The current Russian/Ukranian crisis reminds me that almost 100 years ago, riots and demonstrations erupted in the city of Petrograd, now called St. Petersburg. The February Revolution of 1917, so-named because Russia observed the Julian calendar at that time, was the beginning of the end of three centuries of czarist rule. Fed up with food shortages and the ravages of war, angry mobs forced the abdication of Nicholas II a week later. The power vacuum was quickly filled by Lenin and his Bolsheviks, who established communist rule in Russia. Over a year later, the Bolsheviks executed Nicholas and his family in a Siberian camp.
One definition for revolution is the violent overthrow of a government by its citizens. Another way to define revolution is “dramatic change.” The Industrial Revolution was not violent, but the technological advancements it produced drastically altered how people lived and worked.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus sparked a revolution that wielded prayer and healing instead of sword and shield. Leading a 12-man army that included fishermen and tax collectors, the Galilean carpenter warred against religious hypocrisy and spiritual oppression. In the end, He lifted a cross instead of dagger, disarming the demonic powers by shedding His blood, emerging from the grave and ascending into heaven. From the right hand of the Father, the Victorious Christ sent the Holy Spirit to fill His disciples with grace and power, and continues to do so to this day.
The Apostle Paul reminds believers that we cannot wage war as the world does. Anger, pride and greed can’t be taken down by fists or bullets. We won’t establish true peace at the end of a gunbarrel or turn hatred into love by the violence of harsh words. If we want peace in our households, we must speak peace. If we yearn for revival in our church, we ourselves must be revived. If we want our nation to return to God, we must wage war on our knees.
The bloody Revolution of 1917 ushered in communism, a corrupt system that lasted only 70 years. The revolution that Jesus started was founded on divine love, and “of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk 1:33).
Prayer: Reigning Lord, I want to be a vital part of your revolution of love. Give me my marching orders.
Reflection Question: If the members of your church were like you, would you be able to start a revolution that would set captives free?