Blueprint for Revolution
Blueprint for Revolution
Words of Faith 4-30-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.
The teaching of Jesus reported by Luke was radical. It described the Kingdom of God in almost gritty practical terms that were nothing short of revolutionary. Jesus dealt with the divisions of the rich and poor 6:17-26, the divisions of politics (6:27-36), and the divisions of religion (6:37-42). But the revolution Jesus suggested was like none other before.
As Jesus spoke there was suddenly a sense that He was finally sharing His heart. He had healed, preached, cast out demons and confronted religious ritual, but that was NOT what His ministry was about. It was about something Jesus called the Kingdom of God and talk of Kingdoms was always revolutionary.
Jesus spoke these words into a volatile political environment. The times were ripe and expectations were high. There were many who were sure that Jesus was the Messiah, but to them "Messiah" meant someone who would lead a revolution. Apart from that context much of what Jesus says is hard to understand.
Jesus clearly was a revolutionary of some type. He was bold, confident and God empowered. He was not afraid to confront anything evil, wrong or out of place. Among those Jesus chose to be leaders were two Zealots, active revolutionaries. One may have even been part of a group of assassins. Several may have carried swords or had them nearby.
We must understand the words of Jesus against the backdrop of a brutal occupation. Farmers were hammering their plows into swords. Fishermen were fashioning their hooks into tools of war. There were also the quiet invisible warriors called the Sicarii-- literally "dagger men". This was the group that Judas may have been affiliated with and hence the name "Iscariot" (Sicariot). They were the most radical politically. Today they would be called either freedom fighters or terrorists depending on one's political perspective.
While the Zealots planned to build up arms and return the former military glory of Israel against Rome, the Sicarii blended into crowds with razor sharp daggers. A Roman soldier would feel and bump, snarl a response, and then begin to cough up blood as the "dagger man" melted into the crowd.
There was bitter hatred toward the Romans and those who collaborated with the Romans. Pilate had slaughtered several thousand orthodox men just because they had appealed to him to remove the graven images he had put around the holy city of Jerusalem. Under the occupation, a Roman soldier could take anything that he wanted.
A soldier could conscript a man into service with the tap of a spear. If you resisted you would be lucky if the soldier only struck you across the face with the butt of a spear. If a soldier had need of your coat, he could take it. If your house was needed for a time, he could take it. Anything. It was a bitter time and revolution was in the air.
Jesus had been speaking the economic language of revolution. "You poor folks are blessed because God is going to bless you! You rich who have been unjust, you have gotten all you are going to get. Things are changing!" The next words would be very important. Everyone was hanging on the words of Jesus as they awaited the plans for revolution. What is the plan? When will the revolution start?
This was the part where the people typically started to chant, soldiers would arrive to break up the crowd and some people would not walk away! This was the part of the story where the procurator (governor) would typically send in reinforcements to put down the uprising and men hiding in the hills would push rocks down onto the Roman soldiers. This was the part where the Romans would slaughter some women and children to try and put the whole thing to rest. That is how this sort of speech usually went in this part of the country! Things were volatile and heating up every minute.
So what was the plan? Finally, here was the blueprint for revolution.
"First Love your enemies," Jesus said.
Yeah, yeah. This is going to be good... like a trick.
"Do good to those who hate you," He went on.
Alright we have got this. Be a do-gooder for a while. When is the surprise attack?
"Bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you."
Okay, then the sneak attack?
"Now... If someone strikes you on one cheek..."
Yes! That is the time for action!
"...Turn to him the other also."
"If someone takes your cloak..."
Okay, that's when the sword comes out of hiding in the cloak! Perfect!
"Do not stop him from taking your tunic."
"Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you."
That's It? This is the revolution?
Yes. This is the revolution. What kind of revolution is this? It is based in eternity rather than time. It is a revolution from an ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE rather than a TEMPORARY PERSPECTIVE. It is based on something more powerful than swords and hooks. It is a Kingdom Revolution that actually views the Roman soldier you want to assassinate as important in the sight of God.
In this revolution, the short term political victories won at the expense of people who are eternal, are not victories at all. It is a Kingdom Revolution not based upon human power but on the love of God to change people one by one, relationship by relationship.
Thankfully, we don't live in such oppressive times but the words of Jesus are revolutionary nonetheless. The Blueprint for Kingdom revolution still guides and challenges us to think in the eternal rather than the temporary perspective. The solutions in life are not always about getting back and getting our share. The revolutions in life are more about focusing on reaching people with the joy of the Kingdom.
Father, help me to know how to respond today. Reveal Yourself and Your Kingdom in me and through me. Help me to see people as someone you died for and not as an enemy. Change this world through Your love through Your people. In Jesus' name.