I once heard Mark Driscoll explain something that was somewhat eye-opening to me.
He said something along the lines of, “Growing up, somewhere between the picture books and flannel graphs, I got the impression that Jesus was a feminine hippie with a lot of hair product. One day, I realized: I don’t have respect for this guy because I could beat him up.”
He went on to point out that, even during Jesus’ first visit to Earth, he had many ‘manly’ characteristics. He was a carpenter, so likely strong and rough. He spent most of his time camping with His disciples, and the pharisees made Him so angry that he consistently mocked them to their face.
But, more to the point, when He comes again, there will be nothing soft or ‘hippie-ish’ about Him. He’s coming to start (and finish) a war.
Then I saw(W) heaven opened, and behold,(X) a white horse! The one sitting on it is called(Y) Faithful and True, and(Z) in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12(AA) His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are(AB) many diadems, and he has(AC) a name written that no one knows but himself. 13He is clothed in(AD) a robe dipped in[d] blood, and the name by which he is called is(AE) The Word of God. 14And the armies of heaven,(AF) arrayed in fine linen, white and pure,(AG) were following him on white horses. 15(AH) From his mouth comes a sharp sword(AI) with which to strike down the nations, and(AJ) he will rule them with a rod of iron.(AK) He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh(AL) he has a name written,(AM) King of kings and Lord of lords.
So, just a quick recap: A warrior on a horse with a sword coming out of His mouth, with a robe dipped in blood, a name tattooed on His leg, and itching for a fight with everything evil.
Add an announcer and you have a scene from WWF smack-down.
Put that on a flannelboard….
I’m writing this because I’ve been reminded of it lately as J has grown up a little bit.
The other night, at the dinner table, J looked up and said, “Dad, I love good people. But I don’t love bad people. I will KILL them!”
Now, clearly, we have some serious work to do. I need to teach him that there is no such thing as a good person, and that Jesus already died FOR the bad people.
But he explained himself. I asked him, “What kind of bad people?“. And he said, “Like Goliath“.
What my son was saying that day was, “Dad, I want to be brave and I want to stand up against the bad guys! I’m not afraid. I’m a warrior!”
It’s in his DNA as a little boy.
Just like Kharis gets all of her shoes out and tries them on even though nobody taught her to, J beats up imaginary bad guys with invisible swords.
There’s some part of my parenting instinct that winces every time he does. I can see him at the playground getting carried away with “playing swords” with some kid who doesn’t understand the game and then trying to explain it to their parents.
But the last thing I want to do is try and suppress that natural desire that God gave him to be brave, strong, and to fight against “the bad guys”.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks…
J and I were driving to the store and we were rocking my new favorite windows-down-and-radio-up song, The Lord Is A Warrior by Matt Papa.
In it, he simply celebrates how God is the ultimate warrior and the ultimate Savior – both by dying for our sins and then by promising to destroy all evil that rejects His reign. It’s basically the resurrection plus Revelation 19 put to music.
You can listen to it here:[audio:http://www.therieslands.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/10-The-Lord-Is-A-Warrior-featuring-Shai-Linne.mp3]
(And once you realize that it’s awesome, you should go buy it.)
Anyways, back to the story:
J asked me, “What’s he singing about?”
I said, “He is singing about how the Lord is a Warrior. Do you know what a warrior is?”
“A warrior is like a strong fighter.”
“Jesus is a fighter?!!?!?!?”
“Yeah buddy. Jesus is the strongest fighter. He is the best hero ever.”
“YEAH! The best HERO! And whenever the bad guys want to hurt you, He will KILL THEM!”
We came home and J ran in and told his mom, “Mom! Jesus is a fighter and he gets ALL the bad guys and He ALWAYS wins!”
Theologically, my son is learning (and very excited about) God’s sovereignty and justice.
Now we just have to figure out how to communicate about grace, sacrifice, and love….
But I think most of us could use a little more of that perspective.
When is the last time you went up against something scary (illness, difficult relationship, financial hardship, etc) and pictured Jesus the warrior riding in front of you to fight your battle?
Kind of makes me want to break out my action figures….