An Upside-Down World

But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

Acts 17:5-7

Paul and Silas have made their way to Thessalonica. They enter the synagogue and prove from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ. And that' turns the world upside down.

How can a few men turn the world upside down? They aren’t barging into cities, taking over by a military coup. They’re not like ISIS recruiting people from across the world to attack. They’re heralds of the King.

Isn’t it crazy? The men who have turned the world upside down are men that bring with them nothing but news – good news. That’s all they have. They have no power in themselves. They have no weapons. They have a message of a King who has come to die for his people and rise again from the grave. All they do is talk about Jesus wherever they go, and the world is turned upside down!

It’s like becoming a parent. One day you’re free to sleep in, go wherever you want, have free time. Then you have a baby, and your entire world is turned upside down. You’re up all hours of the night. You're completely exhausted. The baby constantly needs you. But you don't mind it one bit because the baby has transformed you – given you new life, new purpose, new meaning. You gladly give up your rights for the good of your child.

Believing the gospel is something like that. Our world has to turn upside down before it can be built right side up. When you’re grappling with what the gospel says, and what it means for your life, it can get pretty uncomfortable. It means releasing the grip on your life and handing it over to Jesus, a man who lived and died and rose a long time ago.

But when you hand your life over to Christ you realize you haven’t given up anything but you’ve gained everything. You’ve been adopted into God’s family, and no one can snatch you out of his hand. You have peace. You have hope. You have joy that cannot be taken. You’re in a new Kingdom.

Paul saw the world as it really is. Caesar was king of Rome, but Caesar wasn’t the kind of king Jesus is. Caesar was a king of a temporal empire. Jesus is the King of an eternal universe. Jesus is the true king – an upside down King, who stoops low to bring us high. The true Kingdom is cross-shaped, where death comes before life, not the other way around.

Jesus left his throne in heaven. He was willing to have his life destroyed so that you could have his best. Like a good parent, he gave up who he once was to gain the joy of having you. He’s the kind of King this broken world needs. And he’s the kind of King we have. Believe in him and you can have all this. All it takes is small faith placed in this big God.

Paul and Silas have already endured a lot, and much more was ahead. It wasn’t easy to take the message of the gospel to a hostile world. You know, following Christ means our world is constantly being turned upside down. It doesn’t end after we believe. It’s constant, because following Jesus is an adventure. He’s on the move and he’s bringing us along.

Working out the implications of the gospel on your life is no easy task. That’s ok. Live in the tension. Jesus said we have to lose our life to find it. That means it’s not easy do to. Let’s be open to that – whatever his call is. You're going to live under some king, why not the one who’s proven his kindness: the good King Jesus?