It was a heartbeat of restless freedom pounding against prison walls. It resounded across the empire, it incited a backlash of persecutions, it filled the Collusium with martyrs, it stirred confusion.
But still, walls kept crumbling. The helpless emerged from their dark, social prisons erected by the elite dynasties of the Roman Empire, dazed but elated.
It was a revolution that smashed through all barriers: slave and master, male or female, Greek or Jew, any and all sacred roles that locked people in prisons were denounced and despised by God:
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall. (Eph. 2:13-14)
It was God’s unique purpose for the church on earth, and a source of warmth in 1st -Century Body Life. It embodied the Great Commission, and it set Christian gatherings apart from all other Kosmos societies like a light blazing on a hill. This is The Great Mystery of Christ which Paul describes in Ephesians: God’s love for man smashing social barriers to reach all peoples and all nations!
…the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Ephesians 3:4-6
This is what Martin Luther King dreamed about, but he was wrong on this point:
“I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.” – Martin Luther King.
For those who know the Christ, it isn’t a dream, and it isn’t rooted in the American dream. It’s a Social Revolution, the ekklesia, firmly rooted in the Great Mystery of Christ which has been revealed.
A Social Revolution
The Great Mystery of Chrst is social defiance: we are the recipients of God’s radical blueprint for revolution. It is called the ekklesia. and it was prophesied long ago, headed by The Branch:
“And those who are far off will come and build the temple of the LORD.” – Zech. 6:11
Paul echos these same words in the New Testament, talking about the ekklesia:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” – Eph. 2:11
The force bringing together such far-flung, divided peoples is “the Branch” of Zechariah’s prophecy, Jesus Christ, as Paul describes Him:
AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR…So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household…” Eph.2:17-19
What a fulfillment of Zechariah’s Branch prophecy! “Those who are far off will come and build the temple of the LORD,” as Paul describes in a crescendo of glory, are none other than you and I:
Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. – Ephesians 2:20-22.
Owners of a Revolution
How relieved we are to live at a time when the great Mystery of Christ is revealed! Our own salvations were possible because a long chain of Christians crashed headlong through social barriers to reach our doorstep!
Along with our good fortune, we also inherited the stewardship of God’s blueprint. While older Christians may develop enough maturity to love with sacrifice, we still need to crash the geographical, racial and national dividing walls. Our progress is lethargic and incomplete.
Observe how rebellious churches grow complacent, then spiritually dense! They become at odds with the leadership of Jesus Christ, facing a crisis of Laodicean proportions. With Jesus there is no confusion: be assured He will move forward, and our agreement is passé.
For NEO Xenos this point is especially urgent to embrace, because we only need to look over our shoulders at our recent past to see a trail of Christians still trapped behind the dividing walls of personal peace and affluence. These are the extolled virtues of American myth which Jesus Christ despises, and He exposes the illusion:
“You say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” Jesus Christ, in Rev. 3:17
The warmth and excitement of Body Life belongs to hearts responding to God’s prolonged and patient call to reach beyond artificial social barriers, no matter what the cost, no matter how weak or feeble. It is the church of Philadelphia:
“Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” Rev. 3:8
In the long term, as we build a truly stable Great Commission ethos, Jesus Christ will lead us in a charge against the more distant and difficult social walls. Only then can we say with confidence that NEO Xenos is a Great Commission ekklesia.
We are able to live and taste what Martin Luther King talked about, and properly understood, from God’s Word: the prophecy given long before the coming of Christ, when God would effect a revolution:
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. – Martin Luther King
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