Thursday, August 09, 2012
Sacrilegious; Adj. - “Gross irreverence toward a hallowed person, place, or thing.”
It occurs to me that Jesus, the Messiah, was profoundly sacrilegious. He healed on the Sabbath, picked grain on the Sabbath, and defied the Jewish High Priest and the ruling religious class on an almost daily basis.
This is part of what confounded the Jewish leaders of his day. They were looking for a Messiah who would fit into their program, a star quarterback they could draft who would take their team to the Super Bowl.
Instead, what they got was an outlaw who wore his own uniform, played by his own rules and had the audacity to expect them to join his team. Of course, they were scandalized by this sort of take charge Messiah. They couldn’t accept that the Chosen One might kick things off by correcting them publicly, pointing out their flaws, their pride and their errors in front of everyone. How could he be so cruel? Why would he expose their inconsistencies that way?
Even worse, this back water Rabbi from Nazareth recruited his disciples from among the peasant class rather than selecting the children of the wealthiest and most intelligent in Jerusalem. Instead of choosing to teach the sons of priests and governors, he selected a revolutionary extremist, a tax collector, some smelly fishermen, and a few random Gallileans of no fame or lineage. This is why his ministry required the support of outsiders like women, and prostitutes, and other tax collectors. It was really shameful, to be honest.
But what really rubbed the Pharisees the wrong way was his constant breaking of the Sabbath. In fact, it almost seemed to be intentional on his part to work miracles on the very day that he should be at home resting. What’s more, when confronted about this he had the audacity to suggest that the reason he was breaking the Sabbath was because God was also at work on the Sabbath. So, if God doesn’t rest on the Sabbath why should he? (John 5:17)
What makes the sacrilegious actions of Jesus so profound is that his irreverence wasn’t towards God, but instead pointed out the hypocrisy of men and the emptiness of tradition and religion itself.
Jesus wanted people to come to himself, not to a temple. He wanted people to spend time with him, not a book of rules. Jesus wanted people to look to him for answers, not to religious leaders.
Jesus didn’t ever play church. He spent most of his time among the poor and the broken, the outcast and the weak. When he did go to the Temple it was to point out the hypocrisy of the religious charlatans and to call people to follow Him and to enter the Kingdom of God in humility.
Sacrilegious people do not care for pretense. They do not care about faux religiousity. They roll their eyes at the pomp and circumstance of religious show and have no patience for a sermon and a song.
Like Jesus, the sacrilegious person is only interested in cutting through the nonsense to get to the heart of the matter. Spare the flowery speeches and the platitudes, just show them what’s real and cut to the chase.
Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion, or to validate an existing one. He came to announce that the Kingdom of God had come and that, through submission to Himself, anyone could live in it right away.
Jesus cuts to the chase by simply saying, “Repent (think differently) because the Kingdom of God is within you.”
Submission to His Kingship in your actual life on a daily basis is all that matters. The rest is just religiosity.
Seems we could use a dose of good old fashioned sacrilege today.
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” – (John 5:39-40)
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – (John 4:23-24)