The picture of Jesus that we often carry around in our head is that of the golden haired, soft-spoken, gentle guy who would never say or do anything to offend anyone. He’s the Jesus who makes us feel all warm and safe. He’s the Jesus who leaves us in our comfort zone. He’s the tame Jesus.
Then there’s the Jesus that actually walked around on the planet. This is the Jesus who says things like,
- If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
- Anyone who doesn’t hate his own father and mother cannot be my disciple.
- The first will be last and the last will be first.
- What good does it do to gain the whole world and lose your soul?
- Anyone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of heaven.
With these kinds of statements, Jesus forced people to sit up, listen, and choose. He offended their sensitivities and their beliefs. He messed with their worldview. He threatened the stability of their religious beliefs. And he frightened people who thought they knew exactly who God was. In short, he was about as far from tame as you can get.
Which Jesus are you familiar with? The tame, safe Jesus? Or the real, life-changing Jesus? I hope you can join us for the continuation of our series, “SERIOUSLY?” Each Sunday we’re exploring what Jesus meant by his outrageous statements. And we’re learning what it means to follow the real Jesus. To borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, where the children asked if Aslan, the lion, was safe: “Safe, of course he’s not safe. But he’s good.”