Thursday, March 17, 2011

Got Revolution?

If you were given news that could, and probably would, shatter the world and yet set it into an era of new understandings and revelations, would you share it? What if, upon hearing your news, the masses rose up against you while only a select few believed you & your message? Would you spread this news, and how fervently would you do so?

Let's put this into perspective. There is such news circulating the globe, reaching far-off, previously unknown people; yet, for the most part, those that already know this world-changing news are apathetic. Interestingly, those that are busy hearing it for the first time are seeing a revolution of thought. Previously "savage" native tribes have become curiously non-violent and the few calm people groups have gone up in arms for their fervor for or against this news. Would it surprise you if I told you that that same news had a similar effect on the people first hearing it some 2000 years ago?

12 men, along with other fellow news-bearers, first announced this news 50 days after the sabbath day of the Jewish Passover celebration. Surprising though it may seem, these men were not, for the most part, highly educated men. Their leader was a simple fisherman. The result, however was striking. 3000 men joined the cause in what was only the beginning of a revolution of thought and belief.

Even more striking is the uproar against this new motion. Local leadership bashed their brains out trying to cease this idea and, once it had spread, the whole Roman empire tried to have it outlawed. Somehow, despite these persecutions, this news gained more followers and was spread even further, reaching as far as Ethiopia, India and Russia.

Would it surprise you to learn that one such persecutor, a Saul of Tarsus, displayed a full revolution - ceased his persecution and, in turn, spread the news - and even went so far to show this as to change his name? You might recognize the name of Paul? He was only one of the most prominent bearers of this news and helped establish and instruct many gathering centers for the news-bearers. We even have translated copies of some such letters today.

What is it about this news, however, that makes such a change? A fisherman becomes an influential orator, opposition rages in futility and even the most hardened of persecutors becomes the most radical missionaries of this news. On the surface it seemed nothing new: do's and do not's, evil and punishment, good and rewards, the nature of man and the inability of man to be righteous, the aversion of God to evil and His restitutionary actions...

wait, what? A message that taught the inability of man to be considered righteous, that man was and is inherently evil really caused all this change? Yes,  but there's more.  In this message is a God who created all yet that which He created chose, of the free will He gave, not to honor and worship God, but himself, creating  a rift which would separate God and his creation, man, indefinitely. Enter Jewish culture and tradition. A blood sacrifice of a pure, blemish-fee animal atoned for the rift of a man until he created such a rift again in his own life, which was inevitable, given the nature of man since the initial one. This was but a temporary solution which was later addressed by this God sending a final atonement sacrifice of His own son to permanently seal this rift for all men, for all time. Unfortunately, this bridge is only open to those that accept the key, the sacrifice which was made. This last detail, in addition to the whole of it, is the reason there was such an urgency to get this news out.

If you haven't guessed by now what this news is, then, I'm afraid, you probably would be wise not to submit that application to Scotland Yard. This news is something many people have heard and are sadly taking for granted. This news is the Gospel (lit. "good news"). This news has changed lives and peoples past and present, yet somehow the idea of permanent salvation is reaching a state of being blase. Is it the news itself, the presentation of the news or merely the people hearing the news? It's definitely not the first - this message is still changing lives and challenging cultures - so it must be the last, if not the last two.

Are churches today becoming apathetic to this revolutionary news? Maybe. Is this message being  misportrayed? Increasingly so. Could the latter be influencing the former? To a large degree, yes. The news is not some average, run-of-the-mill idea. It has, and still does, cause revolution and persecution. Somehow Western nations have lost this sense of urgency, this sense of revolution. have we become so comfortable that we feel this could be put off or has it become so overheard that it is droned out? Either way, the time is ripe in the Christian nations of the Western world to realize the revolutionary nature of their faith, to raise the banner and answer the call given to spread the word.  There is a war going on. a war for the souls of the lost, a war for captives and hostages and we