I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the gospel on display in Egypt. Christian churches were bombed by terrorists and the 90% of Egypt’s population that is Muslim expressed their outrage by attending Christian Mass on Eastern Orthodox Christmas Day (Jan 7) to keep extremists from bombing again.
I read today that on last Friday, Christians formed the protest lines morning and evening in Cairo so that Muslims could go to Friday prayers. This goes to show you that Love truly is the Killer App. Love is the one thing that overcomes even the greatest power, the strongest opposition.
That’s why Chris Heuertz described this picture as the most subversive protest yet in Egypt.
There is no answer, no force on earth can overcome a show of love or compassion. Middle aged women, even seniors, are storming the protest lines, moving right to the front and are scolding the police who have been ordered to disperse the crowds. As a police officer, no matter who you are, there is no way you can’t be diverted slightly from your task by someone who could easily be your mom telling you that you should be ashamed of yourself. That’s why the cross is completely disarming thing.
…having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Jesus could have easily come and ‘disarmed the authorities’ with a spectacular show of force. He could have shattered the power structure of any age and placed Himself as the ultimate authority and began an empire that would know no end. But that would have only set up a new power structure – Jesus definitely at the top – but everyone else underneath jockeying for their new position. Oh we all would have admitted that Jesus was top dog, but I would still be in charge of this little part of the world, or I would still be able to dominate in this aspect of my life.
What Jesus said in allowing himself to be humiliated on the cross is that not only is He first, but He is also last. Jesus lays claim to the whole spectrum. “It’s all mine! I am the greatest! I am the least! Nothing is outside of my claim of authority.”
Jesus calls all his followers to abandon power structures. Abandon achieving privilege of place in churches and inside communities of faith. That is the way things work in the world! We are not called to be like that!
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
A sobering thought for any who would lead or have influence in a faith community are the words and the actions of Jesus. If Jesus did not lead with eloquence and charisma and power, why would I ever try to?