24 May

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I find it astonishing when I consider Christianity as we know it, today, and Jesus of the first century CE.[1] Christianity today is politically powerful, and the largest religion on the face of the earth. Yet, in the first century Jesus led a little band of followers (Luke 12:32) and had absolutely no political power, even refused to seize it when the opportunity arose (cp. Matthew 26:50-54; John 18:4-18 and John 18:33-37). There is a strange difference between the great power that has been exercised throughout much of Christianity’s history and Jesus who offered a relatively light burden of responsibility and rest for the souls that submit to him (Matthew 11:28-30).

Nevertheless, it is not my point to criticize Christianity’s history in this series of blogs, but to take a look at Jesus and how different he is from what we might expect, if we view him through the behavior of his followers. And, lest one thinks I am trying to say that politically powerful Christians aren’t really Christians at all, one needs only to consider the Lord’s disciples who spent a lot of their time misunderstanding Jesus’ approach to the world by vying for political power among themselves (cp. Mark 9:33-34; 10:35-41; Luke 22:24). Yet, Jesus considered these men to be his followers and never once gave us reason to doubt that estimation of them. So, simply because one misunderstands Jesus’ approach to the world does not make that one an outsider. On the contrary, at times it is more difficult to understand Jesus as one of his followers than if one considers him from the outside. An outsider is apt to ask for an explanation and take him at his word (cp. John 18:37-38), while a follower is often apt to bring outside baggage with him to serve Christ, and, believing he understands, rather runs ahead of Jesus (i.e. no longer following) and uses worldly tools in an effort to serve Jesus’ goals (cp. John 18:10-11).

Years ago, I used to peruse the discussion boards on the internet and debate with folks about God and the Christian faith and whether or not Jesus is God. I don’t do that so much anymore. Lately, I have returned to discuss a little, but not in the cut-throat way I used to. I found lots of folks who think Jesus is fine, but they don’t like me or my faith. The sad part of this is: I know why. I just don’t behave myself with folks on these boards like Jesus treated others, and it’s not just me. Look at Christianity today; it is split up into thousands of denominations worldwide. Why so? We love to argue doctrine! In fact, we love it so much that we depart and walk away from brethren who follow Jesus, because we think our way of believing in Christ is better than theirs, but neither is so, because Jesus claimed he is the way (John 14:6). Something is wrong, when we separate from brethren when the Holy Spirit who dwells in all Jesus’ followers is the spirit of unity (Ephesians 4:1-3). We seem to push God aside in favor of seeking to know him better, but that is an oxymoron! How can we know God, if we push him aside? How can we know God if we push Jesus aside, for he claimed that no one knew God but the Son of God (Luke 10:22)?

I was present during the birth of my firstborn at a time when that was unusual. When my daughter arrived, and I saw her bloody face and heard her first cry and held her for the very first time, I felt something deep inside me that changed my portion of the world as I knew it. She, more than anything else, represented the fruit of the love my wife and I shared together. She was someone I could touch and watch, and oh how I marveled over doing just that during those first few months. God did something similar, because he loved us (John 3:16). When Jesus arrived, he was the God who could be touched, watched and marveled at, because of what he said and did. It was so different from what we expected. The world’s religions understand God as some distant, powerful Being that is unknowable, untouchable and undoubtedly unlovable. However, God who created all there is (John 1:3), when the time was fulfilled, took on flesh (John 1:14) and became as you and me—touchable, knowable, lovable. How marvelously unexpected! Rather than wrestling with theological dogma, we have the real opportunity to wrestle with God (cp. Genesis 32:24-30), and when we do, our walk will never be the same (Genesis 32:25).


[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on May 24, 2015 in Jesus


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