James A. Washington

I saw something the other day that made me stop and think: “Jesus, Revolutionary.”

The phrase made me think of revolutionary in terms of my own faith walk. One of the core truths and teaching principles about the life and death and life of Jesus Christ is that he was all about substance. He could care less about style. I have come to know through Jesus that the outward act of prayer has little, if anything, to do with the internal purpose of prayer.

The literal and technical interpretation of God’s laws has little value if not filtered through the intent of God’s will. 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 at the same time, in the same place, in the same seat?

A Sunday seat doesn’t guarantee a Monday heart. Does this sound revolutionary to you? 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 threatening 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. This was enough to get Him killed.

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. 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? Remember, it’s all about doing things in the name of the Lord, for His purpose and not any other. 

May God bless and give you the strength to be His revolutionary today in the church of your choosing.   

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