Unsafe Jesus

Deliverance via Economic Disturbance

Jesus was a revolutionary. His message was radical. His followers were loyal. He was targeted by the occupying government and religious establishment. Then He was executed for manufactured crimes. While His followers continued His movement, they often had to do so in hiding. His revolution was not televised. His news was only spread by word.

Jesus was not safe. Such an antinomy it is, that following such an unsafe person is—in itself—the walking out of salvation. He is unsafe, and yet He saves. 

Weird, that so many who call ourselves “Christians” don’t live anything like Christ and prefer the sweet, savory, and safe Jesus over the savage one (ref. Savage Jesus, S. Furtick). Safe Christianity is a spiritual hobby, at best; a dangerous religious and self-righteous, power motivated force, at its worst. Unsafe Jesus moves us to be a force, but not in the pursuit of power. Any power gained should be redistributed for the benefit of those most vulnerable and powerless.

Luke 4:18-19 | “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

In my observation, one of the methods Jesus used to accomplish this good news proclaiming, prisoner freeing, sight restoring, deliverance and favor producing mission was economic disturbance. Jesus, while on earth, was provocative. He would sometimes do things that required attention and would get the people goin’. I think Jesus ruffled some financial feathers!

Now, money is NOT the main point of any of these examples. I just see an element of economic disturbance in each of them:

Devaluing the Dollar

When Jesus observed people paying their temple tax, in Luke 21:1-4, He remarked about a widow, who had given her last two cents. He suggested that what she gave was of more value than the larger contributions of individuals with wealth. How can the poor give more than the rich? Answer: when what the rich have isn’t worth much because they have so much of it (and they got it by taking from the widow to begin with).

Look at your current account balance. Add 4 zeros to the end of that and imagine that what you actually have is worth more than that number. That would disturb the economy.

Uncirculated Coins

In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus and Peter are going to the temple and need to pay their tax. They didn’t have the money, so Jesus told Peter to go fish and the fish he caught would have the money they need in it’s mouth. 

If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered to yourself at some time, “Why can’t they just print more money?” Well, #they could (and have). But generally speaking, in order for currency to maintain value, there can only be so much of it.

There were only so many coins the Roman government had in circulation. Jesus putting an extra coin into the circulation to prove a point is economic disruption. Without this coin, a case could have been made for keeping Jesus and Peter out of the temple that day. The poor and disenfranchised are excluded from things every day, for lack of money. Jesus had a bigger point to prove, and He was willing to disturb their economy to do it.

Taxation

The Roman government had occupied Israel. Part of their oppression of the Jewish people was to make them speak their language, follow their laws, and pay them taxes. Rather than sending the Roman IRS, they employed Jews to collect taxes from their own people. Part of the payoff they received for working for the feds was they could cheat and charge people whatever they wanted. 

Jesus disrupted this hustle too. One of those fed operatives He converted was Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13). Matthew was paid to turn on his own people and Jesus cut that money flow OFF. 

Changing Tables

When Jesus flipped the money changers’ tables and drove away their merchandise, He disturbed some economies! Those money changers and merchants probably relied on they lil’ scams to provide for themselves—and maybe even for their families. Now they had to go home with nothing…at least for that day. 

Jesus was more concerned about the injustices taking place, and fulfilling prophecy, than the money and merch those guys lost. 

JESUS MAFA. Jesus drives out the merchants, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.
Jesus drives out the merchants – John 2:13-16

Legion Rgn (Region lol)

This is my favorite! 

Jesus steps off the boat, after a partially stormy night on the sea, and right away a demon possessed man approaches Him and falls to His feet. The demons (they spoke to Jesus and said it was a gang of ‘em up in there) begged Jesus, that when He cast them out of the man, that He not make them leave the area. 

Jesus obliged and sent them into the herd of pigs they had selected for themselves. These now demon possessed pigs all run themselves into the water and drown. The whole stock. All the inventory. About 2000 pigs. Gone. 

The men who were tending to the herd ran and told the people in town what just happened. Jesus stepped on the scene, and in a moment…. He disturbed their economy. So much so, that the townspeople were like, “Say man, you gots to GO! We can’t have you over here casting out town demons and messing with our finances.” …that’s how they said it in my head. 

See, these people were used to the demon possessed man who hung out in the graveyard. They preferred him hurting rather than healed. Possessed rather than poised. This man being clothed and in his right mind (not clothed in his right mind—stop that) became a liability to this town. They never tried to help him; they only ever tried binding him and locking him up. Freeing him did not appear to be on their agenda.

Basically What I’m Sayin’ Is…

The point I’m trying to make is that sometimes things seem to get a little disorderly on their way to being repaired, fulfilled, or made whole. In order to get people’s attention, we see that Jesus would use the things that seemed to matter to them. 

When we experience what feels like Jesus turning the tables in our own lives, I challenge that we should be thankful. Sometimes we have to be snatched out of an employment environment for Jesus to have His way with our hearts. Like Jesus, some people may not want us around when we demons begin to get cast.

Society can be the same way. In order to bring about change, the economy has to be disturbed. Racists may lose jobs. Public health and safety guidance may force business models to change… or may force some people out of business, opening the door for them to get into other business. 

What is good news to the poor might not be so great to the rich. Freedom for prisoners may disturb the economy of those who count on the imprisonment of others. Blind eyes being opened can expose some things. Freedom for the oppressed will impact the oppressor. And Sallie Mae is NOT gonna like the year of the Lord’s favor!

Jesus saves, but He ain’t always safe!


Photo: JESUS MAFA. Jesus drives out the merchants, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48271 [retrieved June 16, 2020]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr (contact page: https://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr/contact).


Keith Goosby II is the founding minister of NET Church. He has served in ministry for over 20 years, in various capacities–including music, social media management, teaching, preaching, consulting, and leadership. Keith’s first church experience as a child was a home church. Since then, he has attended and served at churches sizing from just a few to over 10,000–of various denominations and affiliations. As NET Church is being planted, Keith continues to serve at his Dallas home church, Golden Gate MBC, in Dallas, TX, under the leadership of Minister Vincent T. Parker. Keith is married and currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife and three sons.


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