Upside Down World

Jesus came to the world as a revolutionary, showing us once and for all what it means to be a human.  He was radical, so radical in fact that it got him killed.  Clearly these ideas were dangerous to the powers of the world, but attractive and intoxicating to many others, the powerless.  His message was polarizing.  He made many enemies but also had devoted followers, so devoted that they would follow Jesus to their own deaths.
What was the world like before Christ came? Most people would probably be horrified by it.  The strong dominated the weak in every aspect.  Smaller nations were dominated by massive empires, subjects were dominated by their kings, slaves dominated by their masters, women dominated by men, poor dominated by rich.  This was seen as normal.  The strong had the right to assert their authority over the weak.  Being a bully was celebrated, and the meanest, most violent people rose to the top of society.  Julius Caesar was celebrated as a hero and a god because he killed a million enemies and enslaved a million more. The world today would be disgusted by this.  No politician would brag of genocide.  What changed?  Jesus came to the world and changed it.
Jesus lays it all out in the sermon on the mount.  He is clear that he has come to establish a kingdom that is upside down, opposite to the received wisdom of the day.  He tells the great crowds listening to him that the most blessed people are the meek, the poor, the downtrodden, the merciful and the peacemakers.  He flips the world upside down.  Although it may seem like the strong, the rich, the powerful, and the violent are blessed, they are not.  Many of his followers could not understand this at first.  Why would the lowest of society actually be the highest and most noble? Why would the most powerful actually be the most powerless?  Because this was the way it was always meant to be and Jesus is coming as a king to bring justice to the world.
His followers understand this after witnessing Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  God incarnate allowed Himself to be crucified out of love for the people that hate Him.  His followers would do the same and for the first 300 years of Christianity, followers of Jesus were prepared to be tortured or killed for their faith.  Because of Jesus they knew that humiliation was glory, poverty was wealth, suffering was comfort, and death at the hands of a persecutor was actually victory.  
The same is true today.  The powerful politicians, rich CEOs, and famous influencers are actually powerless, poor, and unknown to the kingdom that Jesus inaugurated.  In the true kingdom the weak are the powerful, the peacemakers are the leaders, the humble are the most exalted.  I often ask myself what kingdom am I actually pursuing?  Am I striving for glory, power, and riches, or am I striving for Jesus?
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