Good Friday commemorates the day Jesus died on a Roman cross and His disciples scattered. As night falls, maybe we self-proclaimed Christ followers should ask ourselves if we are actually following the biblical Jesus Christ.
Are we still in “the faith that was once for all time entrusted to God’s holy people”? Or have we lost sight of what the real Jesus is all about?
I routinely encounter people who say they follow Christ while championing culture wars, conspiracy theories and movements to overthrow government and restore a mythical “Christian America” by means of lies, violence and hate-filled speech.
These people are deceived. And I say this with full confidence based on Scripture alone.
When the resurrected Jesus was reunited with His disciples, they asked a burning question: when would He defeat Rome? Israel was under crushing Roman occupation at the time. Messiah’s top priority obviously would be ousting the pagans and restoring a Jewish state.
“So when they had gathered together, they began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6 NET)
|Basically, Jesus responded that was God’s business.|
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NET)
Imagine that. Jesus proclaimed His disciples’ witness of Him to be more important than who ruled.
Clearly, Jesus wasn’t interested in overthrowing human government. After all, His kingdom is not of this world. When asked whether it was right to pay Roman taxes that amounted to extortion, Jesus asked whose image was on the money. He said to give Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God the things that are God’s.
Tax collectors, by the way, were despised. But Jesus invited at least two of them to follow Him and they accepted, notably Matthew and Zacchaeus.
Jesus’ mission was restoring people to relationship with God through the shedding of His blood. He met them where they were, assuring them of God’s love, forgiveness and acceptance and calling them to follow Him – not a religion, not a Jewish patriot party. Him.
The Cross was a rescue mission not an insurrection.
* Christ came into the world to save sinners.
* The only work required for salvation is to believe.
* The victory that overcomes the world is our faith.
“For this is the way God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17 NET)
People are more important to God than governments, political parties and cherished causes, no matter how noble. Still following His lead?
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)