When first asked why I’d chose to read “The upside-down Kingdom”, I replied “The titled sounds cool.” I honestly had no idea what this book was about. As I started reading “The upside-down Kingdom” I was shocked to discover how bold and exciting the book actually was. What are the main points of the book? Will this help me in everyday living? These are just a few of the many questions that I will try to answer.
One of the main points of this book is the different or inverted teaching of Jesus. Jesus not only preached, but he also practiced what he preached. The many Pharisees of the time of Jesus were in it just for the money and status quo that the title held. On the outside the pretended to care about the many Jewish laws and rituals with which they were to uphold and practice themselves. But on the inside—it was a different story. Many only preached about the law and never upheld themselves to them.
Jesus not only came to teach the good word—that not only Jews could go to heaven, but everyone could—but to also expose the hidden evil that was polluting the Jewish community. When Jesus was being tempted in the desert, Satan bombarded him with three very tempting offers. The first of these offers was to grant Jesus with world wide political power. The chance to rule over all—including Rome—was very enticing indeed. For countless years the Jewish people had been under attach from all sides. Caught in the middle of several wars, many Jews became slaves, and life for many others became hell.
The second temptation that Satan offered was to embrace institutionalized religion. If God made a public display for the people, there would be no doubt in their mind that Jesus was their savior. They would have followed him and had done anything that he had asked of them. No one had the power to stop them, they would have had God on their side. What hope would their opposition have had?
The last temptation with which Satan tried to get Jesus with was that of bread giver. There where many people who had no food and were starving. If Jesus were to have held a large feast, this would no doubt give him the support and followers he’d ever need. But would they only follow him because he could feed them? Would you want a bunch of followers only following you because you could fill their stomachs? I wouldn’t.
It’s hard to believe that Jesus had it so bad. Everywhere that he went he was persecuted because of his love for the undesirable. Jesus often affiliated himself with whores and tax collectors which infuriated the Pharisees and other religious groups. Countless times did these religious men plan and plotted to kill Jesus. Why were they so mad at him? Well back then it was against the rules to talk to or even be seen next to a whore, or tax collector. These people brought shame to themselves and were not even allowed into the temple.
Jesus didn’t come to condemn these people, he came to tell them the great news that even people such as themselves could go to heaven if they repented and followed Jesus and his teachings. On one occasion Jesus met a very religious man with great wealth. On another he met a dirty tax collector. Although the religious man followed the law to perfection, he could not give up his wealth. When the tax collector was asked the same question, he repented and promised to give back all he had taken and then some. Why was it so hard for the rich religious man to give up his money? Had his wealth become his new master? Money can take control of our lives very easily. It is an important part of our daily living. Without money we could not do any shopping, buy any gas, ride the bus, or use any electricity. It is no wonder that a wealthy man would be so reluctant to give up his many riches.
I find it hard to believe that there was so much opposition toward Jesus. Why did so many people refuse to believe the truth?