I think we have this idea that Jesus was just a really nice guy, with great hair, who was always so gentle and mild and wouldn’t hurt a fly. You know, it’s the image of Jesus as a Precious Moments character.
However, here’s the reality. I don’t think Jesus is like that at all. Ok, maybe sometimes he is, but I don’t think that’s most of the time. I think we like Precious Moments Jesus because he doesn’t require us to change. He doesn’t jab us and poke at us. He doesn’t open our eyes to the reality of sin around us and say “look at this mess.” He doesn’t call to us to change our lives and pick up our cross and carry him. He’s just nice Jesus who makes no demands on anyone.
But real Jesus is the guy who preached the Sermon on the Mount. He’s the one who told his disciples who was blessed in the Kingdom of God – all the people who the world thought were losers.
He’s the one who tells his closest followers that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. If he were to pick out these close disciples here today, I half wonder if he would pick garbage men and day laborers and tell them that they are the cream of the crop. Not exactly a message that the world would see as sane.
He’s the one who talks about anger, adultery, divorce, and taking oaths – you know subjects that we’d rather not deal with, talk about, or even think about. They are far too messy for us. We’d rather talk about abstract ideas. No way we want Jesus pointing out how broken we are right to our face. We certainly don’t want Jesus telling us that if we are angry with a brother or sister we are liable to judgement, or that even thinking lustful thoughts about someone is committing adultery, or that we all have broken relationships with others, or that we forge our words to be misleading. Ouch. Precious Moments Jesus would never say these things.
Yet, this is the real Jesus we have to deal with. He’s the one who makes us uncomfortable. And yet, he’s right there with us in that uncomfortableness. He’s there pointing out these realities and showing us that on our own we are screwed. And more importantly, he’s there telling us that the only solution is him. No one else. Not ourselves. No politician or political party. No leader. No policy. No law. No nothing else. Just Jesus. Real Jesus. And certainly not Precious Moments Jesus. Thank God for that.