And if we aren't, then why not?
As a follower of Jesus—and I use that word "follower" intentionally . . . not just someone whose thrown out some profession of faith, but someone who is truly following Jesus, and allowing Jesus to lead—are we a people totally foreign to, and upside down from, the world? And if not, then why not? He was.
My last post talked about the messiness of ministry. How those comfortable with the world will be uncomfortable with ministry (either their doing it, or with us if we are doing it). This morning, as I am reading through Matthew, a few more things popped out. In Matthew 10:24–25 Jesus tells (warns!) His followers, "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household." He then goes on to tell them He didn't come to bring peace, but basically to even turn members of a household against one another.
Jesus came into this comfortable world and totally rocked it, ripped it up, and turned it upside down. He talked about turning families against each other, but then talked about the new family of believers and how their love for one another would be so strong it would be sacrificial, and a defining mark of our identity as ones who love Him. He tore apart the physical "laws" of our world—multiplying fish and bread, calming stormy seas. He tore down the biological barriers we believed "solid"—raising the dead, and reversing irreversible diseases. He shattered the hold of darkness over the world, casting out demons who had held men in bondage and agony, and causing them to beg Him for mercy. He tossed about the values and "wisdom" of the world—telling us it is better to give then receive, to love our enemies, that the blessed are the servants and least, that the last would be first, and to not store up treasures on earth but to store them up in Heaven. He offended the "righteous" and gave hope to the "scum"—calling religious leaders broods of vipers and whitewashed tombs, and telling a thief on a cross they'd be together in paradise that night.
When Jesus came He blew into pieces all expectations about Himself—leaving an earthly kingdom in captivity and a few decades away from destruction, but declaring a Kingdom of God that was eternal. He declared Himself a King, but said nothing in His defense and submitted Himself to whips and spit and jeers and a crown of thorns and death. He made an instrument of execution for criminals a sign of adoration for God. He was born from a no account town, laid as a babe in a feed trough for animals, and welcomed by shepherds.
We could go on and on with examples, but it is safe to say that Jesus came into this world and blew apart everything about it that was normal, safe, and considered "solid." He turned it upside down . . . and He now lives in believers, desiring to live through believers. He has given us His name, He has given us His presence, He has given us His authority and His power. He turned this world upside down and that leaves me with a haunting question: Am I upside down from this world?
It is a legitimate question. If He is in me, living His life through me, then why am I so much like this world when I should be completely upside down from it? Why am I so comfortable with this world, and maybe even a better question, why is it so comfortable with me? There was nothing comfortable that the world had with Jesus. He made it very uncomfortable. He made it squirm. Those comfortable found themselves wanting to get rid of Him. And those least and broken and lost and rejected found in Him love and acceptance and hope.
Am I upside down? And if not, why not?