Was Jesus Religious?
“I’m after mercy, not religion.”
Hosea 6:6 The Message
“Christ came when all things were growing old. He made them new.”
Would Jesus be comfortable attending an average church service today? I’m not so sure. You have to wonder at least, don’t you? First, I’m not so sure he would sit still for that long.
Second, in some churches, if Jesus showed up as a visitor, he would be ignored. In others, just plain bored. Even though in our church architecture we have certainly succeeded in stamping him onto our stain glass windows, I’m not so sure we could get him to stay seated in one of our pews.
The more I looked at the Jesus of the Bible the more I found someone quite different than religion makes him out to be. Our stained glass images portray him as a soft, mild-mannered milk-toast sort of a man, while the Bible shows him turning over tables in the temple in defiance of the religious leaders of his day. Ironically, the people he upset the most were not political leaders or pagans, or criminals, but the religious.
Instead of searching far enough to find out his true nature, too often I had, instead, tried to make him into my image. Rather than finding out his purpose for my life, I had hoped that he would simply help me realize my own aspirations, my potentials. Instead of looking for the “big idea” in Scripture and discovering what God is truly after, I had, like many others, adopted the religious notions passed down to me. While Jesus offered nothing short of a spiritual transformation, I had settled for a weekly dose of religious information; Hardly what he intended; Hardly worth the price of a cross.
The more I searched, the more I saw that the Jesus of the Bible blows all our stereotypes. If you want to get to know him, I mean really know him, as he truly is … you may be in for some surprises. I surely was. If you come with an open mind and heart, be prepared. He will not only inspire you; he will challenge, confront and stir you as no person ever has or ever could.
Christianity is not a faith built on our terms, but on Christ’s. And clearly the love that allowed him to endure this sin-riddled earth and the agony of the cross was a love riveted on winning not our blind religious efforts, but our loving and heartfelt devotion.