I've posted about serendipity before. The recent topic that I have been hearing more about is our view of Jesus verses who He really is. We tend to lean on the sweet, forgiving quiet Jesus, meek and mild, in the American church. But Jesus of the Bible is more than that.
I got a book from Katie for my birthday that I started to read, Jesus, Mean and Wild, by Mark Galli. He is taking a look at the gospel of Mark, the most action packed of the four gospels. In this book, he shows that following Jesus is hard, that Jesus preaches hard actions, radical ideas and fights evil. Jesus doesn't fit in a box.
This morning, Michael Card in an interview promoted his new book on this theme of the powerful Jesus in The Gospel of Passion, on Mark. I listened to Michael teaching on the storm that was demonic. Ever wonder why seasoned fishermen were afraid in a storm? He said how it shook the earth, the Greek word used. It was a storm like never encountered before. Then the next scene is the man who lived in the graveyard, filled with demons, that Jesus, unapologetic, casts into the pigs. There goes the farmers livelihood.
Some things to chew on, huh? Following Jesus is not all material blessings. He said we have to give up family sometimes, we face persecution, we may even suffer death. Yes, you're lining up now for this life, aren't you? This may not be what we hear in church. Jesus is our buddy, our best friend, our genie in the bottle to grant more than just three wishes, we sometimes come away with that idea. We don't want to hear the difficult passages.
One time I heard a preacher describe Jesus in modern terms as wearing khaki pants, polo shirt, wavy golden brown hair, just soft from a shower, sort of like the pictures we grew up seeing, only not in a white dress. The smiling Jesus, just looking at His people with love requiring no responsibility of holiness. He is not going to ask the self denial, cross bearing actions of believers.
Another time, I heard someone else describe Jesus as in Revelation, with fire flashing from His eyes, skin like bronze, people falling at His feet. Now this is the wild, untamable God that we are to worship. He truly is the only one worthy.
The question is am I being reminded of this now to prepare me for something? Had I gotten complacent in my view of my Lord? Have we all? Do we all need to be reminded that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, He is all powerful, He is like Aslan in Chronicles of Narnia, good, but not tamed?
What do you think? Do you think in America we see Jesus as that Santa who blesses? Do we want a God who demands difficult decisions? Do we want a wild ride?