Christians are called to be like Christ Jesus, to walk in His steps.
I wonder if we’re not imitating the Gentle Shepherds and Caucasian Jesus portraits we’re all familiar with rather than the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus we’re taught about in Sunday School doesn’t have much in common with the one revealed in Scripture. I wonder if he’d even be allowed into our churches!
Let me give the obvious example: Jesus and the Money-Changers. He makes a whip and drives the moneychangers out of the temple, railing at them, upsetting their commerce tables and driving away their livestock. He’s really upset about about them making His House a house of mechandise instead of a house of prayer. He uses violence to get his point across.
And anger. The Bible says, Be angry but do not sin. But we homogenized Christians speak of anger as if it is a sin. We cluck about self-control as if it precludes the possibility of ever getting angry. We denounce anger as if it is in itself a sin. We know that being angry without a cause is a sin, but what if there is a cause? Jesus clearly had one. David got angry at Goliath’s mockery and when his brothers called him on it he answered, Is there not a cause?
Jesus knew no sin. Yet he got angry and on one occasion he used violence. He advocated turning the other cheek, but he used violence this once. Could it be that we are to live peacably with all men, as much as is possible – which implies not all of the time. There is a time for peace — and war.
Let’s look at another example: Jesus insulted. He called the Pharisees “white-washed tombs,” “pretenders [hypocrites]” and “snakes.” He refered to Herod as “that fox.”
Jesus knew no sin, but he insulted. He who forbids us from calling our brother worthless [raca] or a fool, called others names in righteous anger. So it is possible to insult without sinning. I’m not talking about a lifestyle of a mocker. I’m talking about a situational incidence. Jesus used insulting names to warn the people of the danger and error of the Pharisees hyperfundamentalism. Elijah used mockery to underscore the futility of worshipping the false god Baal when he set up his contest on Mount Carmel.
And what about offense?
Everywhere Jesus taught controversy and often violence followed. His opponents tried to stone him on several occasions. They eventually crucified him. His teachings caused arguments. He boldly proclaimed truth, even if it offended the hearers. He did so because He loved them and because He loved them enough to bear their anger and bear discrimination. He railed against religious hypocrisy and unnecessary weights [doctrines men had added to God’s commandments].
Jesus got angry, used violence and insult and offended loads of people, and yet did not sin.
Now some will say, Well, that’s Jesus. Only Jesus could doall that and not sin.
And I say, What do you make of the Holy Spirit then? Is he no more than an half-impotent Jimminy Cricket conscience who can offer advice? Or does he empower your life? Does he lead you into all truth? Do you have a low opinion of the Holy Spirit or the Biblical view? Jesus said we would do greater things than He because of the Holy Ghost. If Jesus could do these things and do them righteously, there is a way to do so and the Holy Spirit can show us that way!
I’m not advocating a lifestyle of a brawler or a mocker. But how can we keep silent when others go to Hell? How can we tolerate what we ought to oppose? How can we allow others to be deluded by those we know are hypocrites? How can we let the traditions of men trump the commandments of God?
I don’t think Jesus would be welcome in most of our churches today. We’d find the man part of him too earthy and not nearly sanitized enough for our comfortable worship services. I don’t think He’d come to a lot of our churches anyway — Then again, He did eat with sinners, harlots, tax collectors and Pharisees, so maybe He might visit once.
But I don’t think we’dlike what he’d say. I have NO Doubt what he’d say about the money-grubbing likes of TBN and Joel Olsteen. You cannot serve God and money. Guess which one they spend the most time preaching.