Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Original Radical

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
“To what can I compare the people of this generation?” Jesus asked.  “How can I describe them?  They are like children playing a game in the public square.  They complain to their friends,
‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance,
so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t weep.’
For John the Baptist didn’t spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’  The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’  But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.”  Luke 7:31-35 (NLT)
People complained about Jesus, the radical.  Jesus returned the sentiment; he said the people of his generation were like children who complained they couldn’t get him to play nice.  And then he pointed to his cousin, John the Baptist.  John lived the esthetic, austere lifestyle of a monk in the wilderness, preaching and baptizing – so the religious leaders suspected he was possessed.  Jesus spent time with people at their houses and parties, and the religious leaders accused him of overindulgence and having bad friends. 

You just can’t please some people.

The real fact of why they complained had nothing at all to do with parties or not partying; the real reason was because Jesus made them nervous.  Holiness makes people uncomfortably aware of their own shortcomings; and they don’t like it at all!

I read a news story[2] years ago about Billy Graham playing golf with a couple of PGA professionals.  After the round a reporter asked one of the pros how it was to pay golf with Dr. Billy Graham, “America’s Pastor”.  His reply was that it was OK, except he didn’t like having religion shoved down his throat.  One of the other pros privately told the reporter that Mr. Graham had not even mentioned God a single time the whole day. 

A guilty conscience will always react the same way when in the presence of somebody who models Godly living – with anger and vengeance.  Jesus, the original “radical” lover of men’s souls caused that kind of reaction. 

John the Baptist wanted nothing to do with the gluttonous, drunken culture.  Jesus wanted to be in the center of that culture to bring healing for their downward spiral of life choices.

Both Jesus and John were motivated by holy love, a radical, God-kind of love that genuinely cares for their fellow humans…and both were killed for it!

To those who would follow Jesus, the idea that you will always be liked and admired, is an idea that you would do well to shed and leave behind.  A holy and radical God-kind of love will more often be rejected just because you’ve always got Adam and Eve in the equation…mankind’s fallen nature runs, hides, and grabs the nearest fig leaf to conceal true motives.

But if you follow Jesus…you love them anyway!

For You Today

What’s your motivation for what you do for others?

You chew on that out on the Rocky Road today…and have a joy-filled and blessed day!

[1] Title image:  Carl Heinrich Bloch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
[2] I’m not certain of the source of that story (it’s been too long)

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