Whether or not you’re a history buff, you probably remember learning about the historic revolutions that launched significant changes in both the economic and intellectual landscape of the Western world. Take our own revolution, for instance, when in the mid-1700s the world heard the rally cry, “Give me liberty or give me death!” and a new era of democracy was born. And not long afterward an equally influential cry rang out from the French Revolution, “Liberty, equality, brotherhood, or death!”—a cry that launched the era of the Enlightenment.
While we are thinking of revolutions, my guess is that if I were to ask you who you thought were the most influential revolutionaries of history, Jesus would not have made your list. But that is exactly what He was—a revolutionary who tops all the rest.
I’m not sure why we always think of Jesus in terms of His soft side—the meek and mild, gentle, peaceful Jesus. While I’m thankful for that side of Him, I can’t help but notice that there’s more to Him than that. He came to earth to effect radical change. To be sure, there was a clash of civilizations when He brought the values and culture of heaven into enemy territory that was under the management and direction of Beelzebub himself. Jesus did not come to coexist with hell on earth, nor did He come to negotiate a compromise. Rather, He came to conquer hell on earth, to overthrow the regime and set the captives free! He died a revolutionary’s death and rose as a victorious revolutionary who had once and for all de-fanged the enemy of our souls and set us free. And once freed, we are recruited to join the revolution, to get involved in the goal of setting other captives free, and to follow our leader Jesus and take up the rally cry of His revolution: “People matter most!”
“People matter most” is the point Jesus was trying to get across when He told the now-familiar story of the Good Samaritan. Let’s face it: Joining the heavenly revolution is a challenge. We live in a world where personal happiness is more important than the welfare of others; in a world where pleasure trumps people; in a world where corporate value and stock prices eclipse the importance of the value of people, their pension plans, and personal welfare. It’s why the crime of genocide still exists; why the problem of abortion continues to thrive; why the question of euthanasia still haunts us. It’s why dads leave their families for the fling of what initially seems like a more-fulfilling relationship. It’s why the affluent can be blind to the needs of the poor and the oppressed.
We’re living in enemy territory where people are often pawns and chips on the game table of someone else’s happiness and gain. Jesus came to change all of that: to teach us that people matter most, that eternal destinies are worth sacrificing for, that others count, and that love trumps self-centeredness! The familiar story of the Good Samaritan teaches us that even religious people can miss the point of the importance of “loving our neighbor.” But Jesus is still looking for good Samaritans who will join the revolution and live to prove—as Jesus died to prove—that above everything else, people matter most.
Join the revolution today!
- How has the revolutionary message of Jesus transformed your life?
- Read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. How are you doing in terms of obeying Jesus’ command to “Go and do likewise”? (In other words, which of the three passersby would most characterize you?)
- What circumstances or challenges might distract you from the rally cry: “People matter most”? What can you do to eliminate the things that keep you from rallying to Jesus’ cause to care for others?
- Think of someone you know who might be “bleeding by the side of the road” today. Take the time to stop what you’re doing and lend a helping hand in the name of Jesus.