Wednesday, December 18, 2013
A zealot. Are zealots good things or bad things? What does the word zealot mean to you? A nut? A fanatic? The 1828 Webster Dictionary says a zealot is "One who is zealous; one who engages warmly in any cause, and pursues his object with earnestness and ardor; especially, one who is overzealous, or carried away by his zeal; one absorbed in devotion to anything; an enthusiast; a fanatical partisan."
The first thing that pops into MY head when I read that definition is The Green Bay Packers. Their fans I mean. They do crazy, outrageous things, all in the name of Packerdom. You've seen them on TV. Wearing next to nothing on icy cold days, screaming at the top of their lungs, beers in their hands . . . and those are just the women! Just kidding . . . but only slightly. The REAL idiots are usually the overweight men, with letters on their . . ab, spelling out Go Pack! as they stand in line with their friends, their fellow zealots. Insane right?
There are also religious zealots. When I think of that phrase I get the image of a middle eastern Islamic jihadist or a suicide bomber. A Muslim extremist, willing to die in the name of Allah, by walking into a crowd with an explosive-covered vest and pushing the button. I think that's probably where zealots get a negative connotation. They're extreme, they're radical, they're dangerous.
On the other hand there are the Orthodox Jews who spend all day reading the Torah, rocking back and forth in front of the Wailing Wall. Those guys are considered religious zealots as well.
Today, however, I want to write about another zealot, a religious zealot. His name is Jesus Christ.
If you go back and re-read that 1828 definition of the word you will find that "zealot" fits Jesus and his ministry quite nicely. Jesus had real zeal for His Father and the reason His Father sent Him.
Open your Bibles to the second chapter of John.
"13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” - John 2:13-17
Psalm 17:69:9 is the prophetic verse that speaks to the character of the coming Messiah.
So far we have looked at different types of zealots, people who are zealous about their favorite football team, people who are zealous about their faith and a Son who is zealous about His Father's business. But today I'd like to turn our focus inward, I'd like to ask you a very important question about your faith. Are YOU a zealot? You should be.
Are you "on fire" about God? Is He all you can think about from the moment you get up until them moment you go to sleep. And then, while you are sleeping, you dream about heaven and what it will be like. Are you like that? We should be. Read this verse . . .
"5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." - Deuteronomy 6:5
Later, Jesus would call this the Greatest Commandment. God's greatest commandment is for us to be . . . religious zealots!
That is a big problem in Christianity today. There are too many professing Christians are not really walking the walk, who are fooling themselves right into hell. It reminds me of the beginning words of a Dc Talk song which says
"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
That is SO true!
We need to be zealous for The Lord, Our God. HE must be the focus of everything we do. Anything less would find us breaking The Greatest Commandment, as Jesus called it, in Matthew 22. And if we don't keep his commands, how do we professing Christians reconcile John 14:15 ?
"If you love me you will keep my commands."
So is that right? If we aren't zealous for God then we don't love Jesus? That, my friends, is 100% correct.
Let's become zealots . . . today . . . for our King!
Zeal for My Father's House by John MacArthur - a 34-minute message about the zealous Jesus.