Thinking about Jesus as Rebel and as Obedient Son

One group of people see Jesus and relate to him easily as the listening and obedient son of the Father God. This is so perhaps because these people are looking for a certain kind of Jesus; a Jesus that lives a vibrant interior life with God, whose everyday life is ordered by kind supernatural interaction. What this group of people often doesn’t relate to is Jesus as the passionate rebel. At least for me, accepting Jesus as rebel sometimes seems too close to reality, too close to a kind of life where I would be held responsible for my actions; rebels are hanged if caught, I remember with a shudder.

But there is also a group of people who relate much easier to Jesus as the passionate rebel. They see him standing up for those who have no social legs to stand up for themselves, they see him overturn the tables of injustice, opting for fairness and reconciliation over individual profit. This group often finds it hard to see the usefulness of a Jesus who is a listening and obedient son; to them (and to me sometimes), it seems too escapist and far away from the reality of suffering people. To use an image of what ‘Jesus’ this group fears: Jesus alone praying on the mountain, seemingly helping nobody. This is a problematic image for this group (just as Jesus physically defending the cause of the poor people is a problematic image for the other group).

But what if Jesus were both passionate rebel and obedient son at the same time? Not only this, but what if one of these two characteristics were the essential cause of the other? Well, we will have to do some stretching because…

Jesus is the passionate rebel, pleading and defending the cause of the poor because he is the listening and obedient son.

To return to the above image, Jesus cannot bring a freeing voice to our world without going up the mountain to be with the Father God, listening to what that freeing voice is saying.

– Joel Mason

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