22nd May 2022

The great disruptors

In the 2008 musical comedy Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog the titular character, Dr. Horrible struggles to explain his motivation for being a villain and wanting to disrupt society. He tells the viewers of his vlog: “And by the way, it’s not about making money, it’s about taking money. Destroying the status quo because the status is not… quo. The world is a mess and I just need to rule it.”

Like Dr. Horrible we can also have difficulty explaining exactly how to fix or change the world. All we know is that the “status is not quo” and something needs to change.

In first-century Jerusalem, the political and religious leaders of the time found themselves dealing with a gang of agitators who sought to change the status quo. This upstart group of fishermen and tax collectors had the nerve to accuse their leaders of an absurd crime: murdering God!

Since they were obviously dangerous malcontents, the leaders placed them under lock and key, warned them to be quiet, and considered the matter resolved. But the next day, the men were at it again—they’d escaped from prison without a soul noticing, and there they were in the courtyard, talking about this man Jesus who had been crucified.

Led by Peter, freed by an angel, and guided by the Holy Spirit, the apostles had entered the temple courts and begun preaching the Gospel boldly!

But the Gospel confounded the Pharisees who were defined by the status quo. When a group came declaring an exciting and hope-filled message of redemption, they threw them in jail to maintain their power and influence. They could not comprehend the inverted world order implied in Peter’s words:

“We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.” (Acts 5:29b-31 NIV)

Peter chose his words carefully, by referring to the Crucifixion as Jesus being hung on the tree, he brought to mind Deuteronomy 21:22-23 where we are told that such a man is cursed. For the Jewish rabbinical leaders this was inconceivable, here was this man Jesus, who should be cursed by the death he died – yet this man is now raised and exalted by God? Such a thing should not be! Who are these men that they would make such extraordinary claims?

Peter and the apostles were the great disruptors, the forerunners of every Christian since who has endured imprisonment, torture, and deprivation even to the point of death for the sake of the Gospel. For the sake of obeying God and not man.

Christians today are no strangers to acts of social disruption designed to bring about societal change. Yet in the clamour of opposing voices, the solutions being put forward usually aren’t much better than Dr. Horrible’s desire to rule. Unlike Dr. Horrible, Christians have been given insight into what needs to change. We are called to be great disruptors to the status quo by pointing to the solution – Jesus. We acknowledge the world’s a mess but we also acknowledge the mess is because we humans are trying to rule it without God. 

Peter reminds us to obey God and not man. When we do, we bring a message of hope that can transform the world. We share the good news that God has exalted Jesus. He is the prince and Savior who brings about repentance and forgiveness. He is the great disrupter. Disrupter for the good! He is the solution to the messes we see around us. He is the gospel. Let’s participate with him in disrupting the status quo and bringing beauty out of our messy world.

Presented by Greg Williams

 

About the presenter:
Greg Williams is President of Grace Communion International and lives in North Carolina, USA. Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International

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