Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jesus the Trouble-Maker

Galilee and Judea were a fireworks warehouse and Jesus was a flame-thrower.

From one perspective, Jesus was a trouble-maker. For the "don't rock the boat" crowd, Jesus danced in the canoe. What is a trouble-maker?

Anyone who instigates change will be viewed as a trouble-maker. Anyone who questions the way things are because of a vision of the way things can be will be called a trouble-maker. Anyone who knows "the pecking order," but does not peck or allow his followers to peck in their proper places will be called a trouble-maker. Anyone who knows where the boundaries are and then lives like he doesn't care where the boundaries are will be called a trouble-maker. Anyone who is not threatened by the powers that be will be viewed as a trouble-maker.

Gandhi was a trouble-maker. So were Rosa Parks, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Ignaz Semmelweiss, and Erin Brockovich.

Jesus was a destabilizing reality. He, in the shadow of Jeremiah, came "to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow" (Jeremiah 1:10). Some even thought Jesus was Jeremiah (see Matthew 16:14).

One of my favorite teachers, "Prof" Howard Hendricks, use to say, "All true learning takes place only after you are thoroughly confused." Trouble-makers confuse us and, in that sense, serve us. We so easily petrify in our views, in what appears to us "to be right."

Have we so sanitized Jesus that it seems sacriligious to us to see him as a trouble-maker? The Roman Empire did not crucify "nice guys." They crucified trouble-makers.



At 7/03/2007 11:04 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Thanks for this reminder. Jesus was subversive. He could not be bought and was not for sale. He was the rebel of rebels - the true rebel, who allows all who follow him to be the same.

Woe to those who seek to tame him and turn him into that which he never claimed to be.

At 7/04/2007 6:23 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Indeed...Jesus was "the true rebel" against everything distorted by sin in creation and human lives and relationships. We are safest when he is wild.

At 7/04/2007 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I needed to hear this today.

At 7/04/2007 9:47 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

I love the Howard Hendricks quote.

At 7/04/2007 12:19 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

What's going on? E-mail me. I'm glad this post was helpful.

At 7/04/2007 12:21 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

"Prof" Hendricks was one of the most plugged-into-reality seminary teachers I ever had.

At 7/05/2007 6:03 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

My father-in-law had him as a prof at Dallas.

Hendricks was one of his teachers.

At 7/05/2007 7:54 PM, Blogger John Frye said...


At 7/09/2007 6:15 AM, Blogger Alyce Faulkner said...

Erwin McManus wrote a book The Barbarian Way'
I read it several years ago but for me it was that radical look at just how 'out there' Jesus was and calls us to be.
After this reminder, I think I will go read it again.

At 7/09/2007 9:15 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

I've yet to read Erwin's book though I've heard a lot about it. So I have to read it for the *first* time :)

At 7/13/2007 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great thoughts on the troublemaker Jesus! This post got me thinking about something: are we as followers of this radical Jesus following Him into this radicalness? If Jesus started a movement by announcing the “Kingdom of God is now invading this reality” and if he assembled a commmunity of people to lead this movement and do what He, this troublemaker, was doing while on earth, what does this look like for the Church, his followers?

good thoughts, and I posted some of my own @ novuslumen...

At 7/13/2007 6:28 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Love the name of your blog and what you are saying. Check out what we are doing to reach men in Daytona Beach, FL


At 7/14/2007 5:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As followers of Jesus, estranged from the “norm” and conformist attitudes of living in this world, it is comforting to be reminded of our Radical Jesus.

At 7/15/2007 2:19 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

You have asked the key question: what does the church look like that follows a "radical Jesus"?

At 7/15/2007 2:20 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

louie, frank and mike: church dudes!
Thanks for the high five! I visited your website. Good stuff!

At 7/15/2007 2:21 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

It's a different kind of "comfort" though, wouldn't you say? It's the comfort of courage and strength, not a mommie's lap.

At 7/16/2007 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, kinda making it all right that you don't fit in and won't

At 7/22/2007 6:50 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

I think you're right on that.

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