It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now? -Rage Against the Machine
Let’s do this. -Mary (Luke 1:38)
Jewish girl. 13 or 14.
Luke - angel appears
She’s found favor with the Lord and she’s going to get pregnant and her child will be
“Son of the Most High” and he’ll have
“the throne of his father David” and his
“kingdom will never end.”
Basic questions - No sex
the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you
Mary takes it in.
I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me according to your word. - “Let’s do this”
Tribe - believed - chosen by “onetruegod”
show world onetruegod”
Unusual - many gods
Tons of god’s - “it was easier to find a god than a man in the city of Athens”
But mary’s tribe - onetruegod - above all - massive - different
Forbidden - make statues of god
new idea - wouldn’t you want lots? cover bases.
“Instead of people creating gods in their image, this God created people in his mage.”
Sounds Nice. problem: butts kicked again & again.
Egyptians, Babylonians, Seleucids, Assyrians
beating up, invading, taxing to death, hauling away to foreign nations. Making lives miserable.
Year after year, generation after generation
Mary tribe question: If our God is TheGod, the one above all the other Gods, and our land is our God’s land, and we’re God’s people, then how come we keep getting the crap kicked out of us?
History kept repeating - oppressive empire after another
In Mary’s day - Romans
Mocking their god, built military headquarterers few feet taller than god’s temple.
Romans - ruled by emperors - caesars - “sons of god sent from heaven to bring about a universal reign of peace and prosperity.”
Popular slogan: There is no other name under heaven by which people can be saved han that of Caesar
Demanded, everybody, everywhere: “Caesar is Lord.”
Marched around world - conquering everybody - demanding “Caesar is lord.” build an even bigger army.
Perfecting ‘execution stake’ - example if resist caesar.
This was how they made peace - submit or resist and be punished.
This was the world mary lived in.
Caesar on throne, powerful/oppressive in charge
Imagine : shame
Constantly: kicked around, humiliated
Imagine : frustration/doubt
Worshiping a god - lets - butts kicked all day.
When angel comes w/news about baby - rule a kingdom
Mary responds w/epic poem “the Magnificant”
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord (Luke 1:46)
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, (Luke 1:47)
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, (Luke 1:48)
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. (Luke 1:49)
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. (Luke 1:50)
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. (Luke 1:51)
He has brought down rulers from their thrones (he has? b/c romans are still there. and more powerful than ever.) but has lifted up the humble. (Luke 1:52)
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. (Luke 1:53)
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful (Luke 1:54)
to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” (Luke 1:55)
For orig audience - contrast - huge
Teenager - claiming baby outlast caesar?
Mary / Caesar teenage girl / ruler of the world.
Mary celebrating - Caesar is going down.
Revolution - rebellion - defiance - jesus hasn’t even been born yet.
Story about underdogs
Talking about different way than way of caesar.
Contrasting: Cesars kingdom / God’s kingdom
A new way of power
Doesn’t change world - military violence but sacrificial love
Who is lord - caesar or jesus?
Always been revolutionary. Defiant.
It’s why - Jesus story thrives:
Back alleys, recovery meetings, ghetto, the tiny remote village, among the down and out, at the edges.
And this is why the story of jesus loses it’s power when it goes mainstream.
When gets in bed w/ structures & systems of power
Grown up - big american church you know exactly what I mean.
Underground churches thrive in countries w/oppressive governments
but in ‘christian nations’ - bloated, dull, irrelevant
Mary: God is on the side of the poor, hungry, humble, needing mercy.
reminder - this worlds power - temporary.
it’s a story about the courage that people like mary had when they decided to stand up to and say ‘let’s do this.’
(Part of Pilots interrogation:)
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)
My kingdom - unlike anything you’ve ever seen. And proof: my followers don’t act like defenders of a normal kingdom.
Keep in mind - politically hot world. - politics in air.
jews - oppressed & tired of it.
Worshipped one true god & pegans ruling over them.
Amazing - people always tried to pull Jesus in. he never allows it. saying - not playing the games of world.
Mark 12 - Pharisees - should we pay our tax to caesar?
His kingdom - not of this world.
Not trying to tweak systems here
Starting something completely new.
He didn’t engage or even comment on political officials
Doing crazy things. and people wanted him to. but didn’t.
Not b/C he couldn’t, but b/C he didn’t want to.
Crucified by kingdom of the world - so he could establish kingdom of god.
Simon - Zealot / Matthew - Tax collector
Zealots - most liberal, wanted to violently overthrow government. hated most: tax collectors
tax collectors - conservative of the conservative - liked status quo - benefitted.
Jesus calls a man who hates tax collectors and then a tax collector. says follow me.
Never once comments on which side he thinks is better. closer to his kingdom.
His kingdom is completely different.
If in god’s kingdom - our differences dwarfed by what we have in common.
We all have lots of beliefs
Diff between simon & matthew - huge.
Matthew - rush limbaugh // simon - communist
Jesus calls both
If i vote for rush limbaugh // sold out socialist
Shouldn’t cause you to question my commitment to Jesus.
You can ask how i can reconcile. but not question my faith.
Kingdom of the World: Operates w/the sword.
Power Over. Power to enforce with threats. Power to inflict pain if you disobey.
Kingdom of God: Operates w/the cross.
Power under. Power of imitating Jesus not Cesar. Power to win peoples hearts through self sacrificial acts of love.
Power Over kingdom - lead by - satan
God uses kingdom world preserve law and order - romans 13, 2 peter 2.
