You say you love Jesus. But in all candor, you love your Jesus. You love the Jesus you have fashioned for yourself, who values the same things you value and who is—pardon the pun—your own personal savior.
But, if Jesus were to show up right now, would you love the true Jesus of Scripture? Perhaps you would, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t love this Jesus. I know I don’t. I’d like to— I’m trying to, but His words go so far beyond my understanding or my desires of what I want God to be. He doesn’t fit into my box or my preferences. I doubt he fits in yours.
This Jesus says it is the poor in spirit and the meek who are blessed, not the righteous and the whole. This Jesus says to the poor, “you are blessed already” and looks at the rich and says, “sell all you have and give to the poor.”
This Jesus says the person you wouldn’t even pick for a janitor at your church is His choice for all the riches in eternity.
This Jesus gives to the poor, the injured, and the hungry without asking that they first become self-sufficient. This Jesus forgives the drunks and the prostitutes before they are rehabilitated. This Jesus eats dinner with people you wouldn’t let in your house— or want in your neighborhood.
This Jesus says it’s not for you to judge, not for you to fix and not your place to criticize the speck of dust in your neighbor’s eye until you have removed the giant tree limb from yours. In both cases, the solution to sin is in His hands, not ours.
This Jesus says your clothes, your car and your mansion don’t buy your spot in Heaven and neither do your good deeds nor your high standing at your church. This Jesus says your good deeds have about as much place in His Kingdom as a heap of filthy rags. He says no matter what you do, you are unworthy and only He is worthy.
This Jesus says you are not God, not close to God, nowhere near even being the god of your own life. Then, He offends the entire world by saying He is God.
You wouldn’t love this Jesus. For He comes into your church and flips over tables, shuts down your church bookstores, tells your pastors to stop charging money for courses where His word is being taught. He tells you, you can’t play favorites with His family members, can’t put one social class higher than another and can’t stop another class from hearing His message.
This Jesus forgives thieves and liars. He forgives women who have abortions and the doctors who perform them. This Jesus is a friend to the people you have deemed untouchable— while at the same time, He is a friend to you. Then, He tells you to love your enemies.
This Jesus says let your giving and your praying be done in secret. He says don’t take credit for your good works or righteous acts. He says all glory is His, and instant gratification simply isn’t in the cards. He flies in the face of prosperity teachers who say God shows financial favor and gives material possessions to those who love Him. In fact, this Jesus says you are blessed when you are mocked and persecuted for following Him.
Do you really love this Jesus?