Messages, Writing-the-Message

Making Jesus more Reasonable

A sermon about the temptation to make Jesus more reasonable, based on Luke 4:21-30 and 1Corinthians 13.

Introduction

A recent BBC social survey suggests attitudes are getting more liberal, which is not surprising given years of BBC propaganda designed to achieve this end!

However, pressure on the church to conform to the norms of society is not new. Many years ago, the church abandoned it’s opposition to lending money. The Biblical position is that lending money for profit to those in need is exploitation – ‘usury’.

I knew a Christian Bank Manager who complained about irresponsible lending to his superiors – he isn’t a Bank Manager anymore! Now we can look back on the ‘credit crunch’ and we see the devastation caused by irresponsible lending by greedy lenders.

I can’t say with integrity that all lending is wrong (I have a mortgage), but the church is needed to counterbalance natural human greed and restrain its worst effects: we could say that of all sins.  Not that the church – you and me – are perfect.  We need Christ’s leadership to guide us, before we can be an example to others: “Doctor, heal yourself” Jesus says.

The Biblical, Unreasonable Jesus

In many parts of the Gospel we see Jesus saying and doing things that don’t fit in with our modern, liberal politically-correct western society.

He insults a foreign woman who comes to him for help; Jesus physically assaults the money lenders in the Temple; he appears to make mistakes, or not to be able to do things in certain circumstances; Jesus suggests that it’s better to mutilate oneself than to burn in hell; and he points out other peoples’ sins – even while forgiving and healing them.

Some Christians ignore inconvenient parts of the Gospel; many scholars (liberal or conservative) try to explain away Jesus’ more difficult words and deeds.

Luke 4 and Corinthians 13

In today’s passage he goes out of his way to provoke and upset people (I wonder, is it to shock them out of their smug complacency?  Or am I just making excuses like everyone else?)  Jesus deliberately provokes his own kith and kin to the point where they are ready to murder him.  Think about that.  That’s the Lord we follow – ‘gentle Jesus, meek and mild?’

Contrast that with 1Corinthians Chapter 13 on love.  We had this at our wedding, but perhaps it isn’t just the mushy, emotional passage that people think it is!

We would like Jesus to be more reasonable.  Why does he have to be so difficult?  Why can’t he be more middle of the road, middle class – more like us?

Our society currently worships celebrity and wealth.  To be a celebrity you have to be popular.  To be popular to have to offend as few people as possible, you have to broaden your appeal.

Even if you’re not trying to be famous, you have to be careful what you say, lest you offend anyone.  That’s employment law!  Voicing an opinion is not the way to get ahead: avoid emotive issues – like uncomfortable facts – if you want to get ahead.

Jesus doesn’t seem to be interested in doing this – why does he have to be so inconvenient?

The Imitation of Christ

We are supposed to imitate Christ, but we try to make him imitate us instead.  One of our faults is to try and make Jesus more like us – to make him more reasonable.

At the moment our society is telling us to stop making a fuss. We don’t have the right to tell other people how to live – even if we are just leading by example.  “Stop rocking the boat” is the message: but Jesus rocked the boat and we are to imitate him.

I remember being told in art class to “draw what you see, not what you think you see.”  I hope that we will read the words and actions of Jesus in the Bible, just as they are.  We will need Faith, Hope and Love to truly follow him, and I wish you every blessing on the road.

Amen

Published by

Simon

Simon writes science fiction stories about individuals caught up in huge events, where outer conflict is reflected in their rich inner lives. As the son of an immigrant, he writes about people who don't always fit in. In his day job, Simon is an engineering consultant of many years’ experience. He has been lucky enough to speak at conferences in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.

2 thoughts on “Making Jesus more Reasonable”

  1. Great post Simon. Yes, I liked the part when you wrote that Jesus is meek and mild, gentle and lowly while turning the tables over in the synagoue and using a branch of a hanging tree to make a whip,(if you don’t mind, can I add something to the drama) while one of the Rabbis wives is quoting from 1 Corinthians 13, while her husband is calling the cops to ask them to come and arrest this strange guy in sandals who is violent and looks like he escaped from the local asylum. Then the Rabbi’s Grandmother starts playing on the synagogue organ, “Away in a Manger.” Simon, by the way, in your profile, there wasn’t a mention of which country you are from – I guess you are from Britain since you were in the RAF for twenty years.Anyway, I am an Englishman. God bless you.Have a wonder-filled day with God the Holy Spirit. By the way, I am also a Writer, as well as an aspiring Author.My amazon author page is amazon.com/author/chrisbriscoe
    Please, Simon, check it out, when you have a moment.

    1. Hi Chris, many thanks for your comment. It’s very encouraging to know that people are reading one’s jottings, and it’s even better when they want to engage! I will take a look at your blog and Amazon author page. Best Regards, Simon

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