The disciples knew those songs of lament. They still sang some of them.
And Jesus made it clear that those old songs were going to become familiar again. There was going to be the same kind of warfare and destruction. And the people following Jesus, the people who were part of his new kingdom were going to run into opposition. If Jesus was going to get killed because of his life and teaching, then his followers would too. Some of them.
And it has happened like Jesus said. In the decades after Jesus gave this news, Christians were arrested. And tortured. And killed. They still are. Around Mosul, in parts of Nigeria. For living in the name of Jesus. For abandoning any hope of working hard enough to make God happy and instead accepting that relationship with God comes through relationship with Jesus.
But, Jesus said, don’t spend your time worrying about those days. Building defenses, studying strategies of argument. Because on those days, in those conversations with kings and their administrators, standing in court to offer a defense for your life, Jesus says, “I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”
So, having painted this picture of pain, what are we do to? What are the lessons?
First, live like Jesus. Care, converse, offer healing, offer attentiveness, offer names to people, Offer forgiveness, offer hope and answers. If we are going to be attacked because of Jesus’ name, we need to be actually living like him.
What’s that look like?
- This one time Jesus had a thoughtful compassionate conversation with a woman who lived across a religious/cultural border.
- This other time, Jesus had a thoughtful compassionate conversation with a woman who would have been regarded as part of the First Nations.
- This other time, Jesus went to synagogue. In fact, he almost always did. In spite of knowing that they might try to kill him, because there were blind and crippled people around the synagogue who needed him.
- This other time, he talked with people who didn’t believe who he was, who doubted that he was able to work, and he still healed them.
- This other time, he celebrated the willingness of children to follow him and criticized his followers who set standards of how old followers had to be.
So I think that living like Jesus means loving everyone. Not endorsing everything, mind you. Not allowing anyone else to be God. But loving everyone in practical, hands-on, heart-on ways.
We’ll finish this series tomorrow with a couple more applications.