“Taking A Stand”: Jesus Wasn’t Always So Good At It!
That’s whats “in”. Hang out in Christian circles or read some more evangelical based news articles and you will hear the rallying cry that to push back the forces of darkness that threaten Western civilization’s gates its time for Christians to “take a stand!”
Abortion? Take a Stand!
Gay Marriage? Take a Stand
Immigration? Take a Stand
Yes, it must be time for Christians to rise up…and take a Stand!
But, funny enough, you know who was never very good at “taking a stand”?
Ironic isn’t it?
Think about it.
In John 8 when the Godly leaders wanted Jesus to join in and stone the woman caught in adultery; when they wanted Jesus to “take a stand” according to what the word of God said…
…he ignored them and instead stood with the woman!
In Luke 7:36 when a woman who “lived a sinful lifestyle” came and anointed Jesus’ feet, the Godly leaders murmured,
“If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Come on Jesus! Expose this sexual deviant!
“Take a Stand!”
…but Jesus instead chose to defend the woman to the bystanders.
In Matthew 12 Jesus has his hungry disciples pick some grain to eat even though it was unlawful according to the Bible (the law). They were breaking the Sabbath. The Godly leaders chastised him. He should know better.
He should take a Stand!
…but Jesus instead defended his companions in an apparent violation of “the law”.
Time and time again he chose to stand with the outsiders and the ones who the scriptures and the law condemned.
Yep, Jesus wasn’t always so good at “taking a Stand!”
Choosing Solidarity Instead
Instead of “taking a Stand” Jesus chose to embrace solidarity with those around him. When you are in solidarity you stand with a person rather than standing against them.
Is it any wonder that one of Jesus’ many names is Emmanuel or God with Us
He is “with us” in our selfishness
He is “with us” in our violence
He is “with us” in our slander and guile
He is “with us” in our sexual failings
He is “with us” until the end of time
If you are looking for Jesus to “take a stand” against someone caught in sin’s tangled web…
…you’ve come to the wrong guy!
When taking a Stand there is an assumed sacrifice involved. The person taking the stand knows there is a price to be paid but they are ready to endure it in God’s service. Jesus corrects this notion to the Pharisees who chastise him about the Sabbath:
If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Matthew 12: 7-8
The Godly leaders kept wanting him to “make a sacrifice” and “take a Stand” (often according to the scriptures). To condemn the sinners and immorality of the day. Jesus chooses instead to show mercy.
He shows solidarity.
He shows that he is “with us”.
To prove his point about people being more important than the literal interpretation of scripture, Jesus goes and heals a man on the sabbath in front of the Pharisees.
Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.
Matthew 12: 9-14
Jesus stands with a disabled person against the literal reading of the law. Healing comes from Jesus’ solidarity with the man!
Were the “Godly leaders” happy? No, the paradigm of their world was being upended. Their civilization’s laws and moral code were being threatened and they would deal with that threat…with violence if necessary!
They needed to make a Stand!
In the recent movie Monument Men a British officer in charge of safeguarding priceless art from being captured or destroyed by the Nazis during World War 2 volunteers to go by himself to safeguard a precious stature of the Virgin Mary at a local abbey. When he arrives just ahead of the Nazis he finds only a small group of unarmed Catholic priests. The officer quickly tells them of their dire circumstances and how he is there to help them. As they quickly start working together to safeguard themselves and the priceless work of art one priest asks the officer
“Are you Catholic?”
The officer responds, “Tonight I am.”
It was a beautiful moment that made my eyes well up. The officer was saying that even if we don’t share all the same values, beliefs, and creeds, tonight…this night…when danger is at your door I stand with you!
I’m glad Jesus was not known for Taking a Stand!
He showed us a better way!
He showed us how to stand “with” our brothers and sisters and not “against” them.
2000 years later, we Christians still have a lot to learn from Christ!
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