Archive for January 22, 2016

I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and is as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” ― Thomas Jefferson  ―

I suppose I’m a bit of a rebel. Some say it’s in my genes. Actually, I can be rebellious in dress trousers too. (Insert groan here). Nonconformity just comes natural to me. I’m not a very good Jack in the Box.

Perhaps I should define my use of the term rebel, lest you think that it only applies to nefarious reprobates.  By simple definition a Rebel is someone who resists or defies authority or convention. Since I tend to obey the law of the land, you will rarely, if ever, find me in open defiance of duly constituted authority. I often disagree with the policies of government, but I’m not a radical militant.

I am however an iconoclast (look that one up in your Funk & Wagnalls); a freethinker who often questions the status quo. 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 subversive. Really, he was just another rebel with a cause.

History is replete with its illustrious and infamous rogues and rebels. Perhaps you’ve heard of a few. 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 cast of characters like Peter, James, John and Saul (Paul) of Tarsus.

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; for better or worse, somewhere along the way they defied convention, broke the rules, took a leap of faith, and in the end made a difference that rocked their world. That’s what rogues and rebels do.

The whole world loves a maverick and the whole world wants the maverick to achieve something nobler than simple rebellion.” ― Kevin Patterson

So again, I too am a rebel and even a tad of a rogue. Friends and family gave me the nickname “Maverick” decades ago. I have tried not to disappoint them. I ask lots of questions and sometimes reject the conventional patterns of society in favor of my deeply held values. I also question blind allegiance to religions. Faithfulness and loyalty to a “cause” requires understanding and insight. Genuine faith says, “I know in whom I have believed.” I believe in GOD.   And yet, I even question Him sometimes. Not in an arrogant, disrespectful or unbelieving way. I merely follow His invitation to be inquisitive. Here is what the Spirit of the Almighty said,

“Call on Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden things, which you do not know (and do not distinguish and recognize, or have knowledge of and understand).” (Jeremiah 33:3 Amplified)

So, that’s what I do. I ask the Creator of all things for His knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

When the liberator Jesus visited the planet, He was quite a rebel Himself. His words were considered subversive as he wandered about challenging the religious authorities and their customs. It’s not a great stretch to say that He bucked the system. 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? Jesus was a Holy Rebel indeed. Imagine if he were here today and behaved as the writer John describes. The powers that be would 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 the asylum, they would. Listen to what happened when they wanted to know who gave him the right to act the way he did:

1-2 “One day as he was teaching the people in the Temple, and preaching the Gospel to them, the chief priests, the scribes and elders confronted him in a body and asked him this direct question, “Tell us by whose authority you act as you do—who gave you such authority?” 3-4 “I have a question for you, too,” replied Jesus. “John’s baptism, now—tell me, did it come from Heaven or was it purely human?” 5-7 At this they began arguing with each other, saying, “If we say, ‘from Heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe in him?’ but if we say it was purely human, this mob will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they replied that they did not know where it came from. “Then,” returned Jesus, “neither will I tell you by what authority I do what I am doing.” (Luke 20:1-8 Phillips)

Is it any wonder that the religious establishment 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 was on a mission from God. He often broke the rules of religion and yet he was himself true justice mixed with grace. In life He lived as a revolutionary 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 He brought to mankind eventually turned to false accusation and indefensible murder. As Jesus hung on the executioners cross, our brokenness reached deep within His divine spirit. Creation was now inside the dying bosom of her creator. Gasping out his final human breaths the Savior cries,

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46)

The Rebel Jesus identified with all who were forsaken as he died a criminal’s death. Elohim – the Creator and Judge of the universe – experienced our hell, and felt the wrath of Almighty justice toward this lost and doomed world. For a few horrific moments, He experienced the revulsion of a total disconnect from the source of true life so that we would no longer have to live in that state of separation.

And then, placing His spirit into the hands of an otherworldly Father, the physical Jesus died. In that solemn, sacred, blessed moment, every struggle, every valley, every circumstance of human existence was corrected and justified.

Welcome to the Order of the Holy Rebels. We are the waifs and strays who follow that marvelous incarnate Liberator who once came to the earth from a place known to us only as heaven. Daily we struggle to follow His instructions as we “work out the salvation that God has given to us with a proper sense of awe and responsibility” (Philippians 2:12). Care to join us? Membership is free and among us you will always be safe to share your individual fears, disappointments and pressing concerns. We will laugh with you, we will cry with you, we will pray with you and, I promise you, one day we will understand it all.

Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is an author, broadcaster, and a popular Bible teacher.
© 2016 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  For more information write to:
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