Using the word “Ninja” and the name “Jesus” in the same sentence might seem wrong to some people, but don’t judge too quickly. There is a lesson to learn here.
I was talking to a friend today, and I told him how I once had a stressful job, and I got the impression that I should find a new job. I found one, and a few days after I moved, senior management called a meeting and fired my old department. I learned about this months later.
My friend was amazed, and he told me that someone must have been watching over me. I realized when he said it, that he was right. Some power kept me from the termination of my career, unlike many of my friends.
Years ago, I read a news article from Belarus, where the government was evicting and closing a Pentecostal church. Someone wrote a comment in Russian, and I put the words in Google Translate, and I read this story; ‘Don’t close that church. When my little boy was sick and dying, the doctors could not help, so I took him to that church for prayer. Somehow, he recovered and today he is a big strong man, and he is still with me.’
We have all witnessed a movie brawl, where a hero is confronted by a gang of fighters who expect to win an easy fight. Many movies have scenes of extreme martial arts, like a kind of violent ballet of Ninja moves. The result is always complete victory for the lone hero. If the bad guys survive, they lie still on the ground, or limp away, when it’s all over. Think of Chuck Norris, or Jackie Chan, or Master Yoda in Star wars, and many others. Ninja combat is a movie trope, something fans expect and enjoy.
But Jesus didn’t do that.
Or did He?
Jesus told his followers to put away their weapons, and not to fight with their enemies. He told a powerful king “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18: 36)
That’s clear, but Jesus was often attacked by groups of bullies, and they tried to hurt, or kill Him. The other side acted just like the gangs of attackers in the movies. Jesus did not allow physical fighting, but He did spar with words. When the thugs surrounded Him, to take Him out, the combat was always with words, except for that time when he took a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple in Jerusalem. That was epic.
Except for that one time, we only know about combat with words, but with the intention to destroy Jesus. And by destroy, I mean kill. Jesus often had to confront gangs of critics, and win the contest or die.
For example: A woman was brought to Jesus, in a crowd scene. She was caught while committing adultery, and Jesus had to give the order to execute her. The scene would end with a bloody corpse at the feet of Jesus, who would have no respect from good people, or the crowd could execute Jesus for not obeying the law.
In that dangerous space, Jesus commanded, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7), and the thugs walked away, one at a time until only the woman was left.
Another time, Jesus was asked about paying taxes to Caesar the Roman Emperor. Yes or no, either answer would result in His death. He only had to choose His executioners; Roman soldiers, or Jewish freedom fighters. In that impossible place, He held up a coin and asked whose face was on it. Caesar was pictured on the coin. And then “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” (Mark 12:17)
There are many of these deadly combat stories in the Bible, until finally the enemies arrested Jesus and nailed Him to a cross. They thought they had finally won, but Jesus had one final move.
On the third day, that dead man walked out of His grave.
As Christians, we are followers of the dead man who came back to life. If we don’t have that, we should not believe, and there is no reason for you to read this.
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15: 17 to 19)
If we have intellectual arguments, we should just leave. The Bible is filled with references to the power of God, and I know, I am slow to learn this lesson. I don’t need to win the arguments; I need to release the power and light the fire.
Popular movies have so many power-combat scenes, because we all crave the power that makes things right. We want it, and we don’t see it, so we cheer for Yoda with a light sabre.
The world needs to see that power in us, and maybe it’s not wrong to talk about Ninja Jesus.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. (Isaiah 64: 1 to 5)