In Chapter 8 (“There Are Things That Are Not Caesar’s”) of Who is This Man?, John Ortberg states that due to Roman occupation and oppression, the longing of the Jewish people in Jesus’ day was for the kingdom of God to be brought to earth. The question was “How” this would happen. Pastor Ortberg lists three responses to that question, noting that Jesus disagreed with all three:
1. Revolt- the Zealots were extreme nationalists dedicated to bringing in the kingdom of God by overthrowing the Roman government. The means justified the end. When we reflect on our initial or perhaps current response to our ministry downsizing or vocation loss, have we been in spiritual revolt by taking God’s matters into our own hands, thereby calling His sovereignty into question?
2. Withdrawal- the Essenes believed that Rome, Israel, and the temple system had become so corrupt that the only plausible response was complete withdrawal to a life of purity. In the aftermath of our loss, have we withdrawn from friends, family, church, and even God?
3. Assimilation- the Sadducees took a more pragmatic approach: if you can’t beat the Romans, join them. Following our devastation, have we lost our distinctive witness and despaired of God’s calling in our lives?
Today’s question: Please share your response to one or more of the questions above.
Tomorrow’s blog: “A love stronger than hate”