Would you want to be a part of a kingdom where to live you first must die; to be first you begin by being last; to be a leader you must be a servant; to be a member you are both chosen and free to choose membership? Sounds like a rather strange kingdom but it gets stranger. This kingdom’s one God exists in 3 separate and distinct persons who are one in essence, substance, nature and who sent his only Son to save its members from their own sins. That Son was born in a barn. That Son was a poor carpenter who never married or even dated yet is an authority on all relationships and though died on the cross at age 33 has lived forever. Though most of the religious people of His time didn’t recognize him, the demons he encountered always did. He fulfilled 353 biblical prophecies about himself yet was rejected by most of his fellow Jews.
Though he only ministered three years, he started the largest religious community in the world with 2.3 billion members and even the second largest religion, Islam, with 1.8 billion members, speaks well of him and He is the most mentioned person in their holy book, The Quran, where He’s named in 93 verses and mentioned directly or indirectly 187 times.
Hindu’s, the third largest religious group with 1.1 billion members, speak well of Jesus and the Buddhist’s Dalai Lama does as well and sees him as “spiritually mature, good and warm hearted person” though he doesn’t actually represent the fourth largest religious community with 520 million Buddhists but is probably their best known and most popular adherent.
There are approximately 15 million Jews in the world and the religious of that group believe the same first 5 books of the Old Testament of the Bible as the Christians do. A small percentage of Jews believe that Jesus is their Messiah though most do not but still believe positive things about Him.
What if the 2.3 billion Christians adopted Jesus’ upside down approach to life? What if we stopped focusing on the many things that divide us and started dialoging with the rest of the religious communities about the one person we all seem to have something positive to say, Jesus? And, what if we used His communication styles by comforting the hurting; challenging the meek; and confronting the skeptics by being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slower still to get angry? What if we met each person at their point of need, and not according to our own agendas, with the life changing power of His Word by listening, telling stories and relating to them since dialogue done correctly is communication which translates into relationships which fosters communities which have the power to change each participant and the world? What could happen if 2.3 billion believers got out of the box and adopted His upside down approach to people? Too simple, isn’t that one of the same criticisms Jesus heard?
Stay tuned for more on upside down folks who are changing the world.