But makes it clear - satan is lord of earthly kingdoms
Luke 4 - temptation - Satan: all kingdoms of this world have been given to him and he can give power to whoever he wants. Offers them to jesus. jesus doesn’t dispute, but refuses offer.
All earthly kingdom are under one kingdom ruled by Satan and will eventually by overthrown by the Kingdom of God.
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19)
Christians throughout years - healthy suspicion of kingdoms, groups of this world.
Kingdom of the world: leading you to protect yourself
your rights, your flesh, your money, your power
political parties, unions, representatives,
Kingdom of god: leading you to crucify yourself
Philippians 2 - Esteem the needs and the interests of others OVER our own. That characterizes the 'power under’ kingdom. How can I serve you? How can I affirm worth to you?
Kingdom of the World: Law
Power - Forcing correct behavior
Kingdom of God: Love
Agape love - influencing people
We are to imitate him when he dies on the cross to win our hearts.
He shows us how much he loves us and that has the power to change us from who we are to who he wants us to be.
We can win hearts by self sacrificial acts of love.
Kingdom of the world: interested in behavior / conformity
doesn’t care/can’t care about motives or inner state of being. it’s a law. you conform or receive pain.
Kingdom of god: interested in transformation
Changing inner heart of a person. How they see themselves. their desires. their longings. and only self sacrificial love can change that.
Kingdom of the World: always tribal
always national. built into our flesh. “What’s in it for me?” surrounds itself w/ “what’s in it for us?”
Us against them.
My way is the best way - my team - best team. my family, my church. we will kill for it.
Kingdom of God: always universal
Jesus christ died for every human being
Every human being - absolute worth, infinite worth.
Normal for kingdom of this world to consider death of one of ours more important than the death of one of theirs.
God: everyone has equal and infinite worth.
Our job: express that in word/deed
Kingdom of the World: demonize your enemies to rally power against them
Kingdom of god: not allowed to have enemies of flesh and blood.
the ones who ‘seem’ like enemies, commanded to love them. serve them. lay down our life for them.
Kingdom of the World: about conflict
Kingdom of god: about reconciliation
yes we struggle w/people, but not about ‘winning’ it’s about understanding and finding common ground.
Kingdom of the World: Crime / Disobedience
Kingdom of God: Sin
What separates us from god. what harms us & others.
Things can be sin but not a crime and things can be a crime but not a sin.
Jim crow laws - racial segregation in 50’s - crime but not sin. Righteous act.
Lust, greed, gluttony are sins but they’re not crimes.
Kingdom of World: Asks our opinion of how it should work. What should be a crime? Incredible, thank God for it.
1st question - answer with your vote, or political activism. What’s your opinion about how the sword should be wielded in the Kingdom of the world? What laws should be passed? What should be considered a crime? In your opinion, what is the best way to keep law and order? That’s what the kingdom of the world is about.
2nd question: We answer with our life. What are we called to do to further the Kingdom of God? That’s a different question. What’s keeping us from being all that God wants us to be? How do we best replicate calvary towards one another? and to the outside world?
Matthew & Simon - disagree on number 1 not number 2.
A person could think: homosexuality: We need to show people incredible love, and treat them no differently than we do a glutton, or gossip, or idolater. That’s answer to question 2. But then think that politically, it’s best for law and order to now allow them to be married. There’s no a contradiction there.
Another person could think: homosexuality is a sin. It’s missing the mark, it’s disrupting shalom, going against what God originally designed, but they think it’s best for law and order to allow gay people to be legally married. There’s no a contradiction there.
Matthew & Simon : answer political question different, but Kingdom of God question - same.
B/C our particular version of the Kingdom of this World in America is so great and asks our opinions we have to be careful not to think our opinions there are the same as the Kingdom of God.
Concerning : ‘Take America back for God’. B/C it can make people think that if we had more ‘Power Over’, that would somehow be better.
I believe that when you’re deeply connected to God’s kingdom, the kingdoms, politics, and battles here will be less important.
Jesus came to start a revolution. But not the revolution people were expecting. He didn’t come to overpower, he came with self sacrificial love. And we contribute to his revolution when we further HIS kingdom, not any kingdoms of this world. Don’t mistake being a conservative, a liberal, a republican, a democrat, an independent, a traditionalist, a progressive, don’t mistake any of those with being a part of God’s kingdom. They’re not the same thing. God’s kingdom is open and available to all. And when you confuse your belief about the kingdoms of this world and God’s kingdom, you put up walls that make it harder for other people to come in. And when we fight how the world fights, by overpowering, we weaken our message and only serve to shrink His kingdom. Our battle is not political. Our battle is not external. Our battle is not about passing laws, or birth control, or prayer in schools, or having the right to say God bless you when people sneeze. Our battle is for the hearts of people. Forcing conformity of action only pushes peoples hearts farther from us and farther from God. Instead let your revolution be an all consuming devotion to God’s kingdom. Serving others, blessing your enemies, unconditional love and acceptance of everyone, not motivated by external behavior but inner transformation. Be strong brothers and sisters, because many in the church will feel that you’re compromising. They’ll feel like you’re lukewarm. The reason they’ll feel this is because they fight how the world fights, by overpowering, and punishment, and intimidation. But hold fast, because inasmuch as you’re able to live your life with self sacrificial love, you’re furthering his kingdom. You’re making his kingdom bigger. You’re helping people find Him. You’re being His mouth which is always saying to everyone ‘I’ve always loved you, your sin is not an issue with me, so come my love, I have a place for you.’