It happened before the blind eyes really knew it happened. What they thought was a threat was actually a promise. What they thought was dangerous was actually the safest bet they could have made—ever. What they thought was cancerous was the best cure ever offered.
It came as an insurrection. The ultimate subversive staged a historic coup, the effects of which reverberate today and into the unknown of the great beyond. The target of the coup was the real surprise, because the Pharisees and teachers of the Law unwittingly tried to fight the battle over power, politics, prestige, and position. They never expected that the heart was more important. The insurrection of Jesus went for the heart.
The gatekeepers of 1st century religiosity knew they were in trouble when the popular vote shifted away from them, and towards the radical carpenter from Galilee. Seeing no way out but down unless they took matters into their own hands, they took down to a new level and decided to finish off this gentle Healer who had such harsh words to say to and about them. Getting rid of him, they thought, would rid them of this plague of a man who kept stepping on their toes and besmirching their fine sounding words and best laid plans. He embarrassed them, and the people ate it up, much to their further embarrassment. Better to get rid of him before the Romans started realizing an insurrection of the Jewish power structure was in the works. But like we now know, they missed the point. The religious leaders failed to consider that Jesus was aiming for something much more important. Jesus was going for the heart, not for the power structure. In the end, the heart is where the issues of life bubble out of.
Jesus is interested in your heart.
Jesus called out the gatekeepers of 1st century religiosity. Blind guides, he called them. White-walled sepulchers, he called them. Fools. Vipers. What they cherished as central, he exposed as foolishness. He said they paid attention to the outward but missed the interior. They were white-washed tombs, with dry bones inside and no life.
He had to go, they reasoned. There was not room for him and for them.
The insurrection that was Jesus Christ began in that small stable in Bethlehem, then went to Nazareth, and from there he traveled around with his misfit band of disciples. Jesus cried over the city. He mourned when his friend Lazarus was dead. He was saddened when his followers missed the main points of his life and teachings. Jesus never lied, never stole, never abused women, never ran a company, never filed for bankruptcy, never starred in a reality TV show, never published a book, never ran for public office, never owned a home. Yet his life, teaching, ministry, death, and resurrection serve as eternal, revolutionary, revelational catalysts through the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. The gospel offers a radical and life-changing opportunity for the Spirit of God to enter the heart of all who will repent of their sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and give their lives to this unorthodox king-who-was-not-made-king, Savior and Lord of the Universe.
The insurrection of Jesus, clearly described in his teachings, modeled in his life, placed on the cross for all to see, with his body buried, and then gloriously raised to life on that Resurrection Sunday many years ago, was a gift to all who will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and lay hold of that life which is truly life. Jesus came for the heart, and the heart set free by the Truth of Jesus is free indeed. The world and its pleasures are passing away, but Jesus has overcome the world. All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, will not get you what you really need. Jesus, the ultimate insurrectionist, offers peace, hope, love, and joy unspeakable to all who will believe. Yes, in this world we will have trouble. But we can take heart, because our King, Jesus of Nazareth, has overcome the world.
I’ll go for that kind of insurrection. It gets me up in the morning. It’s what keeps me going when the world looks like a train wreck, when the news looks like death, and when I realize I’m still a man in need of a Savior. The insurrection sparked by Jesus' life, teachings, death, and resurrection is the one for my heart. This insurrection brought about the good news of the Kingdom. The gospel, when believed and lived out through Jesus, kills off, one by one, the vile imposters and orphan pretenders to the throne that try to rule my heart. The gospel allows Jesus to reign and rule. Jesus successfully fought against the powers of darkness of this world, against the enemy who is at war with God’s creation. I have given my heart to Jesus, and I know that Jesus is the ultimate victor. He has my heart, and I will serve Him who sits on the throne. Yes, my service is imperfect, flawed, and sometimes confused and spastic. I am not a perfect father, I am not a perfect husband, and I am not a perfect church leader. But I give my service to Christ, the King of my Heart, and He continues His work of refining me and transforming me and changing me. Lord Jesus, you have my heart. Please keep refining it.
As for the January 6th insurrection (Was it? Was it not?) spoken of by people of the USA, the wording is not the issue. There is a Capitol building in the capital city of the United States of America. I am blessed to be a citizen of the United States of America. But Jesus has my heart, not this country. The Capitol building is a symbol of power and might, of certainty and structure, of knowledge and strength. To some, January 6th represented a shaking of what they held in America. To others, January 6th represented an awakening to a desire to “take back” America. Several hundred would-be “insurrectionists” tried to stop the vote from being certified, and we have tens of millions of people in America who think that was an insurrection. But then, one could try to interview tens of millions of other Americans, and they will say it was a wise play by these Capitol-storming people who, in their minds, tried to stop an insurrection by attempting to stymie an "illegal" certification of a stolen vote. Radically different views of “reality,” with the same circumstances in front of all of us. How does this happen?
It's a distraction. That's what it is. A distraction posing as an insurrection. If the Capitol is the treasure, then that is where your heart is. Because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Remember Jesus? His insurrection was aimed at the heart. The heart, more vulnerable than the Capitol, is incredibly more important. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be. That so-called “insurrection” of January 6 was really a distraction. This distraction has deleted millions of hours of emotional and spiritual energy from Christians in America. I don’t really care whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a Curious, a Socialist, or a disenchanted ____________________(fill-in-the-blank). If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the original insurrectionist, you MUST NOT let the distraction of misplaced insurrectionist politics misalign your faith or dilute your vision for Christ, for His church, and for a deepening love of the Lord Your God. After all, we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Where does USA fit in that statement? Remember, JESUS is asking that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Do you love your neighbor as you love yourself? Yes? What if we change the wording of that? Love the Democrat as you love yourself. Love the Republican as you love yourself. Love the Socialist as you love yourself. Love the ______________________ (fill-in-the-blank) as you love yourself.
Stop getting distracted, Christ-follower. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. The enemy is coming for you and for me. Make no mistake about, the war is escalating, the stakes are high, and your heart is on the line. Oh, may the gospel of Jesus penetrate and convict our hearts, so that we are ready and equipped for these last days. Guard your hearts in the love of Christ, and follow the treasure.
Because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Happy Transformation Year!
Grace and Peace,
And while we are on the topic of the good news of Jesus Christ and what is means for our hearts, let’s consider this wise counsel from the Apostle Paul:
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Son of the Father, husband to Sandy, father of six amazing gifts, Bronx brother, active participant in Believers in Jesus Church, insurance adjuster, occasional runner