Jack Norris is a college student studying to become a preacher. For fans of Star Wars, Jack is my “padawan” and for fans of Indiana Jones he is my “Short-round.” I appreciate the young man that he is as I have watched him grow and mature over the last 15 years. Enjoy and learn from his article and his wisdom beyond his years. – Scott
“Turning the World Upside Down”
By: Jack Norris
The cross. It is the most recognizable symbol on the planet. An instrument of torture became known as the gift of God’s amazing redemptive love. Jesus Christ turned the symbol of the cross completely upside
down and changed the way we view it forever. The book of Acts is the most intense and one of the most important books in the entire Bible. While reading through Acts, you are literally experiencing the adventures of Christians that made history and changed the world, all for Jesus and His kingdom.
One of the most defining verses in Acts is found in chapter 17:6. “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.” (ESV) In this context, Paul and Barnabas were in Thessalonica persuading many that Jesus Christ was indeed the crucified and risen savior. As a result, the Jews became jealous and wanted to end this revolutionizing new religion as quickly as possible. In fact that is really the whole theme of the book of Acts, the men who turned the world upside down!
Peter, John, Paul and Barnabas, Prisicilla and Aquila.All names of men and women who were not just Christians, they were Christians who changed and turned the world upside down for Jesus. They were driven. However, what drove these amazing people we read about in Acts? What would drive someone to take a beating or a stone to the head, or even the loss of their own life? The answer is quite simple: The cross.
You see to the Christians in Acts, the cross wasn’t just a symbol; it was the core of their very life. The cross represented two things: obsession and dedication. Jesus was absolutely obsessed with people! He truly cared for others, and most importantly for their souls. From that obsession came love, and from love came the ultimate gift of salvation for the entire planet. The cross also represented dedication. Jesus Christ was dedicated to His Father all the way through the scourging, beatings, and ultimately an agonizing death. That is real dedication.
The Christians in the book of Acts who turned the world upside down and changed it forever for Jesus, lived by these two attributes as well. They were obsessed with telling others about Jesus. Paul is a perfect example. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone whobelieves, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16). Paul was obsessed with sharing the news of Jesus and the love that Jesus offers to everyone he came in contact with! Paul was also dedicated. This man too kbeating after beating, and yet still stood up and went forward with the gospel. Again, that is dedication.
Is there a difference between the Christians in the first century and the Christians of the 21-century? Have we lost our obsession with Jesus? Of all the things that we could be obsessed with nothing is more important than our relationship with our King. After this life is over it won’t matter at all about sports, movies, or that big job promotion that would buy you a new car or boat. Not even your own family is more important than your relationship with Jesus! Therefore why are we not obsessed with Jesus and obsessed with telling others about the relationship they can have with Him as well? In reality, that is all that matters.
Perhaps we have we lost the true meaning of dedication? Being dedicated to Jesus is so much more than JUST attending worship and saying a prayer before your meals. Truly being dedicated to Jesus means that you are so on fire for Him that you absolutely can’t wait to tell every single one of your friends about the EVIDENCES for Christianity. It means that you show love to everyone, even if you don’t receive it in return. Finally, being dedicated to Jesus means that you never give up. Jesus never gave up on us; the cross is proof of that.
We are living in a time where many wonders can be accomplished for God. Don’t buy into the narrow minded and non-Christ like view that the world is “already gone”. With the cross as our symbol we can change the world and turn it upside down for Jesus once again. Every individual has the potential for good and the ability to be who God wants them to be. EVERY person. In order for Christians to turn the world upside down again, it first starts individually. With every Christian being obsessed with Jesus and being dedicated to Jesus within their own community. That will in turn affect their state. Their state will affect the country, and our country will affect the world.
The cross. Jesus took that terrible instrument of suffering and turned it into the greatest symbol of hope the world has ever seen. He has also taken sinners like Paul, Peter, Jack, and (*insert your name*) and turned them into vessels for His message. So close your eyes. Picture the cross and your life at this very moment. Go ahead close them. ……. What did you see? Are you turning the world upside down?