Who is Jesus?
‘What kind of question is that?’ Church members by the millions might ask! Many would instantly proclaim that ‘he is the reason for the season,’ though in today’s society this may get you fired, de-platformed, censored, or sued into oblivion for making such a proclamation. The reality may be that the majority of folks know of Jesus but may not actually know him in biblical terms. Some may relate Jesus to the people who come knocking on their door on Saturday mornings while still sipping coffee in their pajamas. For others, Jesus is associated with the guys riding their bikes or walking around town with the white collared shirts and ties. Is that what Jesus wants people to be doing in life? Or does Jesus want us to start a 501c (3) organization and assume the title of ‘pastor’ or ‘elder’ and have a flock of peep(s)? Could it be that Jesus is best defined by the popular crusader televangelist whose devout stories and published books inspire millions? Maybe, maybe not. Or, does the Pope single-handedly hold the authority of God Almighty while living inside of a walled city?
Anyone who wants a biblical perspective on who Jesus is will find the following short list of descriptive words concerning his life and testimony, useful in identifying true followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus is described as:
-Despised and rejected of men.
-A man of sorrows
-Acquainted with grief
-Opposing the religious power structure
-Performer of miracles
-Bringing people back from the dead
-Not motivated by money
-Not politically correct
-Believing in individual empowerment of God
-Teaching people to trust God not man
-Preaching repentance from sin
-Resurrected from the dead
-Ascending into heaven
This is of course a very short list; however, a novice reader of the Bible will find these descriptions to be very clear and emphasized throughout the first four books of the New Testament (also referred to as the Gospels). Yet, that same novice reader may not see any of these descriptions in the modern-day American church or in society. Of course, there are always exceptions to this observation as God has always had a remnant of people who were true to Him and kept His law and Word! As a matter of fact, it was through these people (the minority in all cases) that we see God working in the most powerful and miraculous ways whether it was dividing the red sea or ascending into Heaven, God has always had true worshippers and followers and I believe that this is still the case today. So, where are they?
Will the true believers in America please stand up?
Is America church suffering an identity crisis regarding faith in Jesus Christ! After all, Christian means to ‘be like Christ,’ implying that those who call themselves Christians are like Christ. Are Christians in America really like Christ? Do the prominent religious leaders in America exhibit the attributes of Jesus Christ as referenced above? Or is the American church more accurately described as ‘lukewarm?’ What does the Christian in America find his or her identity in 2019? Spiritual warfare as described in the scripture teaches us that there will always be entities seeking to draw away a believer from their faith in Jesus Christ, in other words competing for the soul of an individual. In our society today, it is evident that people are finding their identity outside of faith in Jesus Christ such as politics, materialistic ideals, sexual identity, social media, financial gain, career, and even in religion.
What would Jesus do (wwjd) if he were to walk into a (name your denominational church) service if indeed he was allowed to? Or, would Jesus start over throwing tables and pews, while driving out all the parishioners, pastors and elders, with a scourge of small cords? The scripture gives us warning about ‘having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof’ this seems to more accurately describe the state of the American church in 2019. Perhaps the modern church in America has become to ‘organizationally – focused’ as opposed to biblical ministry – focused.
According to the scripture, believers of Jesus Christ are to come out from the ways of the world and be separate, that the love of money is the root of all evil, that the friendship of the world is the enemy of God. These are the things that are written in our Bibles, but are we hearing these things from the pulpit? If not, then what are learning in church? The church in America seems to be a little too cozy with the world, is the world is becoming more ‘churchy’, and the church becoming more ‘worldly’? Does the church in America know who Jesus is?
Image of Jesus is from the Cathedral of Cefalù,