Guy Fawkes & Jesus: The Difference!
We had a lot of fun on Friday night – some friends put on the most epic firework show you have ever seen, (which in fact caused people to come out of nearby restaurants to watch from the streets!), at which I’d been asked to give a 5 minute spiel. For your delight and delectation, here is the general gist:
Guy Fawkes: was he hero or villain? Well, that depends on your point of view, doesn’t it? It’s the classic problem of perspective. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. It just depends on which side you are on. History is of course written by the winners – and Guy Fawkes and his chums lost.
I guess most people aren’t bothered by that very much these days – it’s just an excuse for a bunfight, a bonfire and some rather spectacular fireworks. It’s all quite a laugh.
But the original night was no laughing matter. Robert Catesby, Guido Fawkes and a band of brothers placed 36 barrels of gunpowder in the Parliament cellars. 36! That is a lot of gunpowder – it would certainly have killed James I and decapitated the country. They were rising up against James’ clamping down on religious extremism in both Puritans and Catholics, who, in their different ways, undermined the authority of the crown.
But I don’t want to get into that. I just want to indulge in a little moment of propaganda. For something has been rattling round my head in the last week: what’s the difference between Guy Fawkes and Jesus!?
Now you might think that an odd question. But think about it – they had more in common than you might expect:
- they were both regarded with great suspicion by the political elites of Jerusalem and London
- they were both seen as political subversives and radicals
- they were both executed for treason.
We shouldn’t forget: just as the Court of King James was horrified by the gunpowder plotters, the Roman and Jewish authorities of Jesus’ day were in their different ways threatened by this Galileean carpenter.
But there was one crucial difference (despite the obvious fact that Jesus would never have committed an act of terrorism):
- Guy Fawkes was a subject of the king who attempted to kill his king. He suffered his own punishment by being executed for his own crime.
- But Jesus Christ was the king of kings who was executed by his subjects, not for what he’d done, but for what his subjects had done. He suffered the punishment for others’ crimes.
Now Guy Fawkes & co would certainly have changed British history forever if they’d succeeded. But Jesus DID change global history forever because he DID succeed. And we know that because of the resurrection – he was executed but didn’t stay dead. He rose again. That proves that death is not the end and that Jesus really is who he said he was: the king of kings. How many other kings have done that?
Now you may think this is a fairy tale: well I can assure you it’s not – it’s based on history and reality, evidence and truth. And that is why people like me feel the need to bang on about it. For this 2000-year-old event is of supreme relevance today. The amazing thing as a Christian, is knowing that my king loved me so much that he was willing to die for me – that’s how valuable I am to him. And that changes everything. How many other kings have done that? Most expect their subjects to die for them. But not this king. He dies for his subjects. And he did it for each of us.
So Jesus was different from Guy Fawkes! And while we should rightly have a laugh tonight – I would merely ask that you use it as an opportunity to give Jesus a second thought.