This is going to be a little long. But for the sake of God, and spreading the Gospel, I have had an inspiration from reading the Bible, and it has not let me go. I’m taking that as a sign that maybe this isn’t crafted from my imagination, it’s coming from something above me, and that maybe someone needs to hear it. So I hope in the vast sea of internet data, this reaches its intended eyes. The title of this article I hope is enough to help those struggling with their identity to be more Christ than anything else.
I believe the Lord has a timely message for certain Christians in regards to the current events of 2020, laid out in black and white. This isn’t for everyone, but if you’re reading this and know someone, then I hope this gives you some perspective to give to them. Here’s the passage I read, and in between the verses will be my thoughts.
The Test of Greatness
Luke 9:46 An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest.
Luke 9:47 But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side,
Luke 9:48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”
Chasing down the meaning of these verses means sliding up to the table of an ancient discussion about the meaning of the least of these, and hearing the back and forth of different ideas.
The passage in Mark does not speak of Jesus pulling a child to His side to emphasize the point of “the least”, but both have the commonality that those who are in trouble, and those that can benefit from a helping hand, should be cared for if you call yourself a follower of Christ.
And recently, we have all raised up our ideas of who is the “least” of us. Warning: I am a low/mid income, white, straight, male, Christian. I am burdened to write this, and to speak out my thoughts about the current issues intimidates me. Nevertheless, I am tired of remaining silent, and more importantly losing friends because of it. But I am not an intellectual, just a geek with a keyboard, and a heart for God. So I pray before you and I both proceed, we stop, pray for an open mind, and a passion for discussion to Truth (absolute, and Christ-like).
Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter. I hesitate to even put them together in the same sentence for fear of being known as grouping them together. Because it’s not fair to do that. When we just group everyone, we disregard those distinctive parts which are sometimes most crucial in seeing the truth.
It’s like saying a child is an adult. Children can’t fight in a war. Children cannot take the tasks required by a competent older human being. But we cannot generalize the problems of races no more than we can generalize children and adults the same.
By the way, being black, brown, red, or yellow does not mean being a child. And it sure as heck does not mean being white means we’re the adult, or the chosen of God. We are dealing with a different scenario in this day and time.
We are dealing with inequality. It was in the hearts of the disciples, it’s in the church, it’s in the United States.
The truth of the matter is, I do believe we all need help. Sin is everywhere, so it’s safe to say sin is in the American system, as much as it is to say sin is in our churches. Is there systematic racism, and white supremacy in America? Probably! Just because it may not happen in your city and state doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! I mean, look at this census from last year, yeah it probably does! Why else would people be talking about it? I know there exists conspiracy theorists, but even so, we as Christians, cannot take any thought lightly. In fact it’s biblical to take hold of every thought, meaning be intentional, be serious, actually give a care about what all the outcry is.
These are just honest thoughts from an understudied guy, finding links, and Bible verses as he is writing.
And that’s another thing. We. Don’t. Know. And that’s a big statement for a lot of discussion. What do we, ‘not know about?’. A lot of things. We don’t know who is lying, who is telling the truth. There’s multiple factors to think about: who is speaking up? Who is is not speaking up? Sin. Lying is a sin. Not speaking up, is a sin. But the biggest sin; is assuming.
Okay I’m not 100% positive on that, but like in Edgar Allen Poe’s tales of ratiocination, we just can’t make truth out of a particular frame of thought (*cough*assuming*cough*) that doesn’t consider all of the evidence. If we omit the orange hair because it doesn’t make sense, we’ll never see that it was the orangutan all along! We’ll end up putting an innocent man to the stocks.
And speaking of innocent…
Luke 9:49 John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.”
Luke 9:50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.”
No one is less than you just because they don’t be Christian like you, and don’t go to your church. And I realize that there is the possibility of a wrong church, but- we. don’t. know. This long passage starts out with the disciples’ hearts wide open to Jesus. A bunch of guys seeing who is the greatest among them. And Jesus, with all His patience gives us the answer: It’s not about you, it’s about me (Jesus). And here He tells them it’s about Jesus. Jesus was preparing for the cross, and while His closest students still couldn’t get his message, someone else did!
Did we miss that part in Sunday School? Spreading the Gospel, in the name of Jesus, while He was still alive. That guy understood it faster than the almighty chosen twelve, and was doing things. But one of the disciples just thought that it had to be their way, and not any other way.
