I read an article this morning on the Relevant website about how many of us try to make Jesus into a more appropriate, acceptable....palatable Jesus....closer to our own tastes. Sometimes, even made in our own image. We do this by ignoring or adding to what we read in the gospels. The article compared it to airbrushing Jesus.
The Bible is not an easy read. There are many factors that make it difficult to understand. Contradictions, historical and cultural differences, translation bias, translation errors, denomination bias; especially the Old Testament. But there are four gospels that basically tell the same story. They are written from slightly different perspectives and to different "audiences" but all four agree on the big stuff, especially the synoptic gospels. The character of Jesus is consistent in all four of them. There are no schizophrenic exceptions, mood swings or inconsistent behavior. Anything that seems inconsistent just needs a closer look. And throughout the Gospels, Jesus bids us, "Follow me." How then do some of us get him so wrong?
There are some things he says that I really don't like much...like what he says about enemy love. I would rather he hadn't said that. I don't want to love my enemies or bless those who curse me. Not only did he tell us about enemy love, he showed us when he went to the cross praying for the forgiveness of those crucifying him. I am so totally not there yet, however, I KNOW he said it. I can't deny he said it and what he meant. He didn't really list any exceptions.
How can anyone can read the Gospels and come away with the idea that Jesus taught anything but active nonviolent, sacrificial love? Not doormat love. Not pacifism. Nonviolence and pacifism are not the same thing. When I hear folks trying to present him as some kind of a "God Bless America Warrior" Jesus, I think they are totally missing the mark.
There has been a lot of controversy about the current American Sniper movie. Some say he was a hero...some say he was a glorified serial killer. I'm not weighing in on that discussion in this post but I did read a comment from a Fox movie critic, Todd Starnes, that I think is a great example of photoshopping Jesus.
In response to a comment by Michael Moore, Starnes said,
“Well, I’m no theologian, but I suspect Jesus would tell that God-fearing, red-blooded American sniper, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant for dispatching another Godless jihadist to the lake of fire,’ but then again I'm no theologian.”
Definitely NOT a theologian...and definitely not the Jesus presented in the four Gospels. But the Jesus that appeals to Starnes.
If we are too busy making Jesus look and act like us, doesn’t that it impede the process of theosis.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, of his boundless love, became what we are that he might make us what he himself is. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V.)~~~~~~
“God rewards those who seek Him. Not those who seek doctrine of religion or systems or creeds. Many settle for these lesser passions, but the reward goes to those who settle for nothing less than Jesus himself. And what is the reward? What awaits those who seek Jesus? Nothing short of the heart of Jesus.” ― Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus~~~~~~~
“Christ entered our world. As a result, we can enter His.” ― Max Lucado, God Came Near
“What you think of Jesus Christ Will thoroughly color how you think about everything else.” ― Max Lucado
……………….but we know that when He is revealed, (to become known, to be plainly recognized, thoroughly understood--who and what one is) we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.