“Zealots stood at the edge of Jesus’ audience, armed and well-organized guerrillas spoiling for a fight against Rome, but to their consternation the signal for revolt never came.” Phillip Yancy, The Jesus I Never Knew.
“The Kingdom of God is like a farmer sowing seeds…The Kingdom of God is now…The Kingdom of God is within you.” Jesus
Yesterday, I went to the 50th anniversary celebration of Jake and Carla Kupp. There was a slide show depicting their extraordinary life: Jake as an undersized linesman who went on to play football at the U. of Washington and 13 seasons in the NFL and Carla as “Curly”, taking care of her family of men, dispensing love, prayer and grace wherever she goes. What strikes me about this couple is their vulnerability. They do NOT come off as having arrived, but sharing their lives in humility and grace. This is exactly like Jesus, a God who came in weakness. The Jewish nation expected a conquering hero, but instead found the God-Man who rode into his capital on a donkey. Jesus constantly taught that the Kingdom of God would come with resistible power, and would be humble, unobtrusive and coexists with evil. (Yancy) We so easily desire the world’s Kingdom that draws lines and pronounces judgment. Jesus carefully avoided these polarizing political movements. Instead he talked about sheep among wolves, a seed planted in the ground, the yeast in the dough, and the light in the darkness. He pointed to a Kingdom that uses not coercive power, but uses a “secret force” that works from within. The incarnation is all about coming in weakness and influencing and changing the culture we are in. We are in a cultural war now in the United States. Our job (Jesus taught) is not to build a political movement but to build the Kingdom in an increasingly hostile world. We do this by existing within the world. We are the wheat among the weeds, the light in the darkness, the salt flavoring the meat. Manley Becky Pippert wrote years ago that the salt doesn’t do any good in the salt shaker. It must be in the proximity of the food that it is to influence. Billy Graham wrote that he was always amazed at how few non-believers that the Christians at his crusade knew. Dr. Graham’s studies showed that each year after we latch onto the Kingdom’s grace, we know less “not yet believers” than the year before, until 5 years after the start of our walk with the King, we know almost no one outside our church. And we become salt in the salt shaker with no way to change the culture, because we are not IN the culture. We do this through the power of one in us who said, “greater is He who is within you than he who is in the world.”