The audacity! How dare he push such a ridiculous ideology on us! How dare he try to come in here and tell us that he has a better way! Who does he think he is telling us we have to change?!
Jesus was audacious. Jesus was bold. Jesus was confrontational. Jesus was brave. Jesus was bold, daring, and fearless! This is the character of Jesus. I am not making up the life this man led. I am not interpreting scripture to make Jesus into something I want him to be. I am looking at stories in the Bible and I am seeing a man who was so brave, so confident, and so capable of obedience to the Truth that set people free, that people actually got set free. People genuinely changed, some physically through healing, some spiritually through repentance. No matter, people cannot come into contact with this bold and fearless man and not be changed!
Account after account, Jesus did not seek to answer every criticism that came his way. He stayed the course of the call on his earthly life. He knew that long before he was, I Am would send him. He knew the past tense was working within the present tense of who God, his Father was and is, and is to come. He did not veer from that promise, or that calling, because he knew the end from the beginning, the Alpha and Omega. He was there when it was all created and he is still here to complete it!
The audacity of Jesus, the audacity of the gospel message of grace, is what has kept the gospel alive for centuries. Consider the story of each and every person who decided to pick up this mantle of grace, a mantle of complete courage, in order to see to it that others might come to know of this gift of liberty and love. If grace was passive, I would not be writing this post. If grace was passive, you would not be reading it. If grace was passive, tables wouldn’t be turned over, lives would not be changed, and we would be living in bondage with no hope or future. Grace confronts what needs to be confronted in order to bring the love of the Father to light. Otherwise people stay prisoner to fear and death. This side of grace might feel uncomfortable to many, but we are told to emulate Jesus, just like the Apostle Paul did throughout his evangelistic journey.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are found evangelizing Europe with the message of Jesus Christ and the unmerited favor of God. This was not appreciated by many leaders or by the religious. While the two men were headed to prayer on the day of Sabbath, they were arrested because Paul became aggravated by demonic activity and in boldness (not passivity) commanded a spirit out of a young woman. Her owners became so angry that they dragged Paul and Silas to the officials saying, “These men are seriously disturbing our city! They are Jews and are promoting customs that are not legal for us as Romans to adopt or practice.” (Acts 16:20-21) Does what Paul and Silas were doing sound passive to you? Not only were they doing the work of God on the Sabbath day, they were also preventing a fortune-telling business from succeeding. The audacity of these two men to cast demons out of this girl! Their willingness to confront the darkness landed them in the stocks. But that is not where the story ended. Their boldness to believe God showed itself in probably history’s most memorable worship service. One that caused “such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken and everyone was loosed.” (Acts 16:25-27)
The story of Paul and Silas’ courage created a domino affect that would end in the salvation of a jailer and his entire household. Their courage met their calling that day. They did not back down to old thinking, or to religious mindset. They did not keep grace in a box. They opened that gift up wide and bold and loud. They didn’t let the fear of man or the tradition of religious thinking keep them from boldly walking out grace through faith! They believed what God said was true and that what He started He would finish because of Christ Jesus!
Our faith cannot be passive. We must walk in grace, and at times it will be confrontational. It will address grievances produced by legalism and works-based teachings. The message of grace has the power to transform any life. It transformed mine! Someone daring enough to proclaim the Lord Jesus to my mother led to her entire household being saved. Just like that jailer and his family in Acts 16. Your audacious obedience to tell someone else, that it is by grace they are saved through faith, will lead to their hope and future. Our boldness does not need to be directed toward telling everyone the are wrong; our boldness needs to be used to point people to the truth of Jesus and that grace that saves! “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household!” (Acts 16:31)
So today, be audacious. Brave Grace!