Duration 6 Weeks
Taken from Tim Keller’s book, Hope in Times of Fear, our Sundays throughout Lent will show the upside-down nature of the Gospel, in which God uses the foolish things to shame the wise, the weak things to shame the strong, the lowly things to shame the proud. And in doing so, ushers into the world through our believing hearts a hope that cannot fail.
The Gospel always takes us by surprise, always keeps us off balanced. It comes as that two-edged sword, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. Those things that the world loves—strength, power, pride and success—are the very thing that this God overthrows with his upside-down kingdom.
It is a horrible feeling when picking sides for the game when you are the last one chosen. But in God’s Subversive Hope, all that changes with the last becoming first and the first becoming last. From Gideon to Jephthah, Jacob to Moses, throughout the Bible, God chooses the least likely to transform his world.
What skeletons do you have in your family’s closet? The lineage of Jesus contains several that those concerned about a perfect bloodline would just as soon omit. Prostitutes, foreigners, unwed mothers and adulterers—the women nobody wanted were just the ones that God raised up for a greater purpose.
You would be hard pressed to identify another group of people that the world over thousands of years has systematically tried to exterminate more than the Jews. And yet, we don’t encounter many Hittites today. Very few Amorites are our neighbors. Can’t remember the last conversation I had with a Babylonian. And yet the people whom everyone despised became the source of redemption for the whole world.
We want the storyline to go from weakness to strength, from rags to riches, from defeat to victory. But the storyline of the Bible looks completely different. Triumph through defeat, strength through weakness, even life through death.
It’s not that we don’t want to hear it. It’s that we want to hear it on our terms, in our ways, with our expectations. As the people celebrated Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, they had a preconceived notion of what the Gospel should be. When Jesus spoke of a different Gospel, they didn’t want to hear. Crucify him! Crucify him!