Dear friends, I trust that the Lord had been keeping and prospering you. Growing up, we all probably watched movies like “Rebel without a cause” starring Jimmy Dean or “The Thomas Crown Affair” with Steve McQueen. Those were tumultuous times where young folk tried to find their place in society and rebelled against status quo to be more inclusive. Is the situation any different today? Please understand that I’m not inciting rebellion (Luke 22:52-53) nor am I advocating passivity. I firmly believe in obeying the law (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-25) and comply with the law in two countries. But when the law of the land contradicts God’s law, we as Christians have a responsibility to stand up for Jesus and say no to this world. Unlike the confused characters in those movies who lacked focus and rebelled against status quo, we have a specific mandate from the Lord (Matthew 28:18-20) and minister to and correct a world going to hell. We are therefore rebels with a cause.
Please turn with me to two passages of scripture, John 18:19-24, John 19:8-11. These are the passages of scripture that record the pre-crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. In John 18:19-24 we read the narrative about the encounter between the Lord and the Jewish high Priest Caiaphas. The Lord was calm, composed and deliberate. He promptly declared Himself to be the Son of God (Luke 22:70), didn’t retaliate when struck in the face, didn’t flinch or beg for mercy. He was beyond the fear of betrayal and death (Luke 22:48, John 18:11). His cause ((John 3:15-16, John 11:25) empowered Him and He was in no mood to compromise even if it meant opposing the incumbent High Priest. Are we that bold and uncompromising? Are we driven by the same passion and commitment? Can we stand up to authorities who ban God, Jesus, the Bible, prayer and fellowship in overt or covert ways? Will we be just as fearless, resolute and inflexible when it comes to upholding our Father’s holiness (Matthew 21:12-13) or do we cave in to fear and become self-seeking?
The second passage of scripture John 19:8-11 narrates the Lord’s encounter with Pontius Pilate. This is one of the most heartbreaking narratives in the Bible to me. Pilate was warned by his wife to not harm the innocent man (Matthew 27:19) and made all efforts to free Him. Yet he finally gave into the Jews and crucified Jesus (John 19:16) thereby damning himself. Are we merely good people who sympathize with Jesus to a point and then yield to the world when it’s no longer untenable? The Lord’s words to Pontius Pilate (John 19:11) must have shell-shocked the latter. No man had ever claimed to have higher authority than the law of the land! Do we have that courage, that moral authority and faith to stand up to the law of the land when it challenges God’s Authority? Do we have the confidence and sternness emanating from our faith in the Lord when countering the world and its power (Luke 12:11-12)? Can we correct and rebuke unholiness and ungodliness even when the law of the land allowed it (Matthew 5:21-48)?
Being a rebel is exciting and challenging. Sticking out like sore thumbs is never fun and can be painful. It’s much easier to go with the flow than swim against the current. But we’re not aimless and clueless (1 Corinthians 9:26), we’re rebels for God and against the world and armed with His cause. Can we live up to that reputation? I pray that we do.
Dear friends, I’m quite certain that all of you are sanctified, Holy Ghost baptized saints. Should there be any among you that don’t know the Lord yet, I pray that the Lord of the Universe will set you free from sin and disobedience into His glorious light and freedom. Amen.