2020 has been a year of frustrations for everyone. With the economic disruptions and the increased health and safety issues, we frankly have had too much time on our hands. What have we done with that time? Complained. Sometimes loudly and sometimes violently. Here is a list of four ways that God’s people protested frustrating social issues in the Gospels.
1. Attacking Police and Robbing merchants
Yes. If you thought that the violent protests we see on the news or perhaps experienced firsthand are something new, you are sadly mistaken. These kinds of protests have been going on for thousands of years all over the world. Every time it happens there are people who take advantage of the situation to steal, kill, and destroy for their own personal gain – regardless of what the specific issue may be. Who are those professional protestors in the gospels? Look no further than Barrabas, who was traded for Jesus and got out of hanging on his own cross. He was part of a group who would eventually be known as the Zealots.
2. Making New Laws
Those who want to make lasting changes often try to get new laws passed or former laws revoked. No more “”no-knock”” warrants, added enforcement of health codes, lawsuits, lawsuites, and more lawsuits. Who were the lawyers of the Gospels? Look no further than the Pharisees. Nicodemus may be the most famous of them all for asking the question of Jesus that got us John 3:16.
3. Putting on a Show
This one is a little more subtle. The Sadducees focused on keeping the status quo, and they did that by putting on the appearance of being inclusive, while fighting to stay in power themselves. Whether this is moving statues or creating new ones, broadcasting big promotions to appeal to the populace, or making big promises with little to back it up, this group got other people to do their dirty work willingly in order to stay in power. They paid Judas off to get to Jesus and they put on the show to please the crowds at passover, sending Jesus to the cross. Then they, like Pontius Pilate, tried to wash their hands and pretend they were innocent.
4. Running Away
Sometimes it just seems easier to run away from the conflict and take a vacation until things calm down. We’ve all probably been there at one time or another. However, some people go to the extreme and make it a permanent vacation, retreating to places like Alaska, Greenland, or retreating to an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. People did not travel that far back in the time of the Gospels, but they did retreat and build homes in the wilderness caves outside of Jerusalem and other cities. This group is known as the Essenes, and one of the most famous ones is John the Baptist, although he was not a very good Essene because he came out of hiding and engaged the people of Judea down by the Jordan River. That faithfulness to preach repentance peacefully cost him his life.
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