Subversive

“When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.” 

- Luke, the Physician


Interesting that the “people” in this situation are the common folks and the “opponents” or enemy in this story are the religious elite. Jesus was always taking on and overturning kingdoms that were in conflict with the Kingdom…even religious ones.

sub·ver·sive

səbˈvərsiv/

adjective

  1. seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution.

He chose a different way.  He didn’t submit to their power.  He shunned the established norms.  He bucked the system.

When he dared to heal in opposition to their interpreted sense of right and wrong, they weren’t just angry, they were indignant.  How dare this man operate in conflict with their established norms of behavior! They completely missed the fact that he was operating from the heart of God in the service of love.

The fact that someone chose to go against their rules and subverted their power was the unforgivable sin.

In the award-winning documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, they celebrate the life of a similar subversive.  He took everything you were supposed to do to create a successful children’s show and did the complete opposite.  Low production values, very slow moving pace, poor acting, and no slapstick energy or comedy.

As an ordained Presbyterian minister, he approached the work with a missional fervor that television has likely ever seen or probably even understood.  When the race issues in our country resulted in black children being chased from public pools and people even trying to poison or taint the water to get them out

Fred fired back.

In his peaceful and quiet way, but powerfully subversive and in the service of love.  In his next episode, he decided to cool his feet on a warm day in a small swimming pool.  When his friend, an African-American policeman, stopped by, Fred asked him to take off his shoes and cool his feet with him.  And with both their feet bare and “swimming” in the same pool,

Fred looked up at the camera with a devilish grin.

In his own way.

Out of his unique creation.

As an image bearer of the Divine.

He was taking on hatred.

He was acting in the service of love.

He was being a subversive.

He was being Jesus.

He didn’t picket against hatred the way the religious picketed him.  He didn’t shout angry opposition like he often received.  He was Jesus with skin on and he was doing what had been modeled for him.  He was subverting the way of a fallen world in the service of the Kingdom.

His opponents were humiliated and the people (at least some of them) rejoiced.

Consider

  • Who are you taking your cues from?

  • Who are you modeling your behavior after?

  • Have you ever considered yourself to be subversive?

  • Are you willing to sometimes do the “wrong” things in world’s eyes in service of the “right” ones as defined by the Kingdom?