Jesus Is Not On Your Team.

I have bad news.  Jesus is not on your team.

There are two teams, see.  The bad guys, and Jesus.  The crooked, depraved, self-serving, religious folks; and Jesus.

He’s not on your team.  He didn’t come for your agenda.  You can’t recruit him to your cause.  You can’t get him on board with your timeline and market projections.

In Joshua 5:13-14, we get an astonishing view of the pre-incarnate Christ.  He shows up, and Joshua worships Him (and given that the man in the story doesn’t tell him to stop worshipping, I assume that man is Jesus, whom it is OK to worship).  But the astonishing part is that when Joshua asks Jesus, “are you on our team or theirs?” (referring to the inhabitants of Jericho) Jesus doesn’t say at all what I would expect.

This is the Old Testament.  God’s chosen nation, Israel, is going to fight against a pagan city, Jericho.  I’d expect Jesus to say, “I’m on your team.  Let’s go kick some pagan butt.” And then he’d go all Jack Bauer on the other team and call in a tactical support team of angels to extract Rahab from her place like Dana Walsh (the Rahab-Dana Walsh comparison could be taken WAY deeper if Dana had repented, by the way).  He’d scream “DROP YOUR WEAPON” to the guards outside of Rahab’s place, and use the phrase “I don’t want to kill you, but I will if I have to” multiple times in an episode.

But read what he says! (mouse over the verse above to read it)  He treats the question like a multiple choice, and adds an option (c).  He’s not on either team!

Joshua saw an impressive dude with a sword, and got all strategic.  He needed a little help with the folks from Jericho.  But Jesus gently reminds him that if he wins the battle, it’s because God wins the battle.  He didn’t recruit God onto his team. Israel didn’t earn God’s favor, and they were no better than the people of Jericho.  It’s by grace that they were saved, through faith.  Not as a result of works, so that Joshua couldn’t boast.

That sounds familiar.

4 Replies to “Jesus Is Not On Your Team.”

  1. Grace and works were the combination that got results – see chapter 6 for the rest of the story. In verse 27, we read that the Lord was with Joshua. If Joshua and the others did not obey (works), this could not have happened. Chapter 7 continues the saga of God’s stiff necked people and this time Achan chose to do his own thing thinking Grace would carry them through. However, the Lord said he would no longer be with them unless the people were consecrated. He gave them opportunity to purge the sin by spilling the blood Achan’s family. Obedience takes work. Side note: Rahab is mentioned again in James 2:25.

    1. Brenda, thanks for the reply. I think you and I agree on many points.

      I am not by any means suggesting that we act like Achan. Achan was living as though God hadn’t saved them. Achan wasn’t relying on grace at all. He was spitting in the face of grace (and thereby evidencing that he hadn’t truly experienced grace at all) It is never grace + works = salvation. It is grace = salvation –> works.

      My obedience plays a part, for sure, but not a part in saving me. It evidences that I am saved.

      That’s a crucial point. Nothing I can do will save me. I don’t partner with God in saving me. He doesn’t save me because I am special, or because I have good potential.

      Check out Joshua 6:2 The verb is past tense. God had already given them into Joshua’s hand, before Joshua ever started fighting. God acts first. Our obedience is as a result of his action. And as you point out in James 2:25 (a rather confusing verse when taken out of context), faith that doesn’t work itself out in obedience is not faith at all. Rahab was justified (in the sense of validated or confirmed–not the sense of saved) by her works. Her salvation (which had already happened by grace alone) was shown to be valid by her works. I cannot more emphatically state that Rahab was not saved by her works.

  2. [Try 2]
    No, it does not say ”worship.”
    A comment to the verb “להשתחות” which has the same root as the verb used in Yehoshua (de-Judaized to “Josua”) 5:14: “The verb used is the hitpaeil of שחה (shakhah; he bowed down, bent low). When the verb begins with ש or ס, they switch places with the ת. In other words, there isn’t any hit•shakhavt, although the general reflexive rule would seem to anticipate it.” (quote from the website of Netzarim (click on my name to come to the website)

    Furthermore the Mashiakh (Messias) is not prophecied in Tan’’kh to be a “incarnate man-g*d”.
    I write more about that in this article:

    I recommend learning more about the Mashiakh in the website of Netzarim (adress above) (the website of the only legitimate Netzarim-group) which is about the first century historical Ribi Yehoshua ha-Mashiakh ( the Messiah) from Nazareth and what he really taught. The historical person in Netzarim Hebrew Matityahu (the original version that later was redacted into the “gospel of Matthew”) taught that in order to follow the Creator one needs to live a Torah (“the books of Moses”)-observant (i.e. keep the directives in Torah non-selectively to ones utmost)- lifestyle. If you desire to follow the Creator of this universe and to follow Ribi Yehoshua, it is important to know that the only way to follow Ribi Yehoshua ha-Mashiakh is through this Netzarim-group (find out also why this is the case on the website I referred to).

    Anders Branderud

    1. Lots of big claims there, Anders. The most significant being that the Book of Matthew is a redacted version of another book that didn’t believe in Jesus as messiah (or that made Torah observance necessary for salvation, in direct conflict with the rest of the Scriptures). Also, any time somebody tells me they have the only way to follow the creator in their very small group, I’m a bit skeptical.

      Thanks for the comment.

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