Today’s guest post is by Bob Hostetler the author of The Red Letter Life: 17 Words From Jesus to Inspire Simple, Practical, Purposeful Living, and the upcoming The Red Letter Prayer Life: 17 Words from Jesus to Inspire Practical, Purposeful, Powerful Prayer.
The land of Jesus was always a hotbed of revolution.
A man named Theudas led a rebellion among the common people, raising an army of 400, until he was killed and his rebellion ended.
A Galilean named Judas, when Jesus was a boy, led a tax revolt and gained a following, until he too was killed and his rebellion ended.
Like them, Jesus amassed a popular following. And, like them, he died.
But Jesus was different. And rather than dying in failure, he died in victory. Because he did not come to overthrow armies or governments or economies. He came—and he lived, and died, and rose again—for a better cause.
He came to overturn religion
“Now, wait a minute,” someone says. “I thought Jesus came to establish a religion!”
No. Not hardly.
That’s a common misconception, you know, that Jesus came to launch a new religion called “Christianity.”
But the world of Jesus’ day was not short on religions. He came to overturn religious futility, to revolutionize how people relate to God, and enter into his kingdom, and grab hold of eternal life, abundant life.
By his death and resurrection, Jesus flipped the process as he overturned tables in the temple. Rather than people trying to get to God by their efforts, he granted access to God by his efforts. [Click to tweet!]
He came to overwhelm darkness
In July 1999, a pilot, his wife, and her sister boarded a Piper Saratoga airplane in New York City to fly to Martha’s Vineyard. The pilot had flown that route before. . . but seldom at night, and never on a night like that one. As the lights of the coast disappeared and their route took them over the ocean, the darkness and haziness of the night combined with the utter blackness of the waters below began to to disorient the pilot. Experienced pilots will tell you that at such times with no landmarks, no lights, no stars in the sky, only the plane’s instruments can tell you whether you’re rightside up or upside down. That is how experts think JFK Jr. and his wife and sister-in-law died.
It is a fitting parable of the human situation.
Dallas Willard, in his book The Divine Conspiracy, wrote:
Most of us as individuals, and world society as a whole, live at high-speed and often with no clue to whether we are flying upside down or right-side up. Indeed, we are haunted by a strong suspicion that there may be no difference.
Jesus came to change that. He said, “Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going,” (John 12:35, NLT). But he also said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life,” (John 8:12, NIV).
He came to plant within us the light that will dispel doubt and sin and darkness, the truth that will expose the lies—the forces in this world that have been trying all your life to convince you that you’re worthless and will never amount to anything, or that God feels nothing but disgust toward you and that if you approached him he would slam the door in your face, or the forces that want you to think you’re powerless, a victim of evolution and environment and circumstance who can never live a life that will bless yourself and others. He came to overthrow that deception in your heart and mind and show you that, “You [can be] a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light,” (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).
He came to overcome death
Less than a week after Jesus rode into Jerusalem amid adoring throngs on Palm Sunday and then cleared the Temple precincts of merchants and moneychangers, he was arrested and executed, like Theudas and Judas the Galilean before him.
Unlike them, however, Jesus’ revolution didn’t end there.
Because Jesus didn’t stay executed.
The testimony of the church for two thousand years— and the overwhelming weight of the evidence—says that Jesus rose from the grave that first Easter Sunday.
He overcame death.
He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die,” (John 11:25-26, NIV). He also said, “I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full,” (John 10:10, NIV).
John Huffman said, “The resurrection of Jesus Christ equips us to face the two biggest fears in the world: the fear of dying and the fear of living.”
That is what Easter means. It is why Jesus came. He said it himself, quite succinctly, when he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life,” (John 14:6, NIV).
Religion is not the way. . .“I am the way.”
The stuff this world has you believing is not the truth. . .“I am the truth.”
Even this mortal life you’re leading is not real life. . .“I am the life.”
Start reading Bob Hostetler ebook, The Red Letter Life: 17 Words From Jesus to Inspire Simple, Practical, Purposeful Living for $8.44.