To The One Who Knocks (Reflections on Purpose & Peace) – Hadiya Brown

 

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Graceful Gravitas H.A.B.

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41And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two

Matthew 5 NKJV   

 

27Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.

 

28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.

 

They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.

 

30They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.

31After they had mocked him, they took off his robe and put his own clothes on him.

Then they led him away to crucify him.

 

32As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.

Matthew 27 NIV   

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The words “compels” and “forced” in the passages of scripture above are references to a form of indentured servitude or slavery. “To compel” is a technical term referring to the Roman law of impressment. Under this law, any Roman soldier could force any civilian, by commandeering them and/or their property, to carry the soldier’s burden for one mile 1. Those who were chosen didn’t have a say; they had no recourse. It didn’t matter what plans they may have had, how they were feeling at the moment, where they may have been going or even who was expecting them prior to their impressment. When a Roman soldier compelled you, you complied to escape the often brutal and inhumane consequences deemed legal and just under Roman law.

 

The winds of change that have swept through our country surrounding it’s history of the often brutal and inhumane treatment of black Americans and their loved ones, have left me feeling compelled to speak up. Furthermore, the thinly veiled and often ridiculously obnoxious displays of ignorance and intolerance I’ve been compelled to endure since the day I was born have forced me to take action. Because enough is enough. We can be so much better than this.

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12So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood.

 

13So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore.

 

14For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

Hebrews 13 NLT   

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Death by crucifixion was disgraceful, so disgraceful in fact that Roman citizens, no matter the crime committed, could not be crucified. It was considered to be the cruelest form of punishment reserved for the absolute worst criminals 2. Jesus did not fit the description. And all of the people who lied and testified against Him knew they were demanding that innocent blood be shed.

 

To add insult to injury, Jesus did in fact die “outside the city gates”. The Jews rejected Him as their Messiah, and He and his disciples were shunned and deemed outcasts. To die outside the gates was considered a disgrace to Jews because it meant, “being separated from the community” 3. Now at any point, Jesus could have pulled His, “But-I’m-the-Son-of-God” card. But instead He chose obedience to His Father and to accept the calling on His life. God the Father created Jesus for a purpose, 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2 NKJV). To be clear, we are not being asked to give our lives for the cause. We’re being asked to give our lives to God, so that He may do his healing work within and through us.

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24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. a

 

26He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.

 

27It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. b

Hebrews 11 a. NIV , b. NLT   

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I have no doubt in my mind that I was led to CityPoint to fulfill a purpose. We are blessed to be members of a wonderfully warm, accepting and diverse community of believers. But outside these walls, there are people being persecuted because they too believe in the death and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Innocent blood is being shed because skin color and tone have erroneously become measures of good and evil, worthiness and worthlessness. Many people just aren’t ready and will never be ready to be a catalyst for meaningful change. For those of us who are, we’ve got a lot of work to do. And I pray that you never forget that God is always with you, encouraging and strengthening you (Joshua 1:8-9 NIV). Know that He is faithful; He will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV). When you think you have nothing left to offer, He will give you the right words to speak. When you think you’ve lost your way and you’re unsure of how to get back home, He will lead you through until you get there (Psalm 48:14 NIV).

 

So in the words of the British government to their citizens at the beginning of World War II, “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Because God is surely for us; therefore it really doesn’t matter who might be against us (Romans 8:31). Hold on to your faith as you walk in your purpose. We already know that we can’t pray the world into a perfect place. We can however use our individual gifts and collective blessings to change it and the people around us for the better.

 

Be Blessed,
HB

 

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14Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching.

We will not be influenced when people trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.

 

15Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

 

16He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Ephesians 4 NLT   

 

 

 

 

1,2 (pg.1541), 3 (pg. 1967)  From The NKJV Study Bible, copyright ©1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

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