Melanie Robbins is an Ivy League educated lawyer, author and expert in human behavior. She wrote an opinion piece a few years back for CNN about people and organizations known in the business sector as “disrupters.” Disrupters, she wrote, are those whose entire brand is to break the mold, to change our thinking about the mold, and to give us the new rules for how everything works.
For instance, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, did this through social media. Amazon has done this with retail, Uber with taxi services, and Apple with smart phones. They completely turned everything upside down, changed the rules, and then told us how to play the game. Disruptors, Robbins says, don’t fix what’s broken because they don’t innovate from inside a system, they are outside it. They try to turn the system upside down and even break it, and then they give you a new system and tell you how it works. That’s how they affect systemic change.
And once disrupters gain enough momentum through innovation and persistence, they don’t just make news, they are the news. They shape the narratives, they frame the issues, they define the conversation—what is said and how it is said. They dominate the market, they change what has been, and determine what will be next. In other words disrupters are not those that react to what is happening, rather they determine what is happening and what is going to happen in the future. They are out front, ahead of the curve and the masses, thinking and saying what needs to be said, before we even know what to think, what to say, and how to say it. Disrupters change things.
I am not sure Mel Robbins would agree, but if there’s one thing that this whole Holy Week reminds us, it’s that Jesus of Nazareth was a disrupter. What He did in those eight days changed human history like no events before or since. He created a whole new paradigm, and turned right-side-up a world that was upside down.
He was the King of kings, Lord of lords and disruptor of all disruptors. From the time He was born in a lowly manger in Bethlehem to when He died by crucifixion outside of Jerusalem, He was turning the world’s expectations on their collective head. And that pivotal week, in the days between His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and His resurrection from the grave seven days later on Easter Sunday, He would turn the tables over, literally and figuratively in the religious world of His day. The repercussions of that table-turning have brought revolutionary change in the lives of people around the world ever since.
The dictionary defines a disrupter, quite obviously, as someone who disrupts. And to disrupt is to break apart or rupture, or to throw into confusion or disorder. Jesus did that, to some degree, with the world He had created, and then walked into. The values and principles He taught were not of this world and ruptured the system for how the game was played. But He did not come to bring confusion or disorder; it was just the opposite, actually. He came to bring healing and hope and peace.
Jesus was the greatest agent of change in human history. He disrupted the law, and gave us grace. He disrupted death, and brought us life. He disrupted the enmity and historic hostilities between people, by His own blood, and brought reconciliation. He disrupted a system of religion that required that we earn our way, and offered a once and for all sacrifice that pardoned us from our sin. By His own sacrifice on the cross. And of course, His resurrection disrupted our fears forever more. “I am the resurrection and the life,” He said. “He who believes in Me shall live, even if He dies.”
My prayer this Good Friday morning is that Jesus Christ has divinely disrupted your world, that He has turned your life right-side-up, and brought you the peace and hope of new life in Him that can be found nowhere else. What a joy it is to be your pastor. I look forward to seeing you tonight at our Good Friday service, and on Sunday morning as we celebrate our risen Savior!