Thursday, October 02, 2008

Let's get something straight...

What if right now, everything we knew, felt, believed about Jesus was suddenly turned “upside down.” Challenged. Tested. What if we came to realize that much of what we thought and believed about love, grace, forgiveness, Jesus, each other and ourselves was poorly defined at best and flat wrong at worst? JesusHD is about challenging our current image of Christ and getting deeper clarity-sharper focus. Before we dive further into 1 Cor. 13 (The Love Chapter) let’s get something straight. When you see things in HD, you see things you never saw before. Love is strong as much as it is gentle.

“Submit to God's royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of your pursuits— for his anger can flare up in an instant. But what joy for all who find protection in him!” NLT Psalm 2:12

Could some of us have a LD (Low definition/analog) picture of Jesus? Surely the Jesus of the New Testament would not give birth to such a passive church. Open the Bible to the Gospel of Mark and you immediately see a Jesus who commands the respect of leaders, fights the devil, and influences men to drop everything to follow him wherever He goes. I submit that some of us have been led to believe in a “nice” Jesus instead of a “good” Jesus. A nice Jesus would be afraid to tell people to quit jobs, spend extended time away from family, knock on doors unannounced, and die martyr’s deaths. I this what love looks like in HD? Patient? Kind? Forgiving?

No, Jesus is not nice but he is kind. He doesn’t play by “the rules”. He confronts people, is opinionated and filled with strong will. He threatens preachers who are in religion only for the money. He calls His disciples slow learners, wondering out loud how much longer he’ll have to be with them. People are always trying to trick Him so he shows them up publicly and calls them names like snakes and hypocrites and worse! He verbally rebukes government officials. He says things at church services that basically disrupt the entire meeting. One time he said something so hard that many of His disciples couldn’t take it and left him for good. What did He do? He just watched them walk away. Instead of nervously explaining himself, he turned to the rest of them and asked them if they would like to leave as well.

I think that some have unwittingly projected an image of a Jesus who doesn’t really exist. Thus many have believed in a wooden Jesus who was “perpetually somber, consistently robotic, and consummately nice.” This Jesus would not think of using sarcasm or being critical because He has nice manners.

Many sermons (including some of mine) have been designed to spin for us a Jesus who is always approachable, always calm, and endlessly patient. In his book, “No More Christian Mr. Nice Guy” Paul Coughlin says that kind of Jesus is “fiction right up there with the Da Vinci Code” he also says that Jesus was a dissident and “brought the world both- the kind of conflict and division needed to shake things up for our own good.” Jesus was not nice. He was GOOD. Good is the opposition of Evil. You overcome evil-you are not nice to it. In order to overcome evil you must take a stand against it. That was what Jesus did. He was a fiery revolutionary with clear goals and a focused mind. If you opposed Him or got in His way, He could put you in your place right quick-even if you were his “friend”. OF COURSE Jesus was compassionate and forgiving, he could weep and display love, but He was also unpredictable and people (including His disciples) learned very fast not to mess with Him.

It is this Jesus that I hope to present to you in HD. He rejects passivity and leads courageously. He rocks boats that need rocking and boldly speaks the truth in a very powerful and loving way. He commands respect and makes a difference. From a place of strength not weakness He “turns the other cheek”. He has a good and dangerous heart that fights evil. He fought for my heart and won it. It cost Him a great deal. It is in honor of such bravery and great sacrifice that I surrender my heart in love to Him.

No comments: