The Disruptor Messiah
Matthew 21: 23-32
23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ 24 Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” 26 But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’ 27 So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
28 ‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” 29 He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
The business pages are full of stories of “disruptor” companies - businesses with ideas that reinvent markets and change the way our society functions. You only need to look at the Amazon warehouses near the Forth bridges or try to find a video store on the high street to see the changes technology has brought to the way our society functions.
This passage sees Jesus at his disruptive best. Anyone who tries to put the Christian faith into a box marked “establishment” or “tradition” is missing the point. Jesus took on not only the religious authorities but all the social structures and conventions which he saw that were breaking God’s design for community. Jesus seems to have a particular passion for the broken, the despised, the outcasts of his society.
How often do we think of “the Church” as the building, not the people? How often do we feel we’re not good enough to participate in church? How often do we feel it is a private club with secret rules and rituals?
The Jesus we meet in the Gospels is not meek or mild. He’s radical and challenging. He’s as clear as a mountain stream that the church is no place for grandstanding or cliques. It is a place where we can all confront, in safety and honesty our fears and failings.
Where do we stand? With the priests and elders, or with Jesus?
You have shown us that no-one is good enough to come before God, yet through your endless love and sacrifice, You have broken down all the barriers and we can be free from our guilt and failings.
We pray that we, being the people of God, will show compassion and love to the broken in our communities. Let us be a bridge, not a barrier, to people coming to know you.