Thursday, November 10, 2011

HOPE FOR TODAY: The Year of Protests

“It appears that 2011 is the year of the protest – both foreign and domestic”, according to Julia Edwards from the National Journal. I agree. The Arab Spring and Union uprisings are the face of many. The United States has seen hundreds of thousands protest across the country including the states of New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. Across the globe we have seen protests in countries throughout the Middle East and in Europe.

Each of these uprisings swells from a deep divide protestors have with their opponents. Differences have moved beyond discussion to all-out public opposition. The protestors feel their cause and actions are justified in order to give voice to the evil they see. Is public opposition like this the only answer to the evil and injustice we see in our world? I believe there is a better way.

Centuries ago Jesus rose up among His countrymen with great prominence. Thousands followed Him. Many had hopes He would be their national savior and overthrow the evil Roman Empire.

How did Jesus handle the pressure to use His influence to lead a rebellion? He told His followers “the Son of Man (Himself) must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:22). Jesus’ intent was never to topple a government or fight against a corrupt system. When His ministry began He said, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Clearly, Jesus lived for something beyond this world. He was not given to the lure of money and power nor did He cower in fear of others. He was courageous, but His fight was against the very seed of injustice. He fought against the powers of sin, death, the devil and pride in the human heart. He did not come to take up a battle against government and religious leaders. Rather, it was to lay His life down that others might be saved from their sin and live to the glory of His Father in heaven.

Rather than rising up against people and institutions may we rise up against the power of sin in the human heart. Let us bow before God and pray for our enemies before we rise up and demonstrate before them. Let us give voice to the good news of Christ before we give voice to our grievances. May Jesus be our hope for today.

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