Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mutiny, Sedition, Treason, and Other Crimes Against the World as We Know It

by Dan Jones

Did you ever think of your dear, saintly grandmother as a mutinous rebel?

That’s right. Your grandmother, who went to church every single Sunday without fail, who never uttered a word harsher than “horsefeathers,”  who saved the little chips of soap left over in the bathroom so she and her rebellious grandmotherly co-conspirators could make soap for Christian orphanages in Africa—they were all rebels dead-set on a grand conspiracy to overthrow the entire world.

A recent article about the Apostle’s Creed, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-christian-s-pledge-of-allegiance used the phrase “cultural mutiny” to describe the act of reciting that most well-known of all confessions of Christian faith.

Author Tony Reinke explains that there was a time when calling anyone other than Caesar “Lord” was an act of treason punishable by death.

All four gospels are quite clear that Pilate asked Jesus if He were a king. Pilate was not at all concerned about the Jew’s charge of blasphemy and told them to go and judge Him by their own laws. (John 18:31) 

So, when Jesus tells Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world, (John 18:36) Pilate has no grounds to execute Him because He is no threat to Caesar.

But:
From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” (John 19:12 ESV)

In essence, the Jews were shouting that Pilate himself would be guilty of treason if he were to release Jesus. An exasperated Pilate replies,
“Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15b ESV)

And, in doing so, they claimed allegiance to this world and enmity with God.

That’s why claiming Jesus as our Lord and King is the ultimate act of sedition.

Because in doing so, as Reinke points out, we are claiming allegiance not to what the world offers us, but to what Jesus promises us.

As Christians, we are in rebellion to the world’s promises of happiness through money and power and sex and whatever that world is trying to sell us in cute little thirty-second blurbs in between scenes of lust and greed and appetite on that glaring box of an altar that all the furniture in our so-called “living rooms” is facing.

We are claiming to be in rebellion to this world. We are claiming that the unseen is eternal and what is seen is temporary and passing away with no more eternal significance than a double thick mocha grande cappuccino frappe latte with a fried egg on top.

We are claiming that this world is no accident. We are taking a stand and saying that God the Father created this world-- that it is not some gigantic accident of infinite nothingness that at some point in the infinite past somehow coalesced itself into an infinite somethingness and, in a flash of light, exploded into a giant, complex, expertly crafted, infinitely beautiful creation that somehow sings His praises beyond our ability to grasp or imagine.

We are claiming that His love, His bloody horrific unjust terrible death on that cross, paid for all the hurt and pain and evil that was and is and ever will be in all this world and erased all the guilt of every human being’s sin since the beginning of time to the end of time as we know it—all through simply believing that He stepped out of that tomb ALIVE for all eternity on that Sunday morning.

We are claiming that true life and true joy originates and propagates and lives and breathes and walks hand-in-hand, not in seeking all those things for ourselves through the acquisition of toys and houses and cars and money and more and more stuff, but in giving ourselves away to God. We are claiming His Holy Spirit lives in us.

We are claiming that love wins--forever.

And, in doing so, we are a rebellious, seditious, treasonous, mutinous lot because we are claiming that neither the world nor anything of this world will ever be our King.

And if collecting soap chips is your special act of rebellion, so be it!

Today’s Praise.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.



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