The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. John 7:32
Christianity is not passive. We are to pray, say and do.Joyce Meyer
The other day my husband and I watched an episode of Phil and Jase Robertson’s Unashamed podcast. We had selected this particular episode because it featured the guest, Dallas Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins, as some of you may know, has fast become a “name” in the Christian community as the director, creator and writer of the series, “The Chosen.” This uniquely told story of Jesus’ three impactful years on Earth is one not to be missed. Jase Robertson asked him about the daunting task of showing both the human Jesus and Jesus the Deity. On the human side, one episode shows Jesus tending to a cut on his wrist while also trying to start a fire using the “hand drill” method – painful to be sure.
“The criticism we get comes from Christians. People come to the show from all types of Christianity including Mormons, Catholics, protestants. And they watch the show and expect it to fit their view of Jesus. They are like the modern day Pharisees,” said Dallas Jenkins. He was then asked what negative feedback he gets from non-Christians. His reply? “None.”
And this got me thinking. In all of Jesus’ moments of conflict there rarely was a non-religious person at the forefront. His battlefield, His warrior-moments, came most frequently against the religious leaders. Those people who decided they knew what God had in mind for a Messiah. And Jesus wasn’t “it.”
When placed faced to face with His opponent Jesus came prepared. He came armed with the belt of truth and sword of the spirit. He had to be prepared because the ultimate prize was not a piece of land. The prize was not a place on an earthly throne. No. The ultimate prize was the heart, mind and soul of the average person.
“Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Matthew 22:29
And that statement, my friends, can only be seen as “shots fired.”
The Bible says, “fear not” or “be not afraid” 103 times in the King James Bible. Jesus, himself, speaks some version of these words about 30 times. And yet so many of us fear taking the step toward being a warrior like Him and for Him.
We say we aren’t ready. That might be true. So, ask God to help you get ready.
We say we won’t know what to say. That’s probably true. So, prepare and ask God to give you the words.
We say our church just doesn’t encourage that way of thinking. Maybe so. But Jesus didn’t come to start a denomination.
We say we might lose something in the battle. You might. But God always provides.
We say we will be seen as crazy, bigoted, unloving. The devil does love to deceive. So, we ask God to give us a loving heart and clear mind and we place our trust squarely on Him.
What does a warrior for God look like these days? We joke about the person on the corner with the “End is Near” sign. But while on vacation in Kauai a few weeks ago I saw a man – he looked pretty normal actually, about in his 60s nicely dressed – standing in the same spot on a busy road a few days in a row holding up a sign for all to see: “Jesus is Near.” Imagine what sort of feedback he must’ve received. We honked each time and gave him a thumbs up. He waved with a big smile. And I thought, “that man was led to stand out on that street day after day waving at people holding that sign. That’s a warrior for God.”
You know who else are warriors like Jesus? Moms and dads who go against the “norm” and tell their kids they must follow in Jesus’ steps. Employees who aren’t afraid to talk about their faith while at work. Friends who aren’t worried about losing friendships because they won’t “go along to get along.” People who are aren’t afraid of being “cancelled” because they stood up for Christian morals and values.
Jesus didn’t come to smooth things over with religious leaders. He didn’t come to make a lot of friends. He didn’t desire to win a popularity contest. He came to save souls. He knows the end of this world’s story. And so do we.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:42-44
Are you keeping watch over your house? Are you dressed in your God-given battle gear, standing ready to step onto the field? As Christians we are tasked with increasing God’s glory on this earth. We are challenged to keep the thief out of our midst. It is the heart and mind of a warrior, like Jesus, that will accomplish both.