I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
Have you ever considered the question: which Jesus do you follow, worship, serve?
Whether we want to admit it or not, Christianity in this world has quite often been coopted by the world around it – leading Christians to look nothing like the Lord they swear to serve.
Well, there are numerous reasons. But a key one is that the real Jesus does not fit the mold we want for our God.
We want a God that is all-powerful and takes advantage of it like we do. We want a Jesus that is meek and mild, upholds the status quo and the religious practices we love because that will make us comfortable. We want a Holy Spirit who tells us we’re doing everything right and never bothers us with things like pushing us into real work for the kingdom. We want Jesus, and God, to look like us.
But we creations are responsible for all of the evil in the world. Our Creator is not. We are complicit in structures that allow a few to thrive while most remain crushed. Our Savior did what he could to overturn them. We are so focused on the splinter in everyone else’s eye that we never see the log in our own or the tweezers sitting in our hands. Our Sustainer is a holy fire consistently working to open our eyes, ears, hearts, and hands.
Jesus is not who much of the church pretends he is. He would not even recognize himself in the portrayals that are often given.
So who is this Jesus – the real One?
Jesus was the brown-skinned child of an unwed (or barely married-in-time) teenage mother. He lived as a refugee and foreigner in another land for much of his childhood. He cared for the sick. He touched the untouchable and reviled by society. He empowered women and children and those without resources, to learn, grow, teach, and change the world. He said that he desired profligate mercy and service to others, rather than self-righteous prayer or sacrifice. He spoke truth to power, like his mother did before his birth. He called out the religious establishment for supporting the status quo. He also called out numerous systems for perpetuating injustice. He welcomed foreigners with open arms. He embraced the guilty with grace. He taught non-violence, but he still caused a riot when there was no other way to make people pay attention to the harm they were causing. He died because of the life he lived that displayed justice-filled-love with every breath.
That is the Jesus of the gospels. And he is worth getting to know, because that is the God we are meant to serve when we say we are Christians.
Our God chose love, rather than domineering power.
Jesus consistently displayed a ministry of justice for the oppressed, rather than comfort for the powerful.
The Holy Spirit’s fire is meant to refine us and push us out into the world to continue Christ’s ministry, not to do what we tell it.
So which Jesus, which God do you serve?
Be careful how you answer, because God might just turn your whole world upside down from your answer.