical because they want to take on over 200 years of racism and oppression since the United States began. That’s nothing! Jesus took on 2,000 years of oppression when He sought to replace the law of Moses and the ruling party it empowered called the Pharisees. The Pharisees manipulative and self-serving control of people made Jesus angry. This is why He drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip.
Jesus sought to replace the Old Covenant that was incredibly unfair because it was impossible to keep with a new and better covenant established on better promises. Again, we see Jesus was a revolutionary. He came to overthrow an old system that existed for 2,000 years and was embraced by the culture He lived in with a new and better way.
Jesus’s new and better way was beyond radical. He introduced a system of life based on unconditional love that was about serving others and not seeking to be served. Look at some of revolutionary ideas that Jesus taught:
- When you get slapped on the right cheek, turn the other cheek also – Matthew 5:39
- Whoever wants to be great, must be servant of all – Matthew 20:26
- Humble yourself to be exalted – Luke 7:11
- Don’t do things out of selfish ambition looking after your own interests, but look rather look after the needs of others – Philippians 2:3-4.
- Give to others and it will be given back to you – Luke 6:38
Jesus was a radical leader because He was totally dependent on the love of the His Father as both His driving force and supply. This love made Him whole so He was able to lay down His life for other people’s sake. If you read the gospels, Jesus certainly wasn’t treated well, understood, or accepted, but it didn’t matter to Him because He drew His value and provision from His father in heaven.
Jesus was a king that didn’t need to prove He was a king. Jesus told Pilate that if His kingdom were of this world His followers would fight, but since it didn’t they laid down their weapons. Jesus’s kingdom was a heavenly kingdom that He knew would come to earth one day, but it wouldn’t come by fighting. It would come through the force of love.
The love of the Father allowed Jesus to lay down His life for others without putting up a fight. This wasn’t weakness; it was immense strength. It was love that kept Him on the cross, not the nails.
In the new and better way He took the revolutionary spirit that was inside of Himself and put it inside His followers and told them they would even do greater works than He did. The greatest revolutionary came to empower others and promote them into positions of greatness.
The greatest revolutionary, Jesus, is a sharp contrast to the the protestors who have take over a portion Seattle. The leaders of CHAZ have barricaded off the neighborhoods they seized from outsiders and the streets are now patrolled by armed residents. They protested police brutality and took over a police station, however, in order to maintain control of the area they have introduced a greater level of hostility through arming private citizens with weapons.
Rapes, robberies, and the destruction of property have increased inside of CHAZ. Business owners are closing their businesses because they don’t feel safe. The reality is the revolution these leaders sought to bring has actually caused oppression and injustice to increase. These leaders who tried to bring freedom have actually brought fear, oppression, and control just like the original revolutionary – Satan.
The most amazing thing about the greatest revolutionary, Jesus, is He died for the leaders of CHAZ who are causing the destruction of a city, its property, and its citizens way of life. He’s not mad at them. Right now, He’s seated at the right hand of the Father saying, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.
Jesus loves them and simply wants to take the anger on the inside of them and channel it for good. I believe He is going to give many of these modern revolutionaries Damascus Road experiences where they turn from Saul into Paul. Many of these people are sincere. They are just sincerely wrong and they just need to connect with the heart of the Father.
Jesus hates oppression which is why He came to die for all of us. The revolutionary weapon of His kingdom is unconditional love that He wants to release to overwhelm both the oppressed and the oppressor.
Right now we need the revolutionary spirit of Jesus to infiltrate our earth. It’s His love that forgave all our sins and it is His love that binds us together in spite of our differences. I want to encourage you to ask Jesus to reveal His unconditional love to you in a greater dimension and agree with me that many of the modern revolutionaries get a revelation of His goodness.
Let’s pursue His kingdom. It’s too much to describe in one article, but I want to close with one simple thought:
Romans 14:17 The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
God’s kingdom looks like being and doing right, walking in peace, and experiencing joy in all of our circumstances. As we do this, we release the revolutionary spirit of Jesus into all of our situations and we began to experience His kingdom on the earth.