Archive for August, 2013

Aug-2-2013

Getting Kooky

Kook: one whose ideas or actions are eccentric, fantastic, or insane: screwball.
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

You may not be human unless at sometime in your spiritual journey, you have doubted God and wondered how legit this whole faith thing is. Is Christianity just a nice idea, or a psychological crutch to help deal with the mysteries of the universe? Was Jesus just a nice hippy guy spreading love and philosophy to the masses, or the Savior of the universe? The proof he gave of his role as the Messiah might surprise you.

The Jewish people looked for an all-powerful Messiah who, with a show of might, would come overthrow evil once and for all, bringing justice and righting every wrong. He did start that process, but his approach was quite different than they expected.

You would think that those who knew him best would have a better grip on this, but you would be wrong. His own family sometimes thought he was a kook:

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Mark 3:20,21

As far as families go, that’s not too bad. Most of us have probably had family members who thought we were a little nuts at one time or another. Jesus’ immediate family eventually grasped his role and were there praying in the upper room on the day of Pentecost.

Okay, so Jesus was misunderstood by his immediate family, but surely his cousin and co-worker, John the Baptist who was the greatest prophet to date (Luke 7:28) would know his greatness. The guy who baptized Jesus into full-time ministry and called him “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” should have a firm grip on his divine role. Not so much:

After Jesus was done telling his boys all this important stuff, He went to give some more passionate, life-changing speeches in the towns of Galilee. While he was doing time in the pen, Crazy Johnny heard the word on the street about what his cousin was doing. Johnny sent his boys to ask Jesus:

“Are you the One God sent to get us out of this mess or not?” Jesus said, “The proof is in the pudding. Tell Johnny I’m doing some wild miracles here. I’m healing people who are blind as bats, straightening out cripple’s legs, changing rotting flesh into brand new skin, unplugging deaf ears, bringing dead people back to life and I’m telling the poor not to give up hope because God really does love them. I may look pretty ordinary on the outside, but looks can be deceiving. If you hang in there with me, you’ll find what you are looking for.”

Matthew 11:1-5 (The Street Bible)

The NIV puts that last part this way:

“… the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”

Here are Bill and Josiah giving our battle cry, “THESE THINGS WE DO…THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE!” and getting The Relief Bus outreach team pumped up before hitting the streets.

According to Jesus himself, the proof of his messiahship was: (a) The sick being healed and (b) The poor being told the gospel. He focused his power and his time on the nobodies. The proof of his divine purpose wasn’t a violent overthrow of the oppressing Roman occupiers. Instead, it was embracing the tainted and “worthless” of society. Jesus was giving that which was most valuable to those who had the least.

That is exactly what our team at New York City Relief is trying to do every week through our outreach to the homeless. We are giving the treasures of the kingdom to those who, like us, don’t deserve them. The staff and volunteers that we take out on the streets endeavor to lay down their lives for people who no one wants. Giving our best to those, who by all accounts are absolute failures, on one hand is ridiculous, but on the other hand is absolutely beautiful and the essence of what Christianity is all about.

What if someone asked for proof of our Christianity? How would they know if are a legitimate follower of Jesus or not? Should we show the same evidence that Jesus gave? Will that have the same effect on the public, making us look like kooks too?

As Luke 14:28 mentions, you have to count the cost. Will it cost us our reputation, time, and/or money? More importantly, what will it cost us if we don’t live this kind of life? It’s one thing to talk about being a fool for Christ and another thing to actually live as one. Time to get kooky.


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