Jesus slammed that notion down. And these two verses give us a clear and definitive description of how to handle others. They were casting out demons in His name.
Only through Jesus is anyone delivered. And as long as Jesus Christ is the one you’re behind, and the one you’re praising, then you’re for your other brothers and sisters doing the same thing. If you feel that Jesus wants you to help by protesting, or to help refugees, then go in blessings of Christ almighty. Jesus will cover you, protect you, guide you, lead you, help you.
And if you see someone doing that, let them be. At least they’re trying.
Luke 9:51 When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem;
Luke 9:52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to make arrangements for Him.
Luke 9:53 But they did not receive Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem.
Luke 9:54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”
Luke 9:55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of;
Luke 9:56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” And they went on to another village.
This gets me heated. This probably is the sole reason for this essay. Let’s just get to it.
“Lord, do we call fire and kill them for rejecting you!?”
We didn’t start dehumanizing human beings during World War 2 in order to make the evil Nazi’s easier to kill. We’ve been doing it since Adam and Eve fell.
James and John of the Jesus Circle didn’t hesitate to ask Him if they should vanquish the nonbeliever.
I’m sure it can be seen as intense passion and defense for Christ. It exists, dear Lord does it exist. People believing and hoping in one man, that they will die, or kill, for the sake of their love. Sound familiar? Reminder, this is October of 2020, and Donald Trump is our nation’s leader. This is to help give context for the time of this article.
James and John were people like that too. Rome? It was bad. The people of God needed a leader, they needed a hero. They need the proclaimed Messiah, that warrior that would uproot the mighty empire and establish God’s throne on Earth. And they, the chosen disciples would be right there, at His side, basking in greatness, in glory, victory, and a happy ending to their tale of persecution and woe.
And then Jesus Christ shows up.
The disciples are open to calling down holy power upon some people, not worthy enough to get their names written in the Bible. The wording for the NASB is particularly jovial, “consume them.” My, my, that’s quite gruesome, young Christians. Surely followers of Christ would never wish that upon people!
(taking a break to laugh and cry at the irony)
Jesus says, “You do not know what spirit you are of.”
What!?!? You mean my passionate love for Christ is the wrong… spirit?
This personally saddens me because I know friends who are so passionately against people living in sin, that their first answer to sin is to excommunicate, cast out of the church, or just leave the church.
That’s not a spirit of Christ.
eso no es un espíritu de Cristo
ce n’est pas un esprit du Christ
это не дух Христа
Das ist kein Geist Christi
We’re not here to hurt, shame, shout, point fingers, call fire, or excommunicate someone because they don’t think like us, because they have a scarlet letter on their chest, because they’re liberal/conservative in political views, or because they don’t want Christ in their home. All of that, is the wrong spirit.
Whoa, an absolute statement?
Yeah, it’s wrong.
The Son of Man came to save lives, not destroy them. Anything that isn’t of a heart to be like Christ, is wrong, and destroying. It’ll destroy that person, it’ll destroy your testimony. If Jesus isn’t in us, something else is; a frame of mind that is incapable of not seeing everything, condemning innocence and blind to Jesus.
Yeah, it’s complex. Walking in the Holy Spirit is a day by day process, and there’s gonna be failures and successes. Speaking and acting upon complicated topics isn’t about simple one word or one sentence feel good quotes anymore.
Yeah, it’s going to be complex. We can’t just sit and do nothing because the problems seem too hard, because if Christians don’t give Jesus’ love then something, or someone, else will get them that isn’t love.
Yeah, it was complex, but Jesus made it simple. He confounded those that thought themselves wise.
Those with the spirit of being great, are walking with a spirit that is not of Christ, or God. There’s the compulsion to say, “Let’s not make America great again, but make America About God again”, but something in me won’t stand behind that yet. I would love a country where God is sought and leads our decisions, but too many Christians, like the disciples, still don’t get it. We’re not here to destroy, we’re here to save. We’re here to lead the lost to Jesus. Let’s not forget where we came from, for all have sinned and fallen short. Let’s change our intentions.
Let’s stop assuming and find content in not knowing. After all, we who believe in a God that is all powerful, yet all loving, and do not see Him, but somehow hate those we can see?
Then, after all that, and we receive those who need help, and we’re all living equally, we can start making about God.
And we can do it!
We really can!!