Last Sunday we studied John 12 and saw Jesus presented as a “different kind of King.” The Jesus-style of King is not one where power is used to bully people. Now it’s very easy to say, “Oh yeah, I know Jesus is different” and yet never allow the Jesus-style to permeate our thinking and determine our actions.
Why? Because we love to throw our power around. That’s true of very powerful people. That’s true of people who have very little power. Whatever power we have –lots or little – we are quick to throw it around. We will use whatever power we have to affect changes we want, to influence decisions we want, or to let people know what we think.
- I’ll show them what I think of that!
- He doesn’t know who he’s messing with!
- Do they think I’m just going to take this?
- They’ll never mess with me again!
- We’ll see how they like this!
We bully. We pressure. We protest. We push. We use whatever power or leverage we have to make our point and get our way. We do it in our homes. We do it at work. We do in church settings. We have done it so much that it is just a part of who we are and how we live. And we have done it so much we are good at it. And all the while we push, we claim to follow Jesus. We say Jesus is our King. We confess Jesus as Lord. We wear the name Christian. We gather at the church of Christ.
Maybe it’s time for us (I know it’s time for me) to get real about what kind of King we are following, and ask if it is really the Jesus-style King.
- Is submission a foreign concept to our lives?
- Are we willing to be wronged?
- Can we accept an insult without retaliating?
- Will we try to get even when we are slighted?
Do we keep our “power” in check when we could use it to influence?
Or maybe I should put it another way. Do our lifestyles match a Jesus who gave himself up, even when it meant going to the cross? Because you see, if I followed a different King, a different Lord — then all my griping, murmuring, complaining, retaliating, protecting, bucking, and bullying might be justified. But not with the Jesus of the Bible. Not so with the Jesus of Christianity. Not ever with the Jesus who we say is the head of the church. This self-focused, consumed-with-self, me-first lifestyle does not match a Jesus-style King who went to the cross. Jesus gave up Himself. Yes, Jesus is a different kind of King. And our lives should be more “full of Jesus” and less “full of ourselves.”
May God have mercy on us. And may God help us get over ourselves.