Jesus, Rednecks, and Obamacare!

Was Jesus a redneck? Well, He probably spoke like one.

A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” (Matthew 26:73)

Philip Yancey in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, wrote how Galileans had backwoods accents, which turned off the educated elite in Jerusalem. The accents were so disliked that Galileans were seldom allowed to read Hebrew in the Temple. Then, to top it off, Nazareth (Jesus’ hometown) was the boondocks of Galilee, sort of a trailer court with cars on cinder blocks type of town.

Wow! This blew my mind thinking about Jesus speaking like a redneck, and not like a Harvard educated Jew. This adds even more oomph to Paul’s words:

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)

This in no way subtracts from Jesus’ gospel message or that His words had spiritual life in them. But it does confront our love for image over substance in our leaders, especially Christian ones.

Now, this post today came about because I had an eye-opening disagreement with a few believers on Facebook yesterday. A man who is a great guy and writes from a strong theological background about America’s political problems, wrote his views on the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare:

What to say? What to do? It is a time to despair for the future of our republic…I only know what the church must do now. It must join the fight…A new group of leaders must come to represent the public face of biblical faith..All of this is part of the mission of the twenty-first century church…We have a nation, a culture, a civilization to pull back from the abyss. This will take generations. It will not be done with light, half believers with their casual creeds. It is time to get serious.

The 900-word article was well-written and made many good points, but a heavy emphasis was placed on America’s need for new Christian leaders. I commented:

I do agree we need new leaders, but the ones I think we need are those who have spent days in prayer and fasting and have heard the word of the Lord for our generation. I don’t care if they’re young, old, literate, or illiterate, but what is God saying now?

Because I’m so naive, I just assumed everyone would agree with me and punch the “Like” button, but none did. They were polite and kind with their disagreements.  Yet I could tell they thought I was one of those weird guys walking down the street in a long robe, barefoot, and carrying a sign which read, “Repent. The world ends tomorrow.”

Their ideas leaned toward higher standards for our church leaders. Better education. Better training. Better speakers. Better grounded in conservative theology. Better this. And better that.

It’s not necessarily that I agreed with their thoughts on Obamacare or disagreed with their ideas on leadership. That actually had nothing to do with my final thinking. Not at all.

You see, this eye-opening revelation dawned on me: there is a wide chasm between what we American believers think Christian leaders should be and what the Bible shows them to be.

And it so saddened me to think believers might not hear what God is saying to them through His new leaders. Because after all, the new leaders might be a bunch of hicks and nobodies from Hootersville.

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)


Filed under Christianity, Uncategorized

11 responses to “Jesus, Rednecks, and Obamacare!

  1. Caddo Veil

    Image over substance–ain’t that the truth.

  2. Hi Larry,
    You make an excellent point. There is a difference between educated intelligence and genuine wisdom. The smartest people in a given room are not always the wisest, and vice-versa. I do pray that Christians will do their best to realize their full intellectual and vocational potential, but as you point out, God does not recruit leaders the way we do.

  3. Caddo,

    Thanks. I appreciate your input.

  4. Judy,

    Thanks. Elijah may have been a Gentile. So, when he showed up at King Ahab’s court in 1 Kings 17, why in the world should the Jews listen to him? Yet, he was a leader with the word of the Lord in him. In the following forty-two months, all of Israel thought of him almost every day as they watched their crops dry up and their livestock die in the drought.

    These are the type of leaders I’m talking about, ones who fast and pray, and hear the word of the Lord for our generation. We need this type of leaders now.

  5. We did not hear conservative cries of despair for our republic when the Supreme Court stated that corporations are people and could donate limitless political contributions without revealing their identities. This ruling, in effect, gave corporations and billionaires like the Koch brothers the ability to “buy” politicians and influence them into supporting only those things that favor the interests and profits of corporations, usually with no regard for the interest and welfare of the middle class or the poor of America.

    Yet when that same Supreme Court upholds the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” that ensures hard-working, middle class families will get the security they deserve, and protects every American from the worst insurance abuses–a cry of despair for the future of the republic goes up among conservatives!

    As Moses was preparing to hand over leadership to Joshua and the leaders of the tribes of Israel, he instructed them about what it would be required of them to be effective, godly leaders of their nation. Among the marks of a leader, Moses stated, “When you make decisions, never favor those who are rich; be fair to lowly and great alike. Don’t be afraid of how they will react, for you are judging in the place of God.”

    Obamacare is a health care reform that is fair to the lowly and the middle class. Why should the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it create a cry of despair for the republic?

  6. Derrick,

    Thanks for your input. I truly don’t have a horse in this race a I am apolitical and can see points of view on both sides of the aisle. But I also enjoy passionate people and learn from them.

    My point in writing this were the people’s reactions to my comment on the type of leaders we need: ones who fast and pray and hear the word of the Lord for our generation.

    Who knows, Derrick? You could be one of them.

  7. Larry, as I read this to the bottom, sadness comes over me and I just want to cry. Thinking about Jesus not being the leader the people were expecting Him to be, the kind of leader they wanted . .. but He was /is THE LEADER.
    God bless you as you fast and pray.

  8. Debbie,

    Thanks. Jesus is still the Leader and He knows what’s best. Does that mean all will repent and follow Him? I hope so.

  9. I agree with Judy’s comment that there’s a difference between educated intelligence and genuine wisdom.
    I recently read a book from my father’s library, written by a non-Evangelical intellectual, published in 1960. The writer made a case that Jesus was on the edge of the Zealot movement. We know that one of the disciples was identified as a Zealot, and the writer strongly suggested Peter, James, and John had connections with that movement.
    By the end of the writer’s argument, I couldn’t have cared less. A Zealot? A Galileen with a unprofessional demeanor? The images do shake up our image of our Jesus, but the wise recognized Him as God. Some even worshipped Him. He rose above His culture–even the culture of the Zealots (if that was actually a reality).
    But He would surely be as offensive today as He was during His earthly ministry–not only with people wanting control but also with people wanting to align themselves with appearances. And I think the same is true of many of His chosen leaders. History proves they usually come from humble stock. If we look for the wrong things in our leaders, we’ll fail to hear and to follow those hearing from God. The stakes are huge.

  10. Solveig,

    Thanks. As Mike Bickle often used to say, “Jesus offends our minds to reveal our hearts to us.” I know it’s true in my life.

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