James A. Washington

I saw something that literally made me stop and think: “Jesus, revolutionary!” The reason for my pause had more to do with how we define revolutionary today and its application in terms of Christ.

My own faith walk demands an acknowledgement that He was all about substance. One of the core truths and subsequent beliefs about the life and death and life of Christ is He could care less about style. For example, the outward act of prayer has little to do with the internal purpose of prayer. The literal and technical interpretation of God’s laws, i.e. Moses, had little value if not filtered through the intent of God’s will. See Jesus in the temple dealing with the money changers.

Jesus was executed because He challenged the rigid practice of the intellectual and literal enforcement of rules and regulations. He simply asked of those in charge, “Where is the love and compassion in what you do?” To Christ, church hierarchy had little to do with church purpose, and He challenged the leadership to forego the rigidity of rules and focus on doing God’s will. 

As a follower of Christ, then, is it not our duty to be just as vigilant against church law and order in today’s church? Shouldn’t we become concerned and active in the purpose of the church Jesus left behind? Shouldn’t we be less concerned about doctrine and more concerned about duty?

Duty rooted in faith and belief in the Almighty demands a certain kind of action. Following the literal interpretation of doctrine demands little more than an external demonstration of an understanding of the rules.

So are we revolutionary if we investigate the size of the choir’s budget as opposed to the effectiveness of the Outreach Ministry? Does Jesus’ message demand that we reorder our thinking to go beyond church walls and deal with those we might think we’re better than because we are in church every Sunday? A Sunday seat doesn’t guarantee a Monday heart.

Does this sound revolutionary to you? When you break it down, the revolutionary part becomes apparent when you look at who Jesus helped. The miracles were more about the lame and the lost, the poor and the blind, even the wretched and the vile. Jesus himself didn’t fit the mold of whom the church wanted to call king. He wasn’t kingly enough by the strict interpretation of the rules and regulations.

Christ actually hung out with the wrong crowd, practiced radical religion and preached threating sermons. When He talked about forgiveness, that meant being the forgiver rather than the forgiven.

Paul spoke to power without fear. Christ’s revolutionary example gave Him the courage to do so. The love Jesus spoke about is the love you give, not the love you expect to receive. The same held true for mercy and charity. I guess this really was enough to get Him killed. 

The iconic part of my point is if you only preach these principles, nothing will happen to you.  But if you actually practice these truths, you too might fall prey to gossip, jealousy, envy and maybe even death. I guess you know you’re a revolutionary when people see you challenging the status quo in order to do God’s will. 

Is anybody paying attention to you these days? 

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