“I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ” (Mahatma Gandhi).
Gandhi started a thing. (Actually, he started many things). He started a very popular trend among non-Christians of pointing out how un-Christ-like professing Christians can be. I’m not actually going to disagree with that point, because I think there is validity to it. I disagree with the sentiment fueling this trend: that in his humanity, Jesus was this chill, hippie-like figure who was all compassion and basically a judgment-free zone. I also strongly dislike the fact that Christians have begun to allow the world’s view of Jesus to dictate Christ-likeness. Since Jesus was compassionate and non-judgmental, we must also be as well.
Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here: Jesus was compassionate. Throughout his earthly life and ministry, Jesus spent his time among the lowest of the low in His society, looking after them. It seems he protected them from the religious leaders of His day who were all judgment and basically a compassion-free zone. He gave up His rights as the Son of God in order to die an excruciatingly humiliating death for all sin, to make a way for people to know Him and His Father. BUT I don’t want you to think His compassion and sacrifice were a matter of weakness or softness; on the contrary, He was the Only One strong enough to live life and die the way He did.
Because Jesus is God. He possesses ALL of God’s authority and power and He always has. Whether you identify with Christ or not, you cannot tell me that I must live a life filled with compassion and void of absolutes because that’s what your version of Jesus did. Your version of Jesus might have lived that way; the Jesus of the Bible did not.
Consider Jesus’ authority and power during His earthly ministry with me:
“Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned their tables. And He said to those who sold doves, ‘Take those things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!'” (John 2:13-16 NKJV).
- “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said … ‘Whoever receives one little child like this in my name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea'” (Matthew 18:2,5-6 NKJV).
- “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:17-18 NKJV).
- “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'” (Matthew 27:18 NKJV).
Dear people, He is coming back again to earth, and if your version of Jesus is soft, I am afraid you will be caught off-balance by this: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16 NKJV).
I am not here to give you a watered-down version of Jesus, a Jesus who makes you comfortable and complacent. I am here to show you the Jesus of the Bible, and to represent HIM, not your version of Him. I will point you to His compassion and love and grace, but I will also point you to His truth and authority. You cannot have the Jesus of the Bible and only take one or the other. Take all of Him, and endeavor to be like all of Him!!!