A Jesus We Can Live With

There are many things we will never understand.  Some of them we readily know and admit to, others we never realize what the problem is.  I think who Jesus was historically is one of those things we can no longer understand.  We have too much information, developed from sources other than the historical texts of the Bible and the historical understanding of people.  Then we have too much personally riding on what we believe about Jesus. 


This means that, try as we might, we just cannot filter through what are the traditions of man and what are the traditions of God.  Jesus lived in a simpler time.  He was a man of his times, even though he has also become a man of our times.  The mistake we make is in lifting Jesus out of the first century and dropping him into the twenty-first century.  Then we try to understand the life he lived based on the way we view the world.


The problem with this type of analysis is that we have two thousand years of church history and church doctrine that form the basis of what we believe.  Then, because Jesus is such a personal approach to God, we personalize it more to fit our own images of what life is really about.


It is impossible to get outside of our own world.


So, what do we do then, we create a Jesus we can live with.  Some aspects of what we see in Jesus are based on the truth and some are based on our personal versions of the truth.  It is human nature to do this.  That is why there are wars and dissention around the world.  What I think is best for living is not what you think is best for living and those differences create a conflict that is usually not violent—even though those differences are unrelenting.


Sometimes those differences in worldview lead to wars and violence.


We have to get to a place where we can honestly evaluate Jesus in the present through the lens of history and truth.  It means that we will have to set aside a lot of preconceived notions about who Jesus is and what his purposes were.


We have to set aside the teachings of our denomination to determine this.  I am not saying that we should dump the denominations or that we should disregard their teachings, I am talking about getting to a place of intellectual and spiritual honesty where the view we have of Jesus is in keeping with who he really claims to be.


If we do not do this we will all be very surprised when we cross the threshold of heaven and find the man meeting us is not the man we were hoping to meet.  Even more importantly, if we do not do this we will never truly create an atmosphere for bringing the pure reality of Jesus down to earth.


The crux of the ministry of Jesus is that he came to bring the kingdom of God to earth.  “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  You see, it is not about building bigger and better churches.  It is not about selling our version of the Gospel or our books or our CDs.  It is about bringing the kingdom of God to earth—as it is in heaven.


What we have become guilty of is bringing the kingdom of earth to heaven.  We have remade heaven into the worldly image of what it has to be for us to enjoy it.  God is not a being who is capable of being remade.  He is the remaker not the remakee.  It is we who must change.  It is our beliefs that must align with His.  It is the kingdom of heaven that is important because in the kingdom of heaven is perfect love, perfect peace, perfect grace, the true forgiveness for sin.


We can try everything we know and not duplicate heaven here.  Only God can duplicate heaven on the earth—yet He chooses to use us to bring this to pass.


What set Jesus apart from the rest of us, other than the fact that he was God and he was man?  He was set apart by the fact that he was not influenced by his culture.  He was not influenced by the kingdom of earth that was trying to duplicate the kingdom of heaven without permitting real change in the hearts of man. 


Jesus knew that the only way to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth as it is in heaven was to bring change in the hearts of man.  That means that he knew how valueless it was to make us change our clothes, or our hair styles, or any of the outside things.  He knew that the only way to bring the kingdom of heaven was to change the inside, the hearts of men and women.  Change them with the revolutionary vibrancy of heaven entering into the hearts of men and women.


We must bring change that is not based on what you say, but on what you do.  You see the main change Jesus was seeking to bring was in our worldview.  He knew that change could only come in the heart that lived in close communion with God.


It is this kind of approach to life that leaves us able to go into the Garden of Gethsemane looking to convince God that our way is better and still walk away having surrendered our foolishness to the wisdom of God—even when the wisdom of God is not in our best interest.


We have got to find a place where the Gospel we preach is the Gospel he preached.  We have to find a place where we truly speak for Jesus.  That means we have to die for ourselves and come alive to him—even when life in him costs us too much.  Like Jesus, struggling with the struggles of a young man in the Garden, we have to come to the place where no matter the cost we are willing to accept the kingdom of Heaven coming to earth without being changed as it comes through the atmosphere.


Anything else is a false Gospel that was not born in heaven but was born on earth.  And that is no fulfillment of the calling we have from heaven.


We have too many people who have created a Jesus they can live with teaching us that we can find a Jesus we can live with.  It is time for us to let Jesus create a person he can live with us in our own lives and stop recasting him into our mold.


2 Responses to “A Jesus We Can Live With”

  1. 1 Matt 5 August 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck just released a great book on the growing Emergent Christian movement and what a load it truly is. Why We’re Not Emergent. It is a must read.

  1. 1 Stop US Wars » Blog Archive » A Jesus We Can Live With Trackback on 5 August 2008 at 6:05 pm

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