Setting the World Downside Up- The Baba Yagas of Jesus Christ

A friend recently recommended watching John Wick, a three-part series with another sequel due next year. Though the 1st part was released way back in 2014, I never gave it much thought as I presumed it to be some mythological fiction involving Dracula and vampires (somehow, Keanu Reeves always gives me that vibe). And yet, when I watched John Wick for the first time this weekend, something about the character of Reeves, the protagonist ‘John Wick,’ resonated with what we believers are meant to be in Christ.


A single syllable that nailed Wick’s intro, “Oh…” was indeed one of the most thought-provoking moments in the movie. John Wick’s dearly loved wife had just died, leaving him with a car and a beagle puppy to “grieve unalone,” when a bunch of young punks( Russian gangsters), one of whom was the son of Viggo Tarasov, head of the Russian crime syndicate in NYC, decided to have some fun with Wick.

They steal his car and kill his dog, unleashing the wrath of the retired hitman Wick, who pursues them relentlessly until he finds and kills them all.  When Viggo is told of his son’s misdeed and the victim involved (Wick), all he can say is “Oh…

“Baba Yaga is Coming”

Viggo knew there was no undoing the unforgivable deed his son, Iosef, had done. Wick was indomitable, and in Viggo’s own words, “a man of focus, commitment, and sheer will.” When Wick reaches Continental (neutral ground for criminals), former acquaintances tremble. They wonder if Wick is “working again.” The sheer intensity of the character, known for accomplishing what he sets out to do, is awe-inspiring.

Wick was to be feared, and he knew he was feared, which was perhaps why he never failed. Codenamed ‘Baba Yaga’ (Russian for boogeymen), he had reputed mafias wetting themselves as soon as he arrived on the scene. He OWNED the place.

The Lion of Judah

I always wondered how Jesus could be the lamb and the lion at the same time. The lamb of God[i] and the Lion of Judah[ii], are two among many metaphors used for the Son of God. He is blameless and meek as a white, blemishless lamb, yet bold and brave as a lion.

When Jesus arrived on the scene, demons trembled[iii], depression knelt[iv], the dead were raised to life[v], the ill and dying were restored to perfect health[vi]– the blind saw[vii], the dumb spoke[viii] and the deaf heard[ix] again.

But what happens when we believers, the living and breathing image of Jesus[x] on earth, walk into the scene?

Bold as Lions

The righteous are bold as lions.

Proverbs 28:1

Imagine walking into a place of deep darkness, depression, and death and hearing the devil say, ‘Oh…‘ No sickness, no poverty, none of the harsh realities of the world was meant to be our reality as believers, as the body of Jesus Christ. When He gave His life on the cross, He trampled every force of darkness under His feet, taking over all authority[xi] from the enemy once and for all. 

No guilt in life, no fear in death,

This is the power of Christ in me.

From life’s first cry to final breath,

Jesus commands my destiny.[xii]

We are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ[xiii], and His untainted, unquestionable righteousness has empowered us, has authorized us to laugh at death’s face, and reign in life as kings and priests[xiv].

Nonetheless, three things are required to live the fearless life that Christ has bought for us with His own blood.

  1. Focus

The lust of the eyes[xv] lures many of us from what we are called to be. When Solomon talks about the immoral woman who is the cause of the downfall of many mighty men[xvi], he isn’t just alluding to an attractive lady. Anything or anyone who causes you to lose focus and forget your God-given purpose is a distraction- a bait to take you away from God’s plans for your life.

It can be a demanding parent, a clingy boyfriend, toxic friends, or even long hours at work. Anything that causes you to forget your calling and pursue vague distractions is a lie from the enemy to keep you stuck where you are till you lose your anointing to fulfill your calling. Just like even a degree of deflection can cause a plane to crash, even momentary distractions can result in severe consequences.

So what’s the key to staying focused?

Fix your eyes on Christ, the author, and finisher of our faith[xvii]. Jesus’ life as a human on earth exemplifies how we can pursue our calling without getting distracted. His close communion with God, Our Father, directed Him in all He said and did, leading Him to places where He was meant to be.

The result? Jesus did what He was sent to do in just three decades of His earthly existence, the repercussions of which are visible and in effect, even after more than 2000 years.

2. Commitment

When Winston, the head of Continental, asks Wick if finding and killing Iosef was worth giving up his peaceful retirement, he replies, “It’s personal.”

Commitment and ownership mindset go hand-in-hand. You can’t be committed to a person or a cause until you consider it to be your own. Gender discrimination, female foeticide, sex trafficking, nepotism, and bureaucracy will be mere concepts for some of us until we are actually affected by it. Most of us are going to do nothing about something unless it affects us someway.

Ever wonder why, despite all the resources and supernatural power available to us as believers[xviii], we often just live by like the rest of the world? Because we presume it’s their problem, their darkness, their depression, and we are safe with Jesus, right?

Wrong! Jesus didn’t save us to rest and relax till rapture, and then we can take our family and acquaintances to heaven with us. Remember “Noblesse Oblige.” As stewards of His truth[xix] and joint-heirs with Christ[xx], it’s our responsibility to be the light where we go, dispelling and defeating darkness in His name. Jesus came to save the world, and we can never be committed to His cause until we see the world as our own.  For whatever we do to the least of men, we do it unto Jesus[xxi].

3. Sheer Will

The kryptonite of many enthusiastic believers, lack of willpower, causes many of us to cave in when faced with severe setbacks in life. I like how Ps. John Roughton would often remind us at Bible School, ‘Ministry is not for the faint-hearted.’ The life of a believer is not a persecution-free, happy-go-lucky walk in the field.

John Wick faced several bullets and lethal firearms as he made his way to kill Iosef and his father Viggo, and yet he made through it all, bleeding and fatally wounded, finally avenging his loss.

As we set out preaching and proclaiming the love of Christ and the kingdom of heaven, someone is going to get mad, especially one who has deceived the world into believing his lies for centuries. We will be their bullseyes and can expect getting hit at every turn with a bigger weapon than before and yet walk on remembering what He has said-

No weapon formed against you will prosper, but every tongue that rises in judgment against you, you will condemn.

Isaiah 54:17

We have His Word, and He never lies[xxii].

So, let them know we are coming in His name, to make the darkness tremble and to set the world downside up[xxiii]– the focused, committed, and steel-willed Baba Yagas of Jesus Christ!

[i] John 1:29

[ii] Revelation 5:5

[iii] Luke 10:17

[iv] Isaiah 61:1

[v] Luke 7:11-17

[vi] Matthew 8:16

[vii] John 9

[viii] Mark 7:35

[ix] Mark 7:37

[x] 1 John 4:17

[xi] Colossians 2:15

[xii] In Christ Alone- Stuart Townend

[xiii] 2 Corinthians 5:21

[xiv] Revelation 5:10

[xv] 1 John 2:16

[xvi] Proverbs 7:26

[xvii] Hebrews 12:2

[xviii] Ephesians 3:8

[xix] 2 Timothy 1:13-14 

[xx] Romans 8:17

[xxi] Matthew 25:40

[xxii]Numbers 23:19

[xxiii] Acts 17:6

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