“When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him.” Matthew 21:45-46
W-O-W, do I have some things to share with you that have been stirring in my heart big time! It all revolves around our modern misperceptions concerning our beloved hero Jesus and I’ll showcase them ALL in my series “Mean Jesus” available on all of my social media platforms. I’m sure you’re well acquainted with sheep-carrying, children-loving, adulteress forgiving Jesus whom we all know and love. Yes, he’s my favorite Jesus too! Yet when I began to give his story in the Gospels a fresh look, I discovered something HORRIFYING and here it is (gulp): …… Jesus …. was …………. “MEAN.” Ahhhhhhhh!! There I got it out. OF COURSE, Jesus wasn’t rude or disrespectful or a bully BUT I have to admit that the Jesus I see in the Gospels is, well, “mean” in contrast to our contemporary standards. Just take a look at the example above from Matthew’s Gospel. It’s just one example of MANY where Jesus “cruelly” imputes his divine understanding and expectation on others. The reason I chose this Scripture, however, is that he went far beyond awkward dinner conversation here. In this episode of the mini-series, Jesus, after “pushing” his way into culture through a dynamic ministry, openly and fearlessly confronted the anti-God authority of his community. But wait! Did you catch those words in the scripture? His opponents, the Pharisees, knew he was “talking about them.” In this instance and in many others, tear-wiping Jesus (whom we know and love) was openly and directly ripping down the manmade structures around him. How brazen was this act of “disrespect”? Well … they looked to ARREST him! Just stop for a moment and let that sink in. When cripple-healing Jesus went into a community he brought division, he brought controversy, he brought unrest. These things REALLY WERE part of the whole package. The point I’m trying to make is this: Yes, Jesus IS kind. Yes, Jesus IS loving. Yes, Jesus IS compassionate and grace-giving and every other kind of nicety we can articulate. But Jesus also has a MAJOR part of his personality that was confrontational and counter-cultural and Satan-kicking. Let’s just say it together … Jesus had a little mean streak – at least “mean” by our understanding of things today. Something to think about before you write off doing something bold for God that seemingly violates the values, vision or expectations of those around you.
Have you ever considered how controversial Jesus’ ministry was? I mean, he was MURDERED for it. Think about that. What does this truth say to you about the way Christians live their lives today?
Has Jesus ever said anything that challenged you? What was it? How did you respond?
Check out my video series “Mean Jesus” on all of my social media platforms and choose one habit you can start TODAY that will help you be more bold for God in this world!