The Revolutionary

Larry Norman was in many ways the mouthpiece, instigator—and agitator—of the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Jesus Larry Norman proclaimed was anything but safe and nice. In fact, his “revolutionary” music would probably find few Christian radio stations today willing to air it.

And like 40 years ago, we still encounter sanitized versions of Jesus. Nice. Safe. Soft-spoken. Weak. Non-offensive.

In the video above, Larry sings a song about Jesus entitled The Outlaw. It’s a fitting tribute to the greatest revolutionary…whom you’ll learn more about in today’s reading. To read the lyrics, click here.


Exodus 35:10-36:38
Matthew 27:32-66
Psalm 34:1-10
Proverbs 9:7-8


Matthew 27:32-44. The fact that Simon’s name is mentioned in this passage likely means he became a follower of Jesus as a result of carrying the cross.

Jesus was offered gall to drink (verse 34), which consisted of wine and some sort of pain-killer. Despite his reluctance to be crucified, once he began his journey to the cross, Jesus refused to dull the pain.

Matthew 27:45-56. Again, Jesus was offered a pain-killer (wine vinegar) and again he refused. The New Bible Commentary points out that verse 46 is the only place in the Gospels where Jesus doesn’t refer to God as his father. Carrying the sins of the world caused a break in his intimate relationship with his father.

Also notice that verse 50 says Jesus, “gave up his spirit.” Jesus was in control and willingly laid his life down for you and me.

Yesterday, our reading in Exodus demonstrated the separation between us and God. Only the high priest could enter the holy of holies—only once a year. But we read in verse 51 that the moment Jesus died, the curtain separating humanity from God’s presence was torn from top to bottom. Now all of us can enjoy intimacy with God—without fear of separation.

Psalm 34:1-10. In 1 Samuel 13:14 we read that David was a man after God’s heart. Well, here’s what his heart looked like in distress. This psalm is an acrostic poem David wrote while on the run from King Saul, who was trying to kill him. Out of desperation, David fled to Gath. Because he was a well-known soldier, he knew the people there would be concerned that we was spying on them. So, he acted as if he had lost his mind. You can read more about it in 1 Samuel 21:10-15.

Proverbs 9:6-7. Since I was a little fuzzy on the definition of a mocker, I looked it up in one of my Hebrew dictionaries. It says mockers are people who “speak words which show no respect for the object, and make fun of the object, with a possible focus of speaking in the situation with confidence and authority.” Here’s the Klassen paraphrase: Mockers make fun of people without thought about how they might hurt their feelings.

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Any time I read the Bible, I must assume that every detail is included for a reason. Like we learned yesterday, Barabbas symbolized the scapegoat in the Day of Atonement sacrifice.

While researching today’s post, I stumbled on this insight in The Bible Background Commentary: “The word for ‘robbers’ [in Matthew 27:38] is the standard term…for revolutionaries; presumably they had been colleagues of Barabbas.”

So Jesus, the true revolutionary, was executed between two lesser revolutionaries.

What was the nature of his revolution?

Rather than give you my take on Jesus, I’m going to turn it around to you.

In what ways was Jesus a revolutionary?

Let’s get the conversation started!


  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. How would you answer the question “In what ways was Jesus a revolutionary”?
  3. If you were to follow Jesus’ revolutionary footsteps, what would your life look like? What prevents you from living like this?
  4. In Psalm 34:1-10, David recognized that his salvation came in the form of humiliation. Have you ever experienced a time in your life when your salvation came in the form of humiliation? If so, please share what happened and what you learned from the experience.
  5. Mockers are criticized 16 times in the book of Proverbs. Why do you think the book criticizes them so repeatedly?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.


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