REFLECTION by Tom
JESUS THE SPACE INVADER
In the New Testament we find
Jesus—according to Mark—engaged in a violent
Liberation begins with a dramatic description of the
heavens being torn apart (1:10) and ends with the ripping
down of the dividing wall of the temple (15:38). Jesus is
presented as a “space invader”. It is no accident that the
name “Jesus” or “Savior” comes from the Hebrew root word
for “space” (yasha).
Following his baptism Jesus invades the wilderness turning
it into a Garden of Eden. Then follows a mission to
village, town, countryside, sea, and city. At each
stopping place he reclaims the space occupied by hostile
powers. Demons are driven out, (1:25-34), sin and sickness
removed (2:9), the oppressive religion of Scribe and
Pharisee undermined (3:1-6).
is plundering the property of the strong man, Beelzebul
(3:23-27)—who is the latest manifestation of the dragon.
The chaos waters are tamed (4:39, 6:48) and death is
destroyed (5:38-42). Christ comes to give his life as a
“ransom for many” (10:45).
The music of victory over the dragon plays throughout the
New Testament. Paul’s affirmation in Roman 8 springs from
his conviction that Christ has “disarmed the rulers and
authorities” and triumphed over them on the cross (Col
An extract from my book 'The Wrath of God
REFLECTION by Tom
BEYOND THE BOX
institutional Church is in big trouble. Its relentless
decline seems unstoppable. Few predict an upturn.
Ministers and leaders of traditional Churches spend much
of their time talking about money and devising strategies
to keep the institution afloat.
world rushes by like a river in flood, nice people spend
hours debating whether to take out a few pews. It is
hardly surprising that disillusioned members drop out or
move off to one of the newer Churches. It is not the first
time that great swathes of Church have been wiped out or
replaced by something else. God is always passing judgment
on Churches and attempting to reform them.
God is punching holes in the institution because he wants
to reshape it. He is calling us to plant new seeds of
Church alongside the old since much of the old, in its
resistance to change, will not survive. This is no simple
reshuffling of the pack but rather a call to play a
different game, one requiring courage and theological
ability. We can no longer keep doing more of the same. We
have to live 'beyond the box'.