It’s not about Phil Robertson
There’s nothing left to say about Phil Robertson that hasn’t already been said. Instead, I have some thoughts about discipleship. After watching Facebook blow up over the Duck Dynasty star’s controversy, and engaging in a frustrating conversation with an acquaintance, I found I had a bad taste in my mouth, and here’s why.
In John 6 Jesus is followed around by crowds of people looking for dinner and a show. He knew what they were after and told them so, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.” They didn’t get it and wanted to exploit his power for their own purposes. Some of them asked how they could get in on the act. So, “Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
Later on in Jesus’ ministry, Matthew 16 records Peter and Jesus getting into an argument. As things heat up Peter and the gang are hoping Jesus is about to be instated as a political leader to deliver the Jews from the oppression of Rome. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead Jesus prepares his disciples for his death.
But Peter is having none of that, he rebukes Jesus, and Jesus puts Peter in his place with “get behind me Satan” you’re not helping matters. Jesus points out, “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
As I’ve been reading in the gospels and meditating on Jesus’ life I hear an admonition there for all of us. Jesus refused to be used as a commodity to further man’s schemes. He did not come to set up an earthly, political kingdom, or even specifically to reform society. He didn’t come to be the next big miracle worker.
He came to serve.
Every instruction Jesus left for his disciples was in line with his own mission. “I washed your feet now wash each other’s, I carried my cross now carry yours, I died to my will and lived for my Father’s now you die and live for me, I made disciples now it’s your turn.”
I think Jesus would say the same thing to us in the 21st century, “you are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Jesus will refuse to become our first amendment poster boy, our political king, our dinner and a show.
In the last week I’ve watched people turn Jesus into a usable commodity for their political agenda or their charismatic thrill seeking. But I’ve seen very little discipleship, which looks like a person washing feet or dying to themselves.
We should be very careful that, just like good intentioned Peter, we don’t find ourselves on the back end of Jesus’ rebuke to us.
To speak plainly – Jesus is not our political pawn. He is our savior. Out of salvation flows transformation, reformation, and inspiration, first in our hearts and then throughout society. But that only comes as the beauty of grace draws hearts – not our hateful words. We should remember it was the kindness of God that drew us, what will draw those far from God, our indignation or our kindness? “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Romans 2:4
As for me, I laid down my rights at the cross, I won’t take them up to defend them again. Instead I will serve. Love isn’t subject to freedom or chains, rather the condition of our hearts.