There is another command we need to my last post’s The 7 Basic Commands of Yeshua (Jesus) – George Patterson. Sorry, dear George, but I really think there is an 8th.
FIGHT FOR THE OPPRESSED
Here are some Scripture verses on it:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19 TNIV)
Think about that. This was essentially Yeshua’s mission on earth. And He made it clear that this is also His followers’ mandate:
Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” (John 20:21 NLT)
And in one of Yeshua’s last prayers on earth, He called out to the Father:
Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. (John 17:18 NLT)
Just look at how Yeshua will assess people on Judgement Day:
31″When the Son of Man comes in his glory, accompanied by all the angels, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats. 33 The `sheep’ he will place at his right hand and the `goats’ at his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest, 36 I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the people who have done what God wants will reply, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and make you our guest, or needing clothes and provide them? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ 40The King will say to them, `Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me!’ 41 “Then he will also speak to those on his left, saying, `Get away from me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels! 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 a stranger and you did not welcome me, needing clothes and you did not give them to me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they too will reply, `Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, needing clothes, sick or in prison, and not take care of you?’ 45 And he will answer them, `Yes! I tell you that whenever you refused to do it for the least important of these people, you refused to do it for me!’ 46 They will go off to eternal punishment, but those who have done what God wants will go to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46 CJB)
You cannot assist those needing food, drinks & clothes, strangers, the ill, and prisoners – that is, the Marginalised, those whom the government, corporations and society in general have thrown by the wayside – without becoming involved in activities that counteract this marginalisation.
What is freedom if it simply means a Ticket to Heaven?
Last night, I met an older Christian couple who stated repeatedly:
The older you get, the more you realise that nothing matters except knowing Jesus, and knowing that you’ll be with Him when you die.
I would reply that to know Yeshua is to know that He is Messiah, the Anointed One, the Prince of Peace who fights for people’s freedom. With Him, we have “shalom”, the ancient Hebrew word for holistic peace that pervades every area of our lives, including our soul condition, health-wise, emotionally, intellectually, financially, relationally, socially, etc. As we have these blessings, we have to fight for others to receive them too.
And simply knowing that when I die, I get to avoid Hell and enjoy Heaven is a pretty selfish motive to keep me going through life. Sure, I’m happy that I have confidence about my future. Great. Big deal. What about everyone around me?
And what about our life on earth? Is this Messianic faith simply a “Pie In The Sky In The Sweet By and By”? Isn’t this how the Americans controlled their African slaves: by teaching them to look to their future in Heaven and not focusing at all on their present oppression? Who’s going to really believe such a stupid religion?
In reality, Yeshua is a Freedom Fighter, and He calls us to fight alongside with Him. For the oppressed. For the marginalised.
Some Right Wingers will poo-poo this and accuse us of Marxising the Messiah, buying into socialistic liberation theology.
Well, probably because these pro-Right ningkumpoops themselves read their Bibles with one eye closed, they miss out on the 100s of verses commanding us to get off our arses and fight for the poor and needy. Which means ourselves and our families and communities first.
These Righties love to point out the apostle Paul’s commands to “obey the authorities”, and Peter’s admonition to “submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake”. If it were that black and white, why did Yeshua himself antagonise the ruling Herodians, Pharisees, Saducees, and Sanhedrin daily while He sojourned among us? Why did Yeshua call Herod a curse word, a “fox”, which perhaps was our equivalent to “***hole”? Why did Yeshua basically tell the Pharisees and their followers to go to Hell?
The Right Wingers would like to tell everyone to obey THEIR own chosen authorities, of course. And if socialists are in power, the Right has no problem supporting their own version of Dietrich Boenhoffer or “freedom fighters” or poor persecuted folks under Soviet or Islamic or other forms of authority. The Christian Right has built up an entire Persecution Industry for people they claim are being oppressed or killed for their faith in Christ. However, this persecution awareness promotion is often done with American or other Western nations’ geopolitical interests in mind. How’s about reporting all the people murdered, tortured and marginalised by the Christian Right and their buddies.
Obviously Yeshua wasn’t a Righty. Nor was He a Lefty. He came with His own method, and His own agenda. And the Western Christian churches of Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and sectarian stripes have all hijacked His movement. And we Messianic Liberationists and anyone with similar values, well, we’re taking it back!
And here are some other verses advising us to stand up for the poor and oppressed:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice. (Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT)
Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why Yah blessed him. He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 22:15-16 NLT)
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. (Isaiah 1:17 NLT)
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James 1:29 NLT)
The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. (Proverbs 29:7 NIV)
Walter Wink, a theologian, gave us another view of Yeshua than the Western Christian Right provides. According to Wink, in face of oppression, common reactions are either FLIGHT: submission, passivity, withdrawal, surrender, and FIGHT: armed revolt, violent rebellion, direct retaliation, revenge.
Instead of FLIGHT and FIGHT, Wink points out JESUS’ THIRD WAY:
• Seize the moral initiative
• Find a creative alternative to violence
• Assert your own humanity and dignity
as a person
• Meet force with ridicule or humor
• Break the cycle of humiliation
• Refuse to submit or to accept the
• Expose the injustice of the system
• Take control of the power dynamic
• Shame the oppressor into repentance
• Stand your ground
• Make the Powers make decisions for which
they are not prepared
• Recognize your own power
• Be willing to suffer rather than retaliate
• Force the oppressor to see you in a new light
• Deprive the oppressor of a situation where a
show of force is effective
• Be willing to undergo the penalty of breaking
• Die to fear of the old order and its rules
While I don’t agree with everything in these web pages with similar themes, I think they can give you a taste of the reality that MESSIAH = ONE WHO RESCUES OTHERS FROM OPPRESSION (whether it’s from Right or Left or any religion, philosophy or worldview):
- http://www.ualberta.ca/~cbidwell/DCAS/third.htm (more about Walter Wink)
- http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/03/12/beck.boycott/index.html Jim Wallis challenging Glen Beck
Rescuing others means CHALLENGING, not sitting on your arse and going along with the System, or as I call it, the Matrix.
So which Yeshua do you choose:
THE RIGHT WING WARRIOR YESHUA
NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE YESHUA WHO FREES THE OPPRESSED
PUFFTER DO-NOTHING JES’-GIMME-A-TICKET-TO-HEAVEN-OR-RAPTURE-ME-THE-HELL-OUTA-THIS-PLACE-WHEN-THE-GOING-GETS-ROUGH YESHUA