I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to make the statement that it appears that our society is in search of a messiah figure. Too often that ends up being a search in the political realm of life – a search for a political and/or partisan messiah who will save the nation/party/etc.
I also don’t think that this is anything new. We’ve actually been doing this for some time. I remember when Obama got elected and all the adulation for him, with some going so far as to call him a messiah.
But this isn’t even an American sin. Go back through history, the search for messiah and the foisting it on a human is ancient. Emperors of old were considered gods sent to save their people. But only their people. Everyone else is an outsider and doesn’t deserve saving supposedly. And of course, that person died and then the search for a new messiah began. It’s the story of human history. And yet we think this time it will be different.
Maybe part of the reason we do this is because we don’t want to recognize that the Messiah looks far different from what we want.
The Messiah who saves us isn’t interested in nationalism or America first. Just like the Messiah wasn’t interested in Israel first or any other nation first. The Messiah didn’t come to save just a select few people – the Messiah came to save all of creation.
The Messiah who saves isn’t interested in advancing a political party in the 21st century. At some point, all of these political parties and entities will die off and be replaced with some other sin-filled party or entity. The Messiah isn’t interested in seizing and holding onto power, something that political parties and politicians live for.
Instead, Messiah has a different agenda. It’s an agenda that calls us into a new relationship – a changed relationship. A new relationship with one another, with God, with creation, with ourselves.
So often we want change, but we want those “other” people to change to be just like us. We love hearing the Gospel, but we think that a call for repentance is a call for other people to radically reorient, not us. However, Messiah invites us to change as well. How can anything else change is it doesn’t start by changing us, changing our hearts and minds, and then changing what we do and how we do it.
We don’t start this change, God does. We do however have the ability to respond. We have been given that by the Spirit who guides us to a new life and new relationships. How will we respond – with fear? by setting aside God in favor of a god we choose who will be more concerned with power and separation? Will we hear God’s call and follow, or will we decide that we think we know a better way – a failed way, a way that has been tried through most of human history?
I pray that this generation responds differently. I pray that I have the courage to respond when God calls me to ways that the world thinks are insane – to respond with love, mercy, forgiveness, and peace. That is the way of Messiah.