When Jesus Invades
In 2015, the director Michael Moore created a funny travelogue type movie called ‘Where To Invade Next’. It was made, “To show what the USA can learn from rest of the world, director Michael Moore playfully visits various nations in Europe and Africa as a one-man “invader” to take their ideas and practices for America.” (IMDB website)
But here’s the thing – when Jesus turns up in a situation, he’s the one-man “invader” who brings his ideas and practices and changes things the right way round. He’s the one who helps us learn!
Jesus doesn’t invade in a bad way – but what he does is bring truth instead of darkness; help instead of helplessness; hope where there is hopelessness; healing where there is pain and life where there is death.
‘When You Walk Into The Room’ – Bryan and Katie Torwalt
The song ‘When You Walk Into The Room’ describes some of the changes that happen when Jesus enters in to a situation (sometimes we just have to invite him by asking him!)
When You walk into the room
Darkness starts to tremble
At the light that You bring
And when You walk into the room
Every heart starts burning
And nothing matters more
Than just to sit here at Your feet
And worship You
Jesus Changes Things
Throughout the Bible we see that when Jesus arrives, things are shaken, confronted, healed, helped and made right.
But we also are left with our own challenge of ‘Where To Invade Next’… where is God calling us to bring the life of Jesus so that he can change things right way round through us!
Here are just three (of the very many!) ways Jesus changed perspectives and put things the right way round!
1. Confronting wrong and injustice
“On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers’ “Mark 11.15-17
Where Jesus saw wrong things happening, he had a God type of anger rise up and he wasn’t afraid to take action and make a stand. Where he saw people selling and money changing he acted to stop what was happening and stood up to prevent people doing more wrong. He challenged what was happening in the ‘temple of God’. His accusation against people was that they were acting like ‘robbers’.
The thing for us to learn is that sometimes wrong doing has to be confronted. And we should also check our own lives so we only do what God calls us to do and what is right and truthful. We need to be brave and stand up against evil and against any abuse. We should always ask God how and when to stand up – if we get his strategy it works much better than if we just go steaming in and God often does things differently each time!
Jesus challenged the religious leaders on other occasions . God hates injustice but he doesn’t resolve injustice by more injustice. Nor is God’s justice the same as ‘man’s justice’. But God brings his good justice which is always right, always pure and is always best.
2. Challenging Racial Stereotypes
We live in a world where people are often labelled as just one thing or another thing. Instead of creating diversity, this can often create division and can devalue people. But God loves and created true diversity so Jesus wasn’t afraid to break the social rules and show that his message can be for all people – all nations, all races, all tribes and all backgrounds.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.”John 4.7-8
The Samaritans were hated by many true Jews at the time of Jesus. They didn’t associate or want anything to do with Samaritans. But Jesus went in and smashed the barrier that mankind had imposed. Jesus saw a woman loved by God, not a Samaritan woman.
I heard an interview with a black guy from Chicago who said that when he became a Christian, he didn’t see ‘black’ and ‘white’ any more, but just saw other Christians as brothers and sisters.
This is the message of Jesus and he did what he believed. He didn’t just say he was for all people just to show how ‘woke’ or ‘righteous’ he was, he really meant it from the core of his being and it naturally flowed out of him. He talked to the woman to gently challenge some of her wrong behaviour but he never once pointed his finger accusingly at her because she was a Samaritan or that she was a ‘sinner’ or because she was a woman. Do we have that same kind of attitude and love? Do your actions ‘speak as loud as your words’ (do you act on what you believe or just talk the talk?)
3. Empowering Women
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.John 8.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
One thing we have already seen is that when Jesus speaks, it’s not like he just does one thing at a time. When he speaks, his words touch the hearts of people in different ways and on different levels. So the words and actions of Jesus in this account show:
- Jesus showed tough love by challenging the hatred of women by some religious leaders (where was the man who would have also been guilty of adultery?!)
- Jesus confronted the wrong doing of the woman gently while loving her)
- Showing he was for and acted on behalf of women and the vulnerable.
Jesus treated the woman as she deserved to be treated. He wasn’t harsh, cruel or unpleasant. He didn’t treat her like a second-class citizen. Instead he called her up to a new level by showing her what was wrong and helping her rise up to be who she was made to be. This is our calling too!
When we pray, it’s not just about us talking to God. It’s like a friendship. God loves and wants to speak back to us. He may do that through a Bible verse or story, with an idea or with an opportunity that opens up. So when we pray, let’s take time to ask God to speak to us.
Jesus, I ask that you would show us and help us to be more like you. Help us to do what you do, say what you say, think what you think and live like you lived. Thank you that you are hope, life, truth and you want to direct us and show us how to live our lives. If there is anything special or specific you want to say to us, would you speak to us now or another time, in the way you know we need. Thank you that whatever you ask us to do will always be consistent with the Bible and will always be for good. Amen.