Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The gospel: how is it good news? V

Whom do you want in charge?
The gospel is that the crucified and risen Jesus is God’s king, the Christ. And this is indeed good news.

Even if it weren’t good news, it would still be news. If the one put to death for claiming to be God’s king was raised to life again by God’s power, then he really is king, whether we like it or not. In that sense, the gospel tells us to line up with reality. This is how things are going to be, so get used to it!

But it is good news, because if we think about it, whom do you want to be ultimately in charge? John Howard? Kevin Rudd? George Bush? Hillary Clinton? I doubt it, however much some of us may prefer one or another as less bad than other options.

Perhaps you’d prefer final power to rest with a popular vote? Democracy seems to be a major attempted export of the West at the moment. But is this really what you want? Winston Churchill famously said, ‘Democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all those others that have been tried.’ He also said, ‘The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.’

What about you in charge? Every buck stopping with you? Although it might feel nice to dream sometimes, is that what you really want? I doubt it – and I doubt that anyone with a few teaspoonfuls of honesty and a minute of self-reflection would put their hand up for it.

So perhaps it would be best if no-one was in charge? I suspect that would be worst of all - just ask an Iraqi. When there’s no teacher in the classroom, it might seem fun at first, but pretty quickly the bullies take over.

No, in the end, none of these is king: not you, not me, not George Bush, not the bullies. Jesus is king. And that is good news. Because he’s no tyrant. He uses his rule to serve, not to be served. He gives his life to rescue his subjects. His yoke is easy and his burden is light. His kingdom has begun, and even now the humble enter into it. Not all his enemies are yet defeated, but he’s won the decisive victory.
Series so far: I; II; III; IV; V.
Eight points for the name of the flag flying in the picture.


David Ould said...

Buckingham Palace.
easy points!


Benjamin Ady said...

this is so amazingly unsatisfying. Jesus seems like a really great guy to have around, as king--I mean all the lovely healing, his awesome ethical teaching, etc.

but ... as happened with my "salvation", it grows increasingly less satisfying to say that Jesus is king. I mean the thing is, he's not. people like bush and hussein and milosevic and ... I could go on ... they end up with the power. that's the way the world is. It's been 2000 years since Jesus died, and the world doesn't seem like a much better place at all.

And actually, I *would* prefer for every buck to stop with me. At least right now. that would be kinda kewl for a little while until it destroyed me. Maybe for like ... 2 weeks or so. yeah. It would have to have the 2 week termination built in up front, though, so I wouldn't even have the option to continue.

Justin said...

Benjamin -- this is exactly what the book of Revelation is about. Although right now I suspect that you won't be able to plumb that work without some leftover cynicsim from the 'bad ol days'. Would that be right?

Byron or Bryon -- how is he exercising his rule? That is what I am working through now. Justin or Jsutin.

Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight) said...

I prefer my Democracy without elections.

byron smith said...

OSO - fasincating suggestion!

Benjamin - it is precisely the contested nature of his kingship that makes the gospel contentious. As Justin said, this is what much of the book of Revelation is about, the not yet (or perhaps not yet seen) nature of Jesus' rule.

David - sorry, I hadn't offered any points yet. I have now, but they may not be quite as easy as you initially thought.

Matthew Moffitt said...

The royal standard! (in top left and bottom right quarter are the 3 lions of england, in the top right quarter is the lionnn of Scotland; and in the bottom left quarter is the harp of Ireland). the flying of this flag signifies the presence of Her Majesty.

byron smith said...

Moffitt - eight points.

Jonathan said...

I didn't notice those easy points! Unfortunately, on the same day Moffitt was taking them, I was standing where the photo was taken breaking my own camera.

For the sake of pedantry, the Royal Standard of the UK is just that. On the rare occasion that the Queen is present in her capacity as my Queen, she uses another flag.

byron smith said...

Jonathan, I can tell you're seriously into this (you've even commented on the other website back in 2000)! I'd give you some minor points for pedantry, but I'm not sure I want to encourage it... :-)

Hope your camera is fixed/fixable.

Jonathan said...

I don't think it deserves even minor points, but yes, I'm seriously into it. A similar flag made me think of your recent series of post.

As for the camera, I'm currently considering lookign for a second opinion.