By Nathan Decker
“Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power.”
– Seth Berkley, American scientist
We need to impeach Jesus. He isn’t living up to our image of a messiah warrior or a superstar savior. He seems more interested in the poor and the lame than in the strong and the brave. When we crown Jesus king, we want him to be a gun-toting Rambo rabbi with a tattoo of the American flag on one arm and a heart on the other with the letters MOM in the middle. Instead we get a weakling hanging on the cross who doesn’t even last a full day of torture. Impeach Jesus.
While I’m not sure about the political discussion happening in our nation today, I am sure of how the disciples tried to force Jesus to focus on power and his reaction. In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples who people say he is. They throw out rockstar prophets and even resurrected glory. Then Peter has a moment of clarity. “You are the Christ.”
Jesus then proceeds to tell them how he will go to Jerusalem, die, and rise in three days. This isn’t the Jesus for whom Peter was looking. Peter feels betrayed. Peter imagined a powerful Jesus who would call down angels, hell-fire brimstone, crush enemies of the people and restore national pride. Peter was focused on power, politics and his own principle interests. It is during this fateful moment that Peter who was the “rock upon which I will build my church” gets demoted when Jesus says, “Get behind me Satan.”
We are a lot like Peter. We often want to view the world through our means, ability and power, rather than see the possibilities that come from following a visionary Christ who calls us to be responsible for how we love God, one another, and care for where we live. We don’t like it when God’s view of how things should be doesn’t sit well with our own. We know better than the Creator how to manage things down here. We want to impeach Jesus, dethrone God and tell the Spirit exactly where she can blow.
If we are disciples, however, we keep following Jesus. If we are disciples we keep following his vision and call for lives lived by the law of compassion. I have to hand it to Peter. Even after Jesus told him off; he didn’t leave. He stuck with him through the journey to Jerusalem. Sure, he denied him in his fear for his own life, but he was there. He followed. Tradition holds that Peter was also crucified like his Lord.
As followers of Jesus, more now than in previous generations, we must allow Christ to be Lord of our hearts, our views, our behaviors and our conversations. Our world needs the people of faith to show that we can be a community focused on mercy, love and grace. Instead of asking God to bless our way, shouldn’t we ask about his way? After all, it’s what Jesus would do.
“Jesus responded,‘You are wrong because you don’t know either the Scriptures or God’s power.’”
– Matthew 22:29