Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men. For behold, they lie in wait for my life; fierce men stir up strife against me. For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord, for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. Psalm 59:1-4
Christianity is a dangerous enterprise. Jesus has always been a threat to someone’s power or ideology.
There’s a new movie out in the theatres called The Young Messiah. I’ve attended it twice and have been equally moved both times. While fictional, the movie portrays what the 12th year of Jesus life might have looked like. The story starts in Alexandria, Egypt. Jesus and His family had lived there since Joseph was told to take Mary and Jesus away from Judea. You remember that every male child was massacred and Jesus was the only one to survive Herod’s rampage.
The movie shows the possibility that Jesus spent much of his life in danger, even though young. Joseph and Mary lived with the stress of keeping their son alive. His touch on people was profound even though He was a child. The searing truths He spoke about God exposed evil and those who had an issue with God took issue with Him. The storyline proposes that Jesus raised a dead bird to life and even healed the sick. His compassion for people urged Him to ask His Father in heaven for healing. And it came! News of His spiritual power was hard to keep quiet and threats to annihilate Him were everywhere. Joseph and Mary begged onlookers to keep news of Jesus quiet.
On the one hand, it’s hard to understand why someone who just wants to love God provokes such anger. Worship is a quiet thing and a private endeavor, right? I used to think so. But to love God means to accept the great commission of His Son, Jesus. To convert and to make disciples is to challenge the god of this world, the very one who comes disguised as the respected leader of all man-made religions. To share Jesus is to threaten every other world view, even if done with love and compassion.
I understand, Lord. I’m not called to live as someone who loves You. I’m called to let You live through me. It’s Your life they see. You were hated once and will be hated again and again as Your glory shines through Your servants. Advance Your kingdom in the midst of hatred. In Jesus’ name, Amen