Jesus was the most radical person who ever lived and still is!
When Jesus came on the scene two thousand years ago and started teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven and what God was really like, He encountered two groups of people. People who loved Him and wanted true freedom, and people who felt that He threatened everything they stood for and was going to take their power and authority away from them.
His teaching went against all the man-made traditions that had been handed down for centuries and showed the people of Israel what God really wanted. The Pharisees and ruling religious leaders of the day were jealous of the attention and love that Jesus received, and were mad because every time they turned around Jesus was showing them how wrong they were. In the end they got their hearts’ desire and had Him killed, not realizing that this was the plan of God for the salvation of the world all along.
So what sort of things did Jesus teach that were so radical that the Pharisees wanted Him dead? Let’s take a look at three of them.
1. Forgiveness of sins
In Jewish culture sins could only be forgiven through blood sacrifice, and according to the religious elite, you could only be righteous through obeying certain rules, many of which were not even in the Bible.
Even worse, once you hit a certain level of sin in your life you were considered unredeemable and worthless. You were banished to live a life of loneliness and despair. In some cases, your family considered you dead. Society extended no grace or mercy to these people.
Then Jesus came and He taught and demonstrated that sins can be forgiven and that any life can be redeemed, even those that society considered completely lost. You can see this in Luke 7 in the story of the woman with the alabaster jar. She was a sinner who came and washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and poured expensive perfumed oil on them. This happened at a Pharisee’s house and he was mad because Jesus was letting a ‘sinner’ touch him.
But look at Jesus’ response: “‘Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.’ Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:47-48).
2. Love and acceptance
“For God so loved the world…” John 3:16a. The most radical thing about Jesus was His love. He loved everyone, even those who hated Him and betrayed Him. His love was never dependent on what someone did for Him. He loved and still loves because that is who He is.
In Jewish and Roman culture, certain types of people were shunned and rejected from society. If you belonged to the wrong class, you were not deserving of any good thing, including love. While society has changed its view on who is “in” and who is “out”, the principle of a class system still remains today. There are still people who are considered lower than the low, whom no one should come near, let alone love.
But that is exactly what Jesus did: He went to them, He touched them, He loved them unconditionally and He still does today. He still reaches out to the highest of the high and to the lowest of the low with a message of love, acceptance and belonging.
For me there is nothing more radical than the love of Jesus that defies all cultural standards.
God’s healing is still radical today! Most people just can’t understand it or accept it though it is still needed today as much as ever.
Acts 10:38 says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” God’s heart is to heal people, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too!
Some people think that healing is no longer available, but it is. In Hebrews 13:8 the writer says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” So if God healed then he heals now.
Just yesterday I received an amazing testimony of God’s healing. My friend Mary’s daughter was diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks ago. They had found a good-sized tumour and the prognosis wasn’t good.
Mary came to her church family broken-hearted for the daughter she loved. She knew that God heals but at that moment she was still in shock. We encouraged her to hold onto the Lord and not to give into the fear and we as a church body began to pray and trust God for a miracle.
Yesterday, I got a text from Mary. When they went in to remove the tumour it was so small that they could barely find it! They had to search and search for it. They were finally able to find a very small piece and now instead of having to administer rounds of chemo they are going to check her in seven days and maybe put some iodine on the area to keep any other growths from coming back. Our God still heals today!
They are available for you too!
Because God does not change, forgiveness, love and healing are available to you right now. If you have never experienced God’s forgiveness for your sins, come to Him with an open heart, confess what you have done wrong and He will forgive you, His love will overwhelm you and His healing will make you whole in your body, mind, soul and spirit.
What’s more, God invites us to live a radical life and demonstrate His love, His forgiveness and His healing to this broken world. Will everyone accept you? No. If people hated Jesus, there will be those who hate you too, but that should never stop you from ministering to those He has called you to minister to.
Be a radical lover, who walks in forgiveness and healing like Jesus did. Your life will never be the same again as you see the world changed for Jesus!
~ By Kim Thompson-Pinder