Sunday morning I mentioned that the local newspaper was about to publish another article I’d written. Local papers often accept submissions from local writers, but the Smyrna AM paper is unique in that they actively solicited faith-based articles from local pastors and church leaders. They’ve published three previous pieces I wrote and yesterday this article was included.
Jesus is not your homeboy. He’s not your co-pilot. And He’s not your boyfriend. Despite the marketing techniques that are in vogue today, which attempt to make Jesus more approachable by making Him more “cool,” the trend toward redefining our Savior may soon make Him indistinguishable from any other pop star or celebrity. And sadly, like most celebrities, He is too often viewed as an optional accessory to be used or ignored according to the whim of the consumer. And, as we all know, audiences are fickle.
What’s worse, notions of Jesus as God – one to be worshiped and obeyed – are markedly absent from most modern sermons and the “dumbing down” of Christ is reaching a sort of critical mass in the contemporary church. Soon, the Jesus of the Bible will disappear altogether.
Here’s a fact: You are not like God and God is not like you. He is different. He is “completely other.” As the prophet Isaiah records, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa. 55:8-9)
In the attempt to fill pews and keep their coffers fat, the modern church has attempted to humanize Jesus in sub-biblical ways. They assume that His love is tantamount to human love, or that His jealousy and zeal are the same as ours. As a result, we have a generation of Christians who define their Christianity by their own feelings and thoughts, rather than by aligning their thinking with the dictates of Scripture. And that’s not just theologically clumsy. It’s lethal.
Jesus once asked His apostles, “Whom do men say that I, the son of man, am?” When they responded that some thought He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet, Jesus asked them pointedly, “But who do you say that I am?” (Mat. 16:13-15)
That’s an excellent question – one that we all have to come to grips with at some point in life. Who do we say that Jesus is? Is He merely a man with some good social ideas? Is He another in a succession of Hebrew prophets? Or, is He the figment of someone’s fertile imagination foisted on all humankind as some sort of grand, cosmic joke?
Biblically, there’s only one right answer. Faced with that penetrating question, Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” In response, Jesus made sure that only God received the credit for that realization, saying, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven.” (Mat. 16:16-17)
That means that the only correct answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?” is the answer God reveals – “He is my Son. He is Christ. He is Lord.”
Of course, all of that begs the question, “Who do YOU say He is?”
Be careful. Your answer matters.