A while back I mentioned briefly that when Jesus began gathering disciples and teaching crowds, his intent was not to create a new religion. Of course one did arise anyway, but ultimately Jesus was far more interested in setting things straight.
There’s a line in a song by Robert Randolph called “I Still Belong to Jesus” that goes:
the finger pointin’ preacher screams he’s huntin’ sinners in his dreams
From my perspective, there were all these beliefs in the religious world – that only the righteous have access to God (and therefore God hates the wicked and wants you to bring them down), that God wants you to be holy, perfect and in your Sunday best, that God will come in great power and like a huge parade – but Jesus went out of his way to flip these notions upside down. I mean for crying out loud he said those who want to be the greatest need to be become the least, they need to serve others.
But because those ideas about God loving perfecting behaved religious leaders were so logical – they were what you would expect from a religion – that the very people who built a system in Jesus’ name flipped them right side up again. This is how we can have a Christian preacher who flips out on dirty, nasty sinners – we don’t believe in what some call the upside down kingdom.
Jesus’ ways don’t really make sense. And as such, I think we will always have the temptation to override these things, thinking Jesus couldn’t have really meant that. We’ll always be tempted to make it logical – I don’t think you can ever normalize Jesus’ counter intuitive ways. I think we’ll always have to work hard and stay conscious that the kingdom Jesus described is supposed to look like a car sitting on his hood, and that this is the proper place for it.
In what other ways have flipped back the crazy things Jesus said? Do you find yourself having to consciously fight this temptation?