Sunday, April 07, 2013



Jesus was a revolutionary in the sense that He introduced new ideas, new thoughts and ways of doing things, and upset the establishment. He was a spiritual revolutionary. Take a thesaurus or dictionary and unpack what it means to be a revolutionary. A revolutionary is radical in that he takes you to the roots-the bottom-line-back to the foundational core of ideas and thinking. A revolutionary is groundbreaking-an activist-sometimes world shattering. A revolutionary is innovative, progressive, sometimes rebellious, new and different.
Jesus was all of these and more! This is precisely why he was a threat to the establishment. The establishment has everything figured out, packaged neatly, and is comfortable with its thinking and its traditions. Anything new and different can be a threat.

Just the thought of a revolutionary is unnerving to some people. Years ago my friend, Keith, and I were flying to DC to attend some meetings. We had been discussing several new ideas about Jesus and the Jesus movement and we were becoming more and more enthused as we progressed in our thinking. One of us said. "This is revolutionary! What we are talking about is a revolution!" A lady seated in our row on the plane, who hadn't spoken a word throughout the flight, turned to us and compassionately pleaded with us, "Oh, don't use that word. No, don't use the word revolution. It's filled with too many explosives." She was extremely uncomfortable with us even using the term "revolution" and to speak of Jesus and revolution in the same sentence was anathema to her.

In the 5th chapter of Luke Jesus did and said several things that immediately moves him in the category of a revolutionary. Let's briefly check out five of them here. FIRST-While Jesus was teaching on the shore of Sea of Galilee, the crowds were growing so much so that he actually climbed in a fishing boat to continue his teaching from that vantage point. Now that wasn't revolutionary. It was just a smart thing to do. When his teaching was over, he observed the fishermen washing their nets after fishing all night without a catch. Jesus urged them to take the boat out into the deep and cast their nets. They complained that they knew their business and there were no fish out there all night long. He persisted; these seasoned fishermen cast their nets and caught more than a boatload of fish, needing help from the others to haul them in. This new rabbi who had recently come on the scene proved that he was better at their profession than they were. What a shocker!

SECOND-While he had their full attention, Jesus told them that catching fish was nothing compared to what he could see for them-to become fishers of men. Jesus reached out to a group of young boys who were uneducated and untrained in religious matters-a family of fishermen-and they left everything in order to follow Jesus. This was unheard of! No rabbi would choose a group of men such as these common workers with the idea of making a spiritual difference in the world. Jesus was picking his revolutionary team from a group of teenagers-from the junior varsity-to change the world.

THIRD-In a nearby city in the Galilee area a leper, seeking healing from Jesus, approached Jesus. Jesus didn't walk away as was the custom and required by the law; Jesus touched the leper with a healing touch. The leper was miraculously healed and therefore now a clean man. Now that was revolutionary!

FOURTH-A paralytic was brought to Jesus so that he might heal him. His friends went to so much trouble to get their crippled friend in front of Jesus by lowering him through the roof of the house. It was obvious what the need was and why the paralytic was brought to Jesus. He needed physical healing. Instead of healing his paralysis-his physical problem, Jesus drilled down into his soul and forgave him of his sins-his spiritual problem. Talk about an act of revolution! Jesus, knowing the new and different approach he had taken said, "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins have been forgiven you,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,"-He said to the paralytic-"I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home." Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. 26 They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen remarkable things today." They had seen a revolutionary at work!

FIFTH-Jesus, the new rabbi in town, approached the hated tax collector, Matthew, and made an offer to him. Jesus said, "Follow Me." The very words spoke complete acceptance of Matthew as being approved-good enough-to follow the new rabbi-the goal of most young Jewish students. Matthew had never been viewed by any rabbi as acceptable and good enough to follow in the rabbi's steps, until now. Matthew was so thrilled that he threw a party with all of his "sinner", non-religious, friends.

These were all revolutionary actions by Jesus. yet now Jesus introduces a vivid image of how he viewed his revolutionary teachings. When Jesus is questioned about his unorthodox actions and non-traditional practices, he uses a fascinating image to explain himself and his thinking that motivates how he lives. The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples. Jesus says, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." And He was also telling them a parable: "No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins."

Jesus, the revolutionary, envisions his teachings and movement of followers as "new wine" and all other traditional establishment forms as "old wineskins". He warns that the new wine-his new way of thinking and even his new followers will, by their very nature, be unable to contain the new wine. In other words, Jesus' 'new wine' movement is so new and different-so revolutionary-that the traditional, man-made structures cannot contain the movement. In the next few days, I want to outline the four primary talking points of the Jesus revolution that is going on right now close to where you live. You see, the revolution of Jesus, the revolutionary, is still on today! Your job, should you accept it, is to see it and join it!