May 287, 2020
THE WARRIOR CHRIST
I imagine that subject line got your attention! We rarely, if ever, speak of Jesus as a warrior. We think of him as a teacher, a healer, a preacher. We think of His statements of “turn the other check, forgive 70 times 7, walk a second mile, pray for those who persecute you” and so on. Those philosophies and teachings do not seem to fit a “warrior” profile. And yet I think we overlook that part of Jesus.
What do we think Jesus facing Satan in the wilderness was--a picnic? IT WAS A BATTLE OF GOOD VERSES EVIL. What do we think Jesus turning over the money changer’s table in the Temple was--just a bad day? Again, it was GOOD VERSES EVIL. What do we think Holy Week and the Cross was--a walk in the park? IT WAS JESUS VERSES SATAN; IT WAS GOOD VERSES EVIL.
John McDougall, a chaplain in the U.S. Army Rangers, wrote a book titled, “Jesus was an Airborne Ranger”. Obviously, it got my attention. He based his approach on another great Christian writer of an earlier period. Quoting C.S Lewis’ famous book, “Mere Christianity”, he shares that Lewis wrote in his book, “Enemy-occupied territory – that is what the world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.” McDougall and Lewis’ approach are not that far removed from early Christianity. As early as the first century Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were being compared to a great military victory over a formidable enemy. THIS IS A DOCTRINE CALLED “CHRISTUS VICTOR” (Latin for “Christ the Conqueror”) and it acted as the primary framework for understanding Jesus’ mission on earth.
In his book McDougall also has a very interesting sentence: “Many Christians today have a bunker mentality, content to wait in the relative calm of their churches while enemy (Satan) shelling wreaks havoc on families and individuals outside.” He will later add that “ONLY A WARRIOR CHRIST CAN SO POSITIVELY IMPACT THIS FRACTURED PLANET”.
The reality for us is that the modern church has largely overlooked the fact that there is real spiritual warfare going on. HAVE Y0U READ THE NEWS TODAY? A heartbreaking killing in Minnesota that has led to riots and violence. Politicians on both sides of the aisle who cannot treat one another with any form of politeness or agree on anything, run our government. Opinions of COVID 19 run the entire spectrum from it’s a hoax and a government conspiracy to take control – to, we are all going to die. We need Christian warriors to follow a warrior Christ, to change our world.
That does not mean we knock someone down or scream Hebrew curse words at them. It takes a Warrior’s heart to turn the other check, to love someone that doesn’t love you, to pray for someone when you would rather take them to a woodshed. We who claim to love Jesus and to follow him must face the unfortunate fact that Jesus’ church has plenty of “lukewarm” Christians in it. The gospel of Matthew talks about that when it says, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15:8 quoting the prophet Isaiah). So, here is the reality for us. You and I must be soldiers for Christ. Jesus is calling us to a life that is bold and active. He is calling his church to follow him into enemy territory to fight the evil in our world. So, while the words may sound strange, I believe that Jesus is a warrior and I follow Him, today and always.
Amen & Amen.
Dad, Papaw, Uncle Rich, “Butter, Rabbi, Turkey”, Son-in-Law, Rich, & Rev. Rich