Friday, May 31, 2013

The world turned upside down

Things don’t always turn out as expected. Who could have thought that Wigan Athletic would win the FA Cup Final 1-0 against Manchester City, only then to be relegated from the Premiership? Who could have predicted that Ukip, a party dismissed as ‘clowns’ and ‘closet racists’ would have done so well at the recent Council elections? Strange stuff happens. But perhaps the strangest thing of all is how a small band of followers of a travelling preacher from Nazareth came to have such a powerful impact on the world. It’s not as if they had a message that the masses were longing to hear. What they said concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus provoked widespread ridicule, hostility and vicious persecution. Yet nothing could stop them proclaiming that the crucified Jesus was the world’s true Lord and King.
 
When the apostle Paul and his friends visited Thessalonica they didn’t exactly get a warm reception. People complained, ‘These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.’ This provoked a mini-riot and Paul was run out of town. But his opponents were on to something. The Christian message overturns some of our most deeply held assumptions. If people believe in God at all, they perhaps think of him as a powerful, yet remote Being. But according to the Christian faith, the all-powerful God embraced human weakness, becoming one of us in his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to die for our sins on the Cross that we might be forgiven. Who could have thought that God would do that?
 
Jesus scandalised the people of his day by not calling the righteous, but sinners to follow him. He pronounced blessing not on the high and mighty, but on the poor in spirit and promised that the meek will inherit the earth. No wonder people complained that Christian preachers were turning the world upside down. That’s exactly what happens when someone believes in Jesus and follows him. Everything is turned on its head. Are you ready to have your world turned upside down? 

* For News & Views, West Lavington Parish Magazine

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