We want to see God’s kingdom come to this earth. We know that can’t happen until His justice is demonstrated to the world as a witness, proving that God sent His Son to die for the sins of the whole world. We want to see the root cause of injustice exposed, especially to the sincere who desperately want to know how to do away with every form of greed and inequity in the Church.
Christians have thought about love and justice for two thousand years, but have never been able to achieve it except for a brief moment in the first century. Theologians and apologists have erected wonderful doctrines explaining justice in their ivory towers of academia. Serious advocates of a social gospel have gone to the streets demonstrating for God’s justice. Many reformers have committed their lives to changing the “religious system” from within, but actually practicing justice in a life together as a people or nation has always remained just a short-lived experiment conducted by the early church until the Holy Spirit moved them on to something more practical.
So human history moves painfully onward, each step just another mournful, endless, and winding tale of woe and hardships, murders and border clashes, lies and schemes, the rich oppressing the poor. It’s painful to think about it. It was just as painful twenty-five years ago when the Jesus Movement was in full swing, but we told ourselves we were going to make a difference.
So now, thirty years later, what has changed? What difference did the Jesus Movement make? The problems in the world and in the church seem to be the same, or even worse, and the result is that a whole generation of once-hopeful, enlightened, idealistic and committed Jesus people are now the greatest of cynics, almost completely distrustful of authority and fiercely independent. There is hardly any loyalty left in today’s congregations.
Granted, there’s a lot to be cynical about. For when we look back at the last two thousand years of Christianity directing the course of Western Civilization, we find that it has failed to bring about universal love and justice. Instead, it has been the prime instrument of oppression for countless millions. Yet, in the beginning, it held a bright promise which could have changed human history once and for all.
In first-century Jerusalem, the “citadel of peace,” the first corporate human experience of love and justice in perhaps thousands of years, began. It began when Love descended to earth, living and expressing itself in the body of the man Yahshua, the Son of God. What He proclaimed and what He demonstrated to the world was a kingdom of love and justice, showing us what it is like for a human being to care more about the needs of others than about himself. He introduced this life as a whole new social order to be lived out by a people, the spiritual nation of Israel. This life of justice went far beyond caring for others the way you want others to care for you. In fact, its demands were so challenging that it was violently rejected by the majority of his fellow men, and He was murdered in a cruel and unjust manner. The world makes much of His death and resurrection, but they hardly acknowledge the radical outcome of it all. His Spirit, the Spirit of Love, came like a roaring, mighty wind and rested on a small band of His followers, those who hungered and thirsted after true justice.
What resulted was a whole new society, just like our Master had talked about. It was made up of literally thousands of men, women and children living in peace, with no needy among them. His Spirit enabled them to love each other in the same way He loved them, giving up their own time, interests and possessions to meet the needs of others every day. Justice was the result. It began in a rush of enthusiasm that lasted almost to the end of the first century — before it began to disintegrate into the humdrum doctrines and impersonal self-righteousness of present-day Christendom.
What happened? Why did this mighty and powerful demonstration of justice lose its strength? It waned because Love left that community. The people began reverting back to the self-seeking lives they had left behind and lost the life they had experienced together.
Selfishness grieved Love and insulted Love and drove Love away. For nearly two thousand years Love has been seeking a new community to live in, a body of people who could be Yahshua’s own, a nation expressing His character of love and justice to the ends of the earth.
So now Yahshua’s Spirit is gathering together men and women from the four corners of the earth, giving them that same life together so that once again love and justice can be demonstrated for the whole world to see. Once again Love lives in a corporate body on the earth. He has found a new and lasting home. This new home is where He brought us. You’ve got to meet Him. Then you’ll understand. It’s really happening. Love is all you need. Love is really all you need.
But it is true love we are talking about, not just an emotional high or an infatuation. In the aftermath of the Jesus Movement, tremendous devastation came to the soul of an entire generation as they saw their hopes and dreams of the kingdom fade away. Love cost something, and that something still eludes the grasp of the Christian churches today. Where can we turn to find it? Where can we lead our children? Many from the Jesus Movement are left greying, still looking for spiritual roots and foundations that will bear the fruit the New Testament promises. Many still haven’t settle because they haven’t found home. For those who are still looking for the life of love disciples are supposed to have and don’t know where to find it, we’re here to show you. He is real; He’s more than a myth and we’ve found His life on earth.
The only solution is love, but not a love that doesn’t cost anything. True love, the love we were created for, means giving up your life for others, but how can a self-occupied, self-oriented soul possibly love like that? The answer is, it can’t. The remedy, then, is dying to your old life and getting a new inside — a new heart. Only then can we get on with demonstrating love and justice. The environment for this life is, of course, actual community, like in Jerusalem in the first century, when the very first church established by our Master Yahshua began.
This is the radical love of Jesus that we didn’t find in the Jesus Movement. Regrettably, the last twenty-five years have seen us get farther and farther away from it— traveling down the road of self-help, the quest to refine human nature through Christian psychology, or perhaps by single-minded devotion to a worthy cause, or even finding a way to justify pure unadulterated personal success through the prosperity that Jesus gives to those who claim it.
It is now time to come away from all of that and surrender to Him, to his people. His love will not ever fail you. It begins by trusting Yahshua’s love for you enough to admit all the hurt and pain, sorrow and disappointment that is within you. Nothing short of acknowledging this truth and living daily in forgiveness can constitute a true movement toward love and bring about the justice we longed for in the Jesus Movement ... and ever since.