Tag Archives: Rebellion

The Thirteenth Man

 

The Seattle Seahawks football team is renowned for its fans which have earned the title: “the Twelfth Man”.  This is because there are normally eleven men on the playing field at any one time, but because of the “heart” of the fans, the team considers them to be with them in spirit as well.  Therefore, they are “the Twelfth Man.”

The Seattle fans are extremely enthusiastic and supportive of their team.  They are wild and even border on the edge of becoming lunatic in their support of the Seahawks.  Before each home game in Seattle, there is the ceremonial raising of the blue flag sporting the large white numbers: “12”.  One of the largest selling items of team clothing is the jersey sporting the large numbers “12” with the name displayed proudly on the back: “Fan”.  Seattle fans fanatically love their Seahawks.

Jesus too had twelve men on His team.  Of all of the disciples following Him, He only chose 12 men to be on His team.  Of course, I am talking about the 12 who later became apostles.  They were the only twelve who were on the field of play during His battle for victory over death.

In addition to them, there were huge crowds of others who followed Jesus as well.  They were His fans.  Although they were not in play as starters, they were very dedicated fans. Recognizing this is what drove the Pharisees crazy with jealousy and envy.  Like the “Twelfth” man with the Seahawks, these extra followers of Jesus could be called His “thirteenth man.”  They were not on the actual field of play, but they were such fans that they were there in heart.

It is funny though that Seattle fans can be called “the twelfth man” where we can call Jesus’ fans “the thirteenth man.”  This is because numbers have meaning in the Bible and the number 13 indicates rebellion.  There were 13 American colonies that “rebelled” from their king to form the United States of America. The first time the number appears in the Bible is in Genesis 14:4 telling us, “in the thirteenth year they rebelled…”  We read about Judas Iscariot in John 13:13 whose name consists of thirteen letters.  John 13:13 also has thirteen words in it and thirty nine letters, which is three times thirteen.  The word “dragon” appears thirteen times in the book of Revelation.  Nimrod, who is the thirteenth from Adam, is a type of Antichrist.  The Book of Mark mentions Satan in the first chapter verse 13.  And so on…  Jesus’ fans were, and still are a rebellious lot.

The thirteenth man of the followers of Jesus are those who love Him for what He can do for them, but never take a thought for what they can do for Him.  In other words, they are selfish.  The worst type of these are pointed out in Acts 4:33 to 5:11.  There we have the story of unity in the church.  The “team” is on the field and they are winning.  The “thirteenth man” is supporting the team.  They are fanatically cheering them on.  That is all except two rebellious fans.  They are Ananias and Sapphira.  They are cleaver.  They are sneaky.  They have observed the others and patiently learned what is to be expected of them.  They have not responded from their heart.  With their heads, they have formulated a very elaborate plan.  They would bring in some of their support of the team, but would “ACT LIKE” they were a true, blue, 100% lover of the team.  They would pretend to be a fanatic supporter of the battle being waged, when all the time, deep down in their hearts, they were laying back, pretending to support the team, but waiting to see just what the team could do for them.  They were evil and wicked, and for their wickedness, they were relieved from their position of being a “thirteenth man”.  They were kicked out of the Jesus fan club.  God KILLED THEM!

Later on, more and more of these rebels began to pop up.  Everywhere that Paul went to start a church work, we see problems of people feigning a good Christian life, but their hearts are not in it as a real “fan of Jesus.”  They in fact are “fans of self”, but are pretending to be Christians so they can receive the benefits of Christian life.  They are like those who talk about Christ inside the church, or in the presence of other known Christians, but rarely, if ever, talk about their “team” with others.  It is not that way with the Seahawks fans.  They don’t care if they know you or not when they lift their fist in the air and convincingly say, “GO HAWKS!”  Strangers coming away from that type of encounter know one thing if nothing else, that person loves the Hawks.  But not so with the rebellious “thirteenth man” on Jesus’ team.  They are watching, conniving, waiting for a way to incorporate Jesus into their life, when all the time they are supposed to be incorporating themselves into His life.

There are many fake thirteenth man “fans” that have ruined peoples chances for ever accepting Christ.  These so-called fans of Jesus are the most dangerous of all people as far as spreading the gospel.  They are dangerous because; on the outside they look like the right thing.  They sound like the right thing.  They act like the right thing.  But, all the while, they are like rebellious Judas Iscariot.  They are waiting to see how being a Christian can help them instead of how they can help the team.  They have taught people how to “get by” as a Christian instead of “get into” supporting the team.  They are proudly wearing the jersey, but the lack of fanaticism is apparently lacking.  They are content to observe instead of get involved and their actions have taught others to do so as well.  Like Judas, they sit on the fence because they don’t want to ruin their chances of getting the Pharisees mad at them and they don’t want Jesus or the team to get mad at them as well.  Their balancing act has been intricately conceived and expertly managed, but what they don’t realize is that, like Judas, it will come to an end when they don’t realize it.  All of their “playing” church; their “playing” at being a true fan will come to a crashing halt.  Unfortunately for that hypocrite, they will always fall on the side of self, pleasing the Pharisees, and engulfed by the world.  And with them, will follow all of those who were influenced by them and their lessons on how to be a thirteenth man.  This is why they are so very dangerous.

