They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor. They will do these things because they never really understood the Father. I’ve told you these things so that when the time comes and they start in on you, you’ll be well-warned and ready for them. -Jesus, John 16:1-4
What would cause a church to throw someone out and feel like it’s what God wanted them to do?
This happens all the time. Even if bystanders have a deep feeling things aren’t being handled properly, they can’t reconcile what they feel with the reasoning their church gives. Churchy talk can go a long way with a group of people who don’t know anything other than what their leaders tell them. Even if something deep within them is unsettled, they dismiss it and stay under the cover of the bylaws instead of taking a risk on grace. Maybe they’re afraid that if they speak up, they’ll be kicked out, too.
The religious homeless have the best seats in this story. On the surface, you would think the pressed out, backcombed, polish tipped alter professional would be the crowned jewel, but that’s not the case. The transient, ruffians with salty tongues and a raw diet of grace and wild grown sanctification are the ones with the golden ticket. Ragamuffins. Outcasts. A band of spirit led gypsies.
If you’re there and you’re feeling left out of the religious red carpet fashion show, then take this as a reminder. They don’t like you because they don’t understand you. They don’t know where you’re coming from and you make them feel uncomfortable. Their pride wells, up and they fight it. Their muscles ache to run, but they massage it away. You cause them pain because something deep within them knows that they’re supposed to be free, but they don’t know how. They’re the earners, the achievers, the competitors. They need to do this thing their own way, in their own strength, so they can beat their chest at the top of this mountain. Stake their claim of property and settle down on their throne. They hate it when you saunter in late and get paid the same wage.
When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’
“Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’
“He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’
“Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.” -Jesus, Matthew 20:8-16
It has to be antagonizing to do everything you know to be who you think you should be and watch someone else not be so conscientious and still get the same serving. When compared to time and effort, they’re actually getting paid more. The more need, the more provision. Makes personal strife in the matters of religious gain seem the same kind of useless as complete disregard of morality for selfish satisfaction. They both end up in the same spot with the same pay.
Why do they throw you out of the meeting places? Because you represent something they can’t stand. You’re disregard for tradition and ‘brand’ are intolerable. Not when you’re the only one who doesn’t seem to want to ‘wear more flair.’ Seriously, most just want to get passed the regulatory b.s. so they can get on with their worship and ‘fellow-shipping.’ They can’t get to the table of food because everyone is questioning their level of devotion.
You know what, Stan, if you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair? -Joanna; Office Space
Jesus changed everything when he sauntered into town. His attitude was unacceptable to the churchy people. I see him with a road worn swagger and air of ‘I’m not from here.’ Like a traveling band of rock stars excited about a truck stop bathroom. People were drawn to him and a little afraid of Him. He cared more about fringe people than he did about the way he was perceived. He nestled in the uncultivated, uncolored part of the picture because he didn’t belong to the time warped civilization of religious pretension and narcissism. They hated Jesus because they thought he’d come in and validate them and their efforts and he didn’t. He didn’t even attend their multi-media, U2 song covered, fake fog saturated church service. He went straight to the seedy part of town and made friends with the guy who never showers because his beer glass never stops refilling itself. Most choke on their communion grape juice if they saw who he was sitting by when he should have been sitting in their synagog.
If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you. -Jesus, John 15:18-19
If Jesus had kept his mouth shut drinking wine at birthday parties and talking to women he shouldn’t have been talking to, then he wouldn’t have gotten in so much trouble. But he didn’t. He walked into towns and was met by the neighborhood holy gunslingers. The religious villains keeping the towns people scared and compliant. He bypassed their intimidation dance and started unravelling the ropes the law tied them with. They questioned his authority, they accused him of being a heretic, they tried to undermine his message by casting doubt on his reputation. They scrambled to out smart him, to intimidate him and to make him keep his mouth shut. But it didn’t work.
They are going to do all these things to you because of the way they treated me, because they don’t know the One who sent me. If I hadn’t come and told them all this in plain language, it wouldn’t be so bad. As it is, they have no excuse. Hate me, hate my Father—it’s all the same. If I hadn’t done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn’t be to blame. But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father. -Jesus, John 15:21-24
When these people did this to him and they do it to you, just notice the irony that they are confirming the very scriptures they quote when they are trying to condemn you (or ‘speak truth in love’ as they like to call it).
Interesting—they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, ‘They hated me for no good reason.’ -Jesus, John 15:25
Jesus was who he said he was and he went back from where he came. He sent the Holy Spirit to stay with us and help guide us. Jesus started this whole thing and he’s asking us to continue it. You’re not going to be treated better than he was, so when it happens, just expect it and shrug it off.
Your calling is to join this ‘thug life’ and carry out the work he started.
When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes—the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father—he will confirm everything about me. You, too, from your side must give your confirming evidence, since you are in this with me from the start. -Jesus, John 15:26-27