How unlikely is it to think that 2,000 years ago the Roman Empire would collapse, and a handful of seemingly insignificant followers could give rise to a movement that would alter the cultural, spiritual and political landscape of cities, nations and people groups for centuries?
Many historians agree that there has not been a more dominant stamp of influence on planet Earth in the last 20 centuries than the life of Jesus Christ and the movement that He began.
In Jesus’ day, Rome focused on the elite, the strong, the beautiful and the achiever. The movement affectionately known as people of “The Way” would focus instead on the outcast, the marginalized, the weak and the oppressed. Followers of The Way were warned that they would be persecuted for such beliefs and values.
Never had a movement welcomed anyone and everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, education or background. I’m not sure that anyone had ever even thought about it. The movement wasn’t organized to keep people out. Instead, its focus was to invite them all in, echoing the phrase, “whosoever will" may come (Rev. 22:17, KJV).
Throughout the ages, people have been drawn by the eternal values and convictions of this movement, because they are values that transcend culture, organizations and governments. In fact, Jesus had no problem going on record and saying, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17, NKJV).
This subtle undertone becomes a dynamic conviction when you realize the depth of Jesus' words. He was saying that while we are called to honor those in places of authority, every earthly king is ultimately submitted to a higher authority. There are no exceptions.
No wonder John’s exile on the Isle of Patmos would turn into a season of fresh “Revelation” about this invisible kingdom and its King!
The Gospel writers, who were eyewitnesses to the public genesis of this kingdom, have all left us powerful accounts of how God invaded our planet, pushed the reset button for all of us, and left us with a movement, a message and a mission.
While we see through a glass darkly (I Cor. 13:12, KJV), it is clear that there has never been a life that has caused such a sustainable revolution that would shape and reshape civilizations time and time again. Jesus is not just our Savior, Healer, Baptizer and Soon-Coming King. According to Rev. 17:14, Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
There have been many kings but only one King of kings—complete, everlasting, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, the first and the last, hallelujah! If you get real quiet, I bet you will hear a chorus of Handel’s “Messiah.”
Thank you for taking this journey through the Gospels with us this year. Each week has added a fresh perspective of who Jesus is and how He has impacted our lives and our world.
Join with us next year as we journal through the Bible together. Accept the challenge, as well, to share your journey with others on a regular and a personal basis.
Just as in the days of old, the simple dynamic of mentoring has the potential to morph into a movement of disciple-makers. It’s time we return to that model and experience the rich benefits of doing what Jesus did.
By: Glenn Burris Jr., president of The Foursquare Church
Download the yearlong reading plan (PDF, 80 KB) or sign-up for the full, online version of the Life Journal. To purchase a Life Journal for your own use, or to place a bulk order for church-wide use, visit www.foursquarejournal.com. Learn more about Foursquare's 2013 Life Journal project.