What would happen if someone began to publicly speak and act according to genuine reality; Kingdom of God reality? I think that person would completely mess with cultural expectations.
Jesus did exactly that.
Jesus did not directly confront religious or political ideologies, but it was clear that he did not fit within the elaborate and well established law-based framework of Pharisees. He confounded expectations by doing things like hanging out with “sinners,” healing on the Sabbath, and neglecting to participate in the habitual fasts of religious leaders of the day.
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” the Pharisees asked. (Mark 2:16)
“Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” (Mark 2:18)
“Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” (Mark 2:23)
Jesus behavior simply did not make sense from within the interpretive reality of the Pharisees. There was a wide reality gap between them.
Jesus answered all of the above questions graciously, wisely, and with authority. His behavior was consistently compassionate, loving, and kind toward all people. Even his interactions with the Pharisees, confrontational as they were, were to open their eyes to the truth. He further demonstrated his power with miracles of healing and deliverance.
He made no attempt to take over or grab power. Yet, the simple fact of Jesus’ presence and the reality of the Kingdom of God from which he lived was a great threat to the established structures of his day.
What if Christians lived the same way today?
Jesus would surely challenge the structures of 21st century America if he were to walk the earth today.
Where would Jesus go to church? Suddenly, things like worship style and programs would take a back seat to real godliness, character, and genuine service. Who would he hang out with? It would be fascinating to observe who Jesus would associate with in our contemporary world. What would he think about some of our cultural issues? Something tells me that we’d be very surprised.
He would live in the genuine reality of God’s Kingdom.
What if Christians lived from within a framework of the Kingdom of God regardless of our prefered political ideologies and oblivious to cultural pressures? What do you think that would look like?