The Redemption of a Rebel

We have all seen them in the movies… professional international thieves and spies. They have the black leather coats, cool sunglasses and operate outside normal and desirable controls. They don’t answer to anyone except themselves because they are unique, rebellious and on a mission.

I don’t think that you and I need to travel to the professions of thievery and spying to get in touch with this flavor of rebellion. It is all too easy for us to develop a chip on our shoulders and embrace a sense of rebel Christianity in our lives and churches. It is all too easy to be convinced that we are on an out of the ordinary independent renegade mission for God and we have all right answers in the midst of everybody else having it wrong.

What this rebellious attitude leads to is a defiant mentality towards others in the Church and ultimately a subtle coldness towards God. Correction, discipline, adjustments, change and rebuke from other Christians and God’s Word can easily be disregarded in Rebel Christianity. We believe we are immune to normal controls due to our own understanding of being on a God-endorsed mission as we define it.

As we glance at Scripture, I believe there is only one true and valid Rebel. There is one righteous international rebel and that was Jesus. The religious elites of the day certainly considered Jesus a rebel. He was not obedient to the performance-driven religion of the Pharisees; He didn’t heed to the legalistic orthodoxy of the Scribes, and He didn’t embrace the dead ritualism of the Sadducees. Religious leaders could not control Him, so they crucified Him.

The irony for us is that this Rebel who operated outside the normal and desirable controls of the religious leaders, accomplished salvation for all the rebels of the world. Jesus: a rebel according to the religious elites of the New Testament era accomplishing salvation for a rebellious and renegade person like you and me. What irony-- and what Gospel!

Thank you, Jesus. You did not succumb to the empty religion of the religious elite. Thank you that your grace compels and teaches us that we don't have to be a rebel towards you, your church body or those around us!