The Jesus of the Culture

The Jesus of the Culture

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

Every so often, I find some kind of quotation or saying that resonates with me in ways that I can’t describe in words. Such happened to me just last week as I was perusing a website for Fatihbuilders, a faith-based non-profit in Wichita that helps families in crisis in various ways. This is the quote, from someone not identified, that was on the site.

I found myself asking if I’m really following and believing the Jesus of the Bible or the Jesus of our culture. I believed I was following who we’ve made Jesus to be rather than who he was and is. I’m being led to live a life of sacrifice and put myself in positions where the suffering becomes personal. When you allow that to happen your heart changes and your eyes are opened and you begin to see things a lot differently. —–From the Faithbuilders of Wichita web page.

OK, I don’t know about you, but this hits me in a pretty direct way. I’ve never before thought about whether the Jesus I know is the Jesus of the culture or the Jesus of the Bible. Have you? Nor have I ever thought about whether I was following the Jesus of the culture or the Jesus of the Bible. Have you? My guess is that in both cases, your answer is just like mine…”No.”

The next logical question, at least in my somewhat warped mind, might be, “How is the Jesus of the culture of today different than the Jesus of the Bible?” In what ways is He different? How is He the same? The answers to those questions might be a little tougher to come by than one might think. Why? Because in order to answer the questions, we need to know both the Jesus of the culture as well as the Jesus of the Bible. And many of us are deficient, not in knowing the Jesus of the culture, but rather in the Jesus of the Bible.

I’m reading a book by Steve Timmis called, “I Wish Jesus Hadn’t Said That.” In the book, he gives ten sayings of Jesus that in the culture of today, are very counter-cultural. These ten sayings, while not exhaustive, will give us a glimpse of the Jesus of the Bible. The application of these sayings in modern culture will give us an idea of just how radically different the Jesus of the Bible is from what many consider to be the Jesus of the culture.

1. Deny yourself…take up your cross, and follow me.
2. Love your enemies. Do good to them…
3. Forgive not only seven times, but seventy times seven.
4. You cannot serve both God and money.
5. Keep awake! Be alert! You don’t know when that time will come.
6. Love your neighbor as yourself.
7. Blessed are those who are persecuted.
8. Who are my mother and my brothers? Here are my mother and my brothers.
9. Anyone who is angry (without cause) with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.
10. Go, and make disciples of all nations.

How might the Jesus of the culture say these things?

1. You are special. You deserve the best…and I can give that to you if you’ll just think of me once in a while.
2. Your enemy is out to get you. You have to look out for number one.
3. Forgiveness is overrated. It’s great is you can forgive, but I understand why you might not be able to.
4. You need to give me a day or so a week…I know just how important money is to this modern economy…it’s OK.
5. Things will rock along OK for the time being. You need not be concerned about the future. After all, it’s a long way off.
6. Loving one’s neighbor is really hard, and I get that. You’ll get a pass on the Muslims, the illegals, and the unwashed.
7. Persecution? What is that in this culture?
8. I know you need to love me, but family is where it’s all at. I know. I had family myself.
9. Anger is a natural emotion. You’ll need to use it in order to assert your authority.
10. I know you don’t really have time for this. Just send some money to the missionaries.

OK, I know some of those sound a little over the top to those of us who call ourselves Christians. But are they really that far off? I think not. See for yourself. Create your own “ten things” that Jesus might say in this modern culture. And know that those ten things come from your mind, which means the idea, the thought, the word (if you will) was there all along.

What is your Jesus like? Is He a hip, modern guru who swings along with the culture? Or is He the Jesus of the Bible, that stuffy guy who insists on having everything we have and are and that we follow him to the cross, if necessary?

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