Soft serve Jesus

For awhile now I've pondered such phrases as "WWJD" and "Jesus was all about love and peace" and I have seen Christians criticized for being "un-Christian" by those who themselves were not Christians. Through all of this, a picture of Jesus emerges as a touchy-feely hippie-type liberal guy who would probably put flowers into gun barrels and picket for the life of whales.

I say all of that because it spurs me to look a lot closer at the life and teachings of Jesus and to attempt in my human finite way to understand Him more. So far, here's what I believe:

1. Jesus was not a wimp. Did He teach us to love our neighbors and to treat others as we want to be treated? Yes, yet He also warned that belief in Him would bring division (Matthew 10:34-39) and could cost one family relationships. He also said that whoever denies Him before men, He'll deny them before His Father in heaven (Matthew 10:33). These are just a few examples of Jesus clearly pointing out that not everybody is gonna think He's so great. Why is that? Because He isn't all about peace and love; He's about truth. He is the truth and many will reject that truth.

2. Jesus wasn't political. Nowhere in the New Testament do I find Jesus pushing a political agenda. Rome was in control of Jerusalem in His day and if anything He exhorted His followers to do what was their obligation when it came to such things as paying taxes and honoring the government (Matthew 22:21). I'm sure Jesus was greatly concerned about issues, but His concern was channeled elsewhere...

3. Jesus spoke almost exclusively to His follower and those who considered themselves religious. Reading through the gospels it's easy to see how stern Jesus sometimes got with His disciples. He rebuked them and corrected them and was amazed at their lack of understanding. His words were even harsher to those who were religious (Pharisees, Sadducees, other Jews), criticizing their veneer of faith for what it really was. There isn't a lot of mention of Him giving instruction or harsh words to those who were outside the religious sphere. Jesus seemed to be most concerned with those who were His followers or claimed to be religious, i.e. He wanted to keep His house in order.

4. Jesus had an agenda that He never wavered from. Jesus wanted men and women to believe that He was the Messiah so that they might be saved and have eternal life. He spent the 3+ years of His ministry on earth telling all who would listen that tradition and works weren't the way to salvation, but rather that He was the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Jesus was concerned about social issues, but they were an extension of the life that believers were called to live, not the definition of that life itself. He called men and women to repentance, not to a particular way of worship or a denomination. And He died to fulfill that agenda so that it would be perfectly complete in Him.

A lot of people want to speak for Jesus or speak for His church, and a lot of times what they say or write is taken way out of context. Jesus is not to be used to fulfill some political agenda. Rather, believers would be better served to do as He did - proclaim His truth and extend the invitation to salvation that only He can bring to all who will receive it.

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