Not the Christ We Expected: What if Christ Came as Meek and Mild As He Did the First Time?
With flame and sword, Christ is coming to abolish the strongholds of the enemy, to bring justice to his children, and establish his kingdom on earth. It is a time which has long been expected. Countless books have been written and countless people have looked to this awaited moment. This moment in history is not that dissimilar to the what existed 2000 years ago. All expected Christ’s coming. Piles of books were written on the topic. Many various speculations were debated among the religious and the learned. Would he come and judge immediately? How would he defeat the enemy’s great power? What will his kingdom be like? These same questions circulate within our own minds and communities as well.
The situation was far more grim for the Jews, however. Compared to the lives these ancient believers experience, the American Western context is paradise. The Jews lived under occupation by a foreign nation in a long string of occupations. Before it was Babylon, Persia, and Greece. Now the Romans ruled. Many longed to be free, to have the oppression of their enemies thrown off them and to be ruled by their true king directly.
This is no doubt the same cry made by many who live in oppression and persecution today. Many who live in certain regions of China and India face violent opposition. The coming of Christ is a great hope and comfort, especially to those in dire circumstances.
Both the ancient Jews and most contemporary Christians look to the coming Christ in fire, sword, and righteous judgement to establish the heavenly kingdom on earth.
What would happen if Christ did not come the way we expect? How would people, here and now, react to a Christ who came as meek and mild as he did the first time? Would people be upset? Would many reject this “Christ”? Would they point to the scriptures and prophecies and say, “This is what the scriptures declare! Christ comes in this exact manner, with sword and fire, and all will see him and be terrified!”
This is exactly the same way the Jews responded to Christ.
In the same manner in which we might respond to a coming Christ who might come in a manner not taught in our churches or interpreted through our scriptures, so too in like manner did the Jews respond to Christ. Their response in understandable, just as ours might be considered so. Everything they were taught and everything they expected of the messiah was different.
Jesus was a stumbling stone to the Jews. Why? Because he taught things that they never expected the Christ to teach. Because he came in a manner not expected. Just as the Jews struggled with his teachings, so too would we.
He declared in the famous sermon on the mount, love your enemies.
“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks from you, and from one who takes away your things, don’t ask for them back. Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do [what is] good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do [what is] good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:27-36
If Christ was coming and demolishing the Roman empire, destroying his enemies, and establishing his kingdom, how could he, let alone us, “love” his enemies like this?
And I wonder, if Christ came today in the same manner as he did the first time, would we recognize him? If he came in a manner which we did not expect, how would we react? How would we treat such a teaching like this in light of all that we expect the Christ to be and all that he is supposed to do?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
THEOLOGY21 is now undertaking a series which publishes every Thursday. Each week a new element of the topic If Christ Came Today, Rather than Thousands of Years Ago is undertaken. Leave a comment, Share a link, Help spread the word about THEOLOGY21.
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