Would you even like Jesus?
Would you like him, if he came into your church and started yelling about houses of prayer? Or would you call him just another angry man?
Would you like him if he told you to sell even some of your stuff and give the proceeds to the poor? Or would you call him a socialist?
Would you like him if he told you to stop sleeping with people you weren’t married to? Or would you call him a legalist?
What if you realized he wasn’t a Conservative?
Or a Liberal?
Would you like him if you found him crying by himself on a hillside, talking about a rebellious city? Or would you call him an emotional wreck?
I don’t know, would I even like him?
What about the time he let those guys chop up an innocent man’s roof?
Would you like it if he hadn’t planned ahead and all of a sudden asked you to feed a few thousand people?
What would you think when he dozed off during a life-threatening storm?
He is not as tame as we make him, after all.
Would you like him when he let the prostitute get a little too close? Or would you start to wonder about his dedication to purity?
Would you like him when he befriended your political enemy, visiting his house and sharing a meal? Or would that be a red line crossed?
You see, we sanitize and sanctify Jesus, stripping him of context and personality, until he looks (we think) like us.
But he’s not like us. Thank God.
So, would you like him?
What if he showed up in your deepest pain and you saw his eyes, red with mercy and compassion? Would you like him then?
What if you heard him cry, “Forgive them!” And you knew he was talking about you? Would you like him then?
Would you run to him, grasping his sleeve for acceptance and love?
He’d let you.
He’d love you.
He’d heal you.
After all, he liked you first.
“We have unconsciously distorted the gospel and transformed it into something it never claimed to be — ideas abstracted from Jesus, rather than Jesus with his people.” S. Hauerwas and W. Willimon
Today, wherever you find yourself on this fine globe, may you have the courage to put aside the abstractions, lay down the hypotheticals, and show your neighborhood the healing reality that is “Jesus with his people.”
May the passion of the Christ, the power of the Father, and the presence of the Spirit, help us in this task, for his glory and the salvation of many.
all for ONE,
Jonathan M. Trotter