Rebel­lion

Broth­ers, a short while ago I was read­ing an arti­cle by a Chris­t­ian (likely a Catholic). In the piece, he gave some token accep­tance of God’s require­ment to obey and heed author­ity. Then he said some­thing like

But when faced with a tyrant, it is our God given duty to remove him. I thought Waaaa…?

How often is being a rebel, rebel­lious or rebel­lion itself men­tioned in the bible? It is over 100 times.

How often does God men­tion rebel­lion in a pos­i­tive light? I haven’t found one.

Well then, what does the Lord have to say about obe­di­ence and author­ity? The story of King David and King Saul in the Old Tes­ta­ment is a good place to start1. Saul was the Lord’s anointed, but he chose to defy God’s direct orders in order to increase his wealth and to look good in front of his men. Samuel, the prophet of God, tells Saul He has been rejected by God and that Saul’s neigh­bor will now become king. Samuel anoints David as the new King of Israel while Saul is still the king. David becomes a great war­rior and a favorite of the peo­ple, incur­ring Saul’s jeal­ousy and wrath. Saul tries to kill David on many occa­sions. Two dif­fer­ent times, an unarmed and unpro­tected Saul is within David’s grasp, but both times David refused to harm Saul and hon­ors him as the Lord’s anointed. David fig­ures God anointed Saul and made him king, so God should remove Saul.

Jesus said: I am the way, the truth and the life. We should fol­low all that Jesus does and believe what

He teaches is true in order to live abun­dant lives.

In the New Tes­ta­ment, remem­ber the story of 12 year old Jesus in the tem­ple, how does it end? And he said to them, “Why were you look­ing for me? Did you not know I must be in my Father’s house?” He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obe­di­ent to them; and His mother kept all these things in her heart2. This 12 year old boy real­izes He is God, and his 1st pri­or­ity is to be obe­di­ent to His parents!

How about the story of Jesus’ bap­tism? He comes to John in the desert and John tries to refuse Him bap­tism. After all, Jesus is the Son of God and sin­less, He has noth­ing to repent. Yet: Jesus said to him in reply. “Allow it for now, for thus it is fit­ting for us to ful­fill all right­eous­ness.” After Jesus was bap­tized, he came up from the water and behold, the heav­ens opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descend­ing like a dove and com­ing upon Him. And a voice came from the heav­ens, say­ing, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”.3 Once again, Jesus does the will of the Father, as an exam­ple for us.

What was Jesus’ teach­ing about the author­i­ties of His day, the Scribes and the Phar­isees? In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus addressed this issue too (quote): Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his dis­ci­ples, say­ing “The scribes and Phar­isees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.

There­fore, do and observe allthings what­so­ever they tell you, but do not fol­low their exam­ple. For they preach but they do not.

practice”.4 Here Jesus is specif­i­cally telling His fol­low­ers they must fol­low the rules handed down by the author­i­ties, but they should not fol­low their exam­ple, that is, they should not imi­tate those who are in author­ity. Then He pro­ceeds to exco­ri­ate the Scribes and Phar­isees for miss­ing the whole point of the law, while mis­us­ing their author­ity and the law to enrich them­selves and boost their social status.

Con­cern­ing pay­ing taxes to the occu­py­ing army that had invaded the Jew­ish home­land Jesus said: Show me the coin that pays the cen­sus tax.” Then they handed Him a Roman coin. He said to them: “Whose image is this and whose inscrip­tion?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that He said to them, “Then repay to Cae­sar what belongs to Cae­sar and to God what belongs to God.5 Clearly, Jesus is sup­port­ing gov­ern­ment as the author­ity His dis­ci­ples must obey in all civil matters.

What about the Gar­den of Geth­se­mane? Jesus is under tremen­dous stress, He knows what is about to hap­pen, His prayer is: “Abba, Father, all things are pos­si­ble to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.6

Over and over again, Jesus trusts the Father’s will; He is obe­di­ent and respects author­ity. In the gar­den, He tells Peter to put his sword away. He doesn’t rebel and doesn’t tell His fol­low­ers to rebel either.

1 See 1 Samuel 15 to 25

2 Luke 3:49 & 51

3 Matthew 3:1517