Fans of Jesus should be like the fans of the Seahawks—They should dress up, get ready, stand in lines to see the team play, buy season tickets as soon as they come available, get their jersey, scream to the top of their lungs, and make such an impression that the entire nation knows that, coming to play our team at home is going to be tough because our team has—“the thirteenth man.”

Independence

Everyone knows that this great country of which we live won it’s war for independence from England.  Independence is the nature of the USA.  If a country had blood coursing through it’s veins, then ours would run hot with independence.  In many of the countries of Asia or Europe, when asked of it’s people, “In one word, how would you describe Americans?”, they would say, “Independent!  Americans are very independent.”  We pride ourselves on our independence.  We know nothing else than to think that independence is something that everyone should enjoy, so much so, that we send our youth to rally it’s cause on their behalf.

It is a wonderful thing to be independent because it speaks of freedom, but it is not good to be independent from everything.  There are two things from which we can never be independent:  God and people!  As much as a person might want to think they are independent from these two, they can never be.  We are all created beings of the true and only God, and we are all conceived from, birthed, and raised by people.

The is a fine line between being independent and being rebellious.  To be independent is to be free from an unrighteous cause, whereas to be rebellious is to be free from something that is good.  When you are in an overbearing situation from which you are not morally or legally bound; to through off that overbearing situation and seek another more righteous is when you are gaining independence.  But, rebellion is when you are already in a righteous situation and you pridefully and arbitrarily  decide you are going to be independent from that situation, then you are rebellious.  Think of it this way: to be independent is to rebel; to rebel from something good, or to rebel from something bad.  You are rebellious when you rebel from something good, but independent when rebelling from something bad.  AND, it depends on if you are the rebel or the rebelled from on how you will look at it.

There is no one more righteous and just than God.  He is so righteous that He is called–HOLY.  Any move for independence from Him is not only a rebellious act, but originates from a rebellious spirit as well.  Because of His holiness, and our being created in His image, it is pure rebellion to desire to live independent of Him.  As far as God is concerned, the whole world is full of rebellious people (“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” Isa. 1:2).  Any person living independent of God has become a god to himself, because he rejects God’s position of authority over him.  This is the sad state of the world that we see around us today.  Man submits himself to things, this is true, but he will not submit to God.  This is rebellion.

The anointed Cherub–Lucifer–was lifted up in pride and eventually rebelled from God (Eze. 28:14-16).  So, rebellion begins with pride–pride in thinking that you are better than others; pride in thinking you can do better if you could do it your own way.  This is how Satan deceives people into rebelling from the righteous and holy God.  He begins by whispering little hints of prideful things into the conscience of man.  Soon, man begins to see himself as being smarter and better than God.  From there, rebellion takes its course.  Rebellion in turn leads to independence of God.  God’s created being, made in His very own image, is independent from Him and refuses to submit to what is right.  All because Satan has worked to make man think prideful things.  Anytime we realize we are thinking prideful things, we should take note that we are on the path of rebellion from God.

Of course, total rebellion from God does not happen all at once.  It happens in increments until we are overcome with a rebellious spirit.  Satan’s legions work on one thing at a time.  The most common are an independence from Bible reading, church attendance, prayer, tithing, etc.  Each of these is a chink in the armor of submission to God.  We may think that we don’t need these things, but we do.  We may think that we can do without one of these things “just this once”, but once leads to another.  Soon, we are overcome and then the Devil concentrates on the next.  It is all influenced by pride, which leads to rebellion, which leads to independence.  Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, tithing and witnessing are all pillars which hold up our Christian life.  When one crumbles, the others are soon to follow.  You can tell if you are subject to these if you ever find yourself saying, “I used to read my Bible, pray, tithe, etc.”  Or, “I remember when I…”  Or, “I need to get back to …”.  These are all signs of living a life of independence from God; the process has taken place and snuck up on you: Pride–Rebellion–Independence!

On this Independence day, as we celebrate our independence from a wicked heavy handed rule, which led to the establishment of this great country, let us reflect on this one thought:  “Am I living independent from God?  Am I a rebel from righteousness?”