The Disrupted Disruptor
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. - John 3:19
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ - Jesus Christ
Jesus has a unique way of disrupting the lives of people – friends and foe alike.
Christmas is a joyous occasion. A cause to celebrate the birth of “Emmanuel.” God is with us.
Yet, Jesus’ descent on planet earth is not always accompanied by the “goodwill,” “peace” and “joy” that the angels proclaimed.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Jesus starts his disruptive activities long before his birth. His first subjects are his parents.
Joseph and Mary are happily betrothed. Yet, the unexpected happens. Mary becomes pregnant with Jesus – a scandal of epic proportions, especially in the ultra-conservative 1st century rural Galilean culture they live in. A last-minute angelic intervention saves the situation. Still, relatives, friends and neighbors are suspicious.
King Herod, driven by insecurity and paranoia, decides to kill baby Jesus. To make sure that the threat of this “King of the Jews” is neutralized, he slaughters all the Bethlehem infants. The wailing mothers refuse to be comforted.
To rescue baby Jesus from Herod’s tyranny, Joseph relocates his young family to Egypt. Jesus’ grandparents must wait to see the baby boy.
Yet, Jesus’ disruptive masterpiece is reserved for the religious establishment.
Jesus steals the religious show from the Pharisees and the religious authorities. He harshly criticizes them, exposing their hypocrisy, questioning their false teachings and highlighting their selfish motives. People listen to Jesus and follow him. The community leaders are discredited, and their established order is threatened.
Jesus disrupts businesses and people’s sources of income. The hog farmers lose their pigs to drowning by the evil spirits dispatched by Jesus. At the peak of the Passover business season, Jesus clears the temple market area. He hits the wallets of the merchants and embarrasses the temple authorities.
One would expect Christ to spare his 12 disciples. No.
They had joined Jesus hoping for ministerial positions in the coming Messianic Kingdom. Their hopes are dashed when on their first evangelistic training program Jesus warns them of the dangers ahead. “…you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged…”
The post-resurrection lives of the twelve and the early Christians were anything but ordinary or peaceful. They were persecuted, imprisoned, and eventually martyred.
Those whom Jesus healed were not spared either.
The blind man whom Jesus healed is ex-communicated from the synagogue and ostracized for his faith in the one who opened his eyes.
Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead appears on the chief priests’ death row. The religious establishment wants to destroy the evidence of Jesus’ divine powers.
“All this disruption is not fair” you understandably protest.
Before announcing a verdict on Jesus, let’s consider the price paid by the Holy Trinity who was violently shaken when Jesus was ignominiously crucified by his creatures. Even the Father had to forsake the Son, whose blissful eternal life was ferociously disrupted.
Why all this disruptive pain and suffering you rightly ask?
Confronting evil and breaking loose from the grips of the metastasized cancer of sin is an excruciatingly painful undertaking. The journey from Egyptian slavery to the promised land was long and arduous. It passed through a harsh desert.
The religious leaders resisted the disruption caused by Jesus. Eventually they killed him. Yet, the disciples embraced the hardship caused by their faith in Christ.
The “birthday boy” offers to help us identify and viciously neutralize the emotional, moral and character flaws that keep us from reaching our potential. The process is long and uncomfortably disruptive.
We each need to decide on how to respond to this disruptive offer.
One side of the Christmas coin depicts joy, peace and bliss. The other one shows disruptive pain and discomfort.
The Prince of Peace reins. Despite all the disruptions, He fills our hearts with peace, joy and hope, enabling us to overcome.
- Harout Nercessian
AMAA Representative in Canada