Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a genuine Christian, now that’s a tough call. Actually, that’s called rebellion.” – Alice Cooper –
I am a bit of a rebel. Some say it’s in my genes. Actually, I can be rebellious in dress trousers too (groan…). Nonconformity just comes natural to me. Mama says that I just never was a very good jack-in-the-box.
Perhaps I should define my use of the term rebel, lest you think that I am some sort of nefarious reprobate. By simple definition a Rebel is someone who resists or defies authority or convention. Since I tend to obey the laws of the land, you will rarely, if ever, find me in open defiance of duly constituted authority. I often disagree with the policies and practices of government, but I’m not a law breaker. I am, however, an iconoclast – a freethinker who often questions the status quo (convention). That would make me an intellectual and spiritual rebel.
I’m in good company. Take Martin Luther as an example. This rebellious reformer from the 1500’s got in the face of some pretty powerful people. He took on the religious establishment of his time. And, they didn’t like it; called him a dissident. But in reality, he was a rebel with a noble cause.
History is replete with its illustrious and infamous rogues and rebels. Names like: Alexander the Great, Marc Antony, Julius Caesar, Herod, Nero, Cleopatra, William the Conqueror, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and of course the Biblical rebels like Abraham, Moses, Peter, James, John and Saul (Paul) of Tarsus. Perhaps you’ve heard of a few?
Saint and sinner alike can be found on the list. Visionaries, revolutionaries, and creative thinkers mixed with tyrants, maniacs, scoundrels and scallywags. They all have one thing in common, somewhere along the way they defied convention, broke the rules, or took a leap of faith, and in the end made a difference that rocked their world – some for the better, and some for the worse. That’s what rogues and rebels do.
I’ve always been independent-minded, a bit of an eccentric and a nonconformist for sure. Friends and family gave me the nickname “Maverick” decades ago. You see, I ask lots of questions and at times discard the default patterns of modern society in favor of my deeply held values. I even question God on occasion. Not in an arrogant, disrespectful or unbelieving way. That would be pointless. I think one of the Older Testament writers put it best when he wrote,
9 “Does a clay pot dare argue with its maker, a pot that is like all the others? Does the clay ask the potter what he is doing? Does the pot complain that its maker has no skill?” (Isaiah 45:9 GNT)
Get it? The creature doesn’t tell the Creator He got it wrong. So, I simply accept the Master Potter’s invitations to be inquisitive. Here is one case in point found in the ancient scriptures,
2-3 “Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” (Jeremiah 33:3 MSG)
That’s what I do. I query the Almighty Creator (God), calling on Him to reveal His knowledge to me so that I may understand the meaning and purpose of my life. It’s a tall order, but He is all-knowing, and each day brings new insight.
A creature revolting against a creator is really revolting against the source of his own powers–including even his power to revolt. It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower.” – C.S. Lewis
When the Liberator Jesus visited this planet, He was quite a rebel Himself. His words were considered subversive as he wandered about challenging the religious authorities and their practices. It’s not a great stretch to say that He bucked the status quo. Here’s just one example,
12-17 “Jesus, accompanied by his mother, his brothers and his disciples went down to Capernaum and stayed there a few days. The Jewish Passover was approaching and Jesus made the journey up to Jerusalem. In the Temple he discovered cattle and sheep dealers and pigeon-sellers, as well as money-changers sitting at their tables. So he made a rough whip out of rope and drove the whole lot of them, sheep and cattle as well, out of the Temple. He sent the coins of the money-changers flying and turned their tables upside down. Then he said to the pigeon-dealers, “Take those things out of here. Don’t you dare turn my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:15-17 Phillips)
Wow, beating up on people with a rope and throwing their stuff all over the place. Really? Jesus was a Holy Rebel indeed. Imagine if he were here today and behaved as the writer John describes. The powers that be would undoubtedly accuse Him of having an impulse control issue. Most likely Intermittent Explosive Disorder which psychologists define as episodes of aggressive outbursts resulting in either destruction of property or physical assaults on others. Ship him right off to therapy, they would. Rightfully so, under our laws, you just don’t do things like that. Those were different times for sure and He was unique among mankind.
Listen to what happened when the religious establishment in ancient Jerusalem wanted to know who gave him the right to act the way he did:
1-2 “One day he was teaching the people in the Temple, proclaiming the Message. The high priests, religion scholars, and leaders confronted him and demanded, “Show us your credentials. Who authorized you to speak and act like this?”
3-4 Jesus answered, “First, let me ask you a question: About the baptism of John who authorized it, heaven or humans?”
5-7 They were on the spot, and knew it. They pulled back into a huddle and whispered, “If we say ‘heaven,’ he’ll ask us why we didn’t believe him; if we say ‘humans,’ the people will tear us limb from limb, convinced as they are that John was God’s prophet.” They agreed to concede that round to Jesus and said they didn’t know.
8 Jesus said, “Then neither will I answer your question.” (Luke 20:1-8 MSG)
Is it any wonder that they hated him? Jesus was so real, genuine, and germane to everyday life. That’s why the common people loved Him. He was brutally honest and yet tender, loving and filled with compassion. This radical revolutionary from our home world was on a mission from God. He often broke the rules of organized religion and yet he represented true justice mixed with grace. In His life on earth, Jesus lived as a radical and they put him to death as a rebel.
Today, Jesus would be considered a rebel, if not a terrorist, and definitely a threat to the establishment and the status quo ~ as he most certainly was 2000 years ago.” – Allen L Roland, PhD
Religious jealousy and hatred toward the message the Liberator Jesus brought to mankind eventually turned to false accusation and indefensible murder. Jesus was irrationally sentenced to death. As he hung on the executioners cross, mankind’s brokenness reached deep within His Divine spirit. Creation was now inside the dying bosom of her creator. Gasping out his final human breaths the Liberator cries,
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46)
In the closing moments of his mortal incarnate life, the Rebel Jesus identified with the forsaken human race. Here was the Elohim – the Creator and Judge of the universe – experiencing the wrath of Divine justice toward this lost and doomed world. For a few horrific moments, He experienced the revulsion of a total disconnect from the source of pure life so that we would no longer have to live in a perpetual state of spiritual separation from our Maker.
And then, placing His spirit into the hands of an otherworldly Father, the physical Jesus died. In that solemn, sacred, blessed moment, the darkest hour of human existence was corrected as He cried, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) The Greek word translated “it is finished” is tetelestai, an accounting term that means “paid in full.” When Jesus uttered those words, “It is finished”, He was declaring the debt owed by mankind was expunged completely and forever.
Ladies and Gentleman; let me introduce you to the Order of the Holy Rebels (aka: genuine Christianity). We are the followers of that marvelous incarnate Liberator who once came to the earth from a place known to us only as Heaven. They called Him the Rebel Jesus. To many He was nothing but a rogue, to be despised and rejected. Only a few would welcome and receive His message. That’s sad, because according to the ancient scriptures, 12 “…to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do is to trust him to liberate them.” (John 1:12 TLB)
Care to join our rebellion?
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656