Updated on April 16, 2016
Updated on April 16, 2016
At church this morning, they shared a video where a guy hit the streets to ask people, “Who is Jesus?” The responses were a little sad to me; especially this one woman who said,
Jesus is a myth created by people to try and control society.
That got me thinking. Unfortunately, many people believe Jesus was either a fictional character, or a crazy man who deceived a lot of people. You know what? I believe that we, the Church, the followers of Christ are to blame for that perception. We have created a mythical Jesus and we are peddling him to the world.
We spend our time and our money trying to mold the “worldly” into our version of a model Christian. We place obedience to specific, carved out Bible verses above all other things. We fixate on political issues, picking and choosing who and what we feel represents our brand of religion, all the while ignoring the real issues that break God’s heart.
It stinks people! Frankly, I really don’t think that if Jesus were here to vote in our political election he would care if someone was a Republican or a Democrat, Christian or not. He wouldn’t concern himself with debates over the rights of Gays to marry. He would not spend his time worrying about whether the House or the Senate was controlled by certain parties. He just wouldn’t care.
Because God is bigger than all of that and small enough to be concerned about the lonely, hurting, crying, stressed-out people who need the anchor and hope he can provide.
What matters to God is not the spread of Christianity to control society through political means. He said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.” Meaning – do your part and vote responsibly, and then do your part and love as Jesus loved. Because, our love is what sets us apart, not our political agendas and religious exercises.
So, I can see how people think that Jesus is a mythical character, a piece of fiction people thought up to help them try to mold society to their specific beliefs, because so many of us go parading around, preaching the gospel according to religion, not the gospel according to Christ. It’s a lot like things were when Jesus was on the earth, in the flesh.
Over 2000 years ago, the Jewish people were in a political firestorm. They were under the rule of Rome and they didn’t like it. They believed that God would send a Messiah who would save them from their political oppressors. He would come and deliver them. He would rescue them and restore them to their own, free nation.
What they got was a guy who didn’t care as much about what Rome was doing to oppress the Jewish people. He cared about bigger, more important things. He cared about the religious right who were oppressing others in the name of God. He didn’t come to carve out a nation or a select group of people and separate them from all outside influences. He came to reconcile ALL people back to God, back to himself.
He did not demand that anyone follow his prescribed rules or respect his authority. He won them over because he loved them. He earned their respect because he cared about their physical and spiritual need.
So what does the world see when they look at Christians? Maybe they see a bunch of high and mighty jerks who are more concerned about conformity than they are about real societal needs. They see people using their religion to try and make society conform to their standards.
What they need to see, is love; pure, unadulterated love. It would be pretty hard to look someone in the face and say, “Jesus is a myth,” when the Jesus they see in you is full of love and acceptance. I think the world would look at Christians in a different light if we spent our time, energy and money on issues that promote justice and equality. If we could, for one minute consider what it’s like to be someone who is marginalized. If we could love others without limits, without requiring conformity, without fear of condoning “sin.”
If we would stop worrying about the speck in someone else’s eye and start extracting the log out of our own eye, maybe we would have the ability to see that the world is crying out for someone to send them a lifeline. That lifeline is Jesus. Jesus, who sat by the Samaritan woman, a sinner by all standards but valuable in his eyes. Jesus, who told Peter, “Get behind me Satan,” but said, “On this Rock I will build my Church.”
There’s a world longing for hope and love, and all we seem to give them is an endless bucket full of rules and shame and standards that no human could live up to. No wonder they think Jesus is a myth. If Jesus only wants the cleaned up version of me, what value do I have?
Can you go out and live a life of Christ-like love in the face of a world that thinks you believe a myth? What would happen if we put political agendas aside, put religious standards to the back burner and just showed others that we aren’t there to shame them into heaven? Can we let God be God and trust that the whole of Christian belief in marriage will not be toppled if a Christian pastor performs a gay marriage? Worse yet, if it happens in YOUR church?
That is how I want to live my life. Will you join me?