5 destructive myths about Jesus
A few years back a friend and I were praying with a woman who was in a tough emotional situation. And when I say tough, I mean that it was a scorched earth situation of betrayal, depression, broken trust, financial ruin and shattered dreams. You know…one of those situations where you just can’t say something trite like “keep your head up, God will never give you more than you can handle.”
After praying with her for a bit, I asked her what the real desires of her heart were concerning the Lord.
She wiped away a tear. She sighed deeply. She looked me in the eye. And with an honest smile she said, “I just want people to love me like they loved Jesus.”
And before I knew it, I blurted out “Oh yeah, people loved Him so much they hung Him from a tree.”
Yeah. Sometimes I’m about as gentle as a baseball bat.
But that incident got me thinking. Number one, it got me thinking about my delivery and, um, how much I really needed to work on it. Number two, and more important, it got me thinking about how twisted up our views are about Jesus and who He actually is and what His life was like. I mean, if the Church can’t give an accurate presentation of Jesus to people, then who can? We’re the bride. Its our duty to reveal who our Groom really is!
So I started diving deep into the subject. And the fruit of this exploration has been pretty fascinating. I have found that Jesus is a little bit different for everyone. After all, He is a person. People forget that sometimes. And everyone knows a person differently. My relationship with my Brother, my Lord and Savior, my Friend and my Husband (I am a part of the Bride, correct?) is different than that my wife, my pastor, my father and my friends have with Him.
You can never plumb the depths of Jesus. You just can’t. That’s why He is the Truth.
And I love to learn about other folks’ view of Him.
But I have also found that there are some destructive myths that discolor many folks’ view of Jesus. And I get pretty fired up about them.
After all, if someone has the wrong idea about someone you are in love with, you want to set the record straight, right?
Over the next week I will be discussing 5 of the most destructive myths about Jesus, and the truth about them that will set you free. Some of these topics are pretty dang controversial, which should make for some pretty lively conversation.
I’m game. Are you?
So get ready, because this is going to be a challenging and fun ride. I will be writing about (and Lord willing, debunking) these myths over the next few days and weeks. I hope you decide to stick around and examine these topics with me. And as always, I love to hear your comments, so please, share and let me know what other myths about Jesus you believe need to get snuffed out and obliterated.
After all, it really sucks when people give someone you love a bad name.
And with that folks, its time to step up to the plate.
The top 5 destructive myths about Jesus:
1. Destructive myth about Jesus #1: Jesus was a wimp (aka the Kissy Baby Jesus myth)
2. Destructive myth about Jesus #2: Everybody really loved what Jesus had to say (aka Everything is A-Okay Jesus)
3. Destructive myth about Jesus #3: Jesus was a hippie (aka the myth of white surfer Buddy Christ)
4. Destructive myth about Jesus #4: Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah (aka the Jesus was just a really awesome guy myth)
5. Destructive myth about Jesus #5: There is no historical evidence Jesus existed (aka the Anonymous Jesus for Atheists myth)
And the conclusion that is sure to ruffle some feathers…
6. How and why do these destructive myths exist?
And with that, dear and faithful readers…here…we…go!
Destructive myth about Jesus #1: Jesus was a wimp (aka Kissy Baby Jesus)
When most people who aren’t Christian think of Jesus, the first thing that comes to their mind is “turn the other cheek.” Or kissing babies. Or they think of effeminate Jesus hanging upon a cross with a wretched grimace across His tortured face. Okay. Check that. Even many Christians picture this sort of stuff when they think about Jesus.
Let’s face it, Church. We’ve done a terrible thing in giving the world a domesticated and wimpy picture of the Lion of Judah.
It’s the truth. And it sucks. But everything is going to be okay. Breath deep. Let it sting a little. Now let’s move on from it.
Because we can turn this thing around. We still have time. Because we know who He really is. And if some of you don’t, its okay. Find someone passionately in love with Jesus and let ’em give you a taste. And when you begin to get a real taste, and when you find out a little about who He really is, you have to know more. And when you begin to find out more you begin to fall harder and faster for Him. The complexity, the endless threads in a tapestry…Jesus is amazing. But we have to get past this gunk, these myths, these lies that we’ve allowed to hem in our view of Him.
And whereas Jesus did indeed say “turn the other cheek,” and He did love children and He did die on a cross…its time we stopped limiting Him to those things. And it is time we start re-presenting Him in His true Glory.
Because hoo-boy, He is so much more.
Let’s talk about the physical stuff first. Most of the iconography and representations of Jesus in media and art present Jesus as rather thin, emaciated and effeminate. And whereas we have no physical Gospel descriptions of Jesus, we do know something very important- He was raised as a carpenter and until He was 30, He was a carpenter by trade. And back in Judea, being a carpenter was quite different than now. Number one, you didn’t go to Home Depot to buy 2×4’s. You cut timber, hewed timber and did everything without the aid of power tools. And if there was no wood, you worked with stone as a stonemason. So chances are, Jesus wasn’t a weakling. And I guarantee you that His hands and shoulders bore the signs of many years of handling rough pieces of wood and rock (and we are going to dive into even more detail on this in the Destructive myth about Jesus #3: Jesus was a hippie (aka the myth of white surfer Buddy Christ) entry).
You see, Jesus was a man’s man. And men want to follow a man. After all, no one is just going to drop everything they are doing in life to follow an Urkel.
Yet, the physical stuff is truly minor compared to the other amazing aspects of Jesus.
Jesus was not afraid to get into someone’s face and challenge them, as He often did when He decimated the Pharisees and Sadducees with His biting and well-timed comments. Let’s face it, to address the Pharisees in the public square and call them a “brood of vipers” takes some serious cojones. The Pharisees and Sadducees were the politico-religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They helped pass and enforce Hebraic law, and could even call for the arrest and death of those that spoke against them. And Jesus had no problem calling folks in authority “the spawn of Satan” in public.
That whole politically correct thing? Yeah, He didn’t worry too much about that.
How about that whole incident utilizing “supernatural whip ministry” when Jesus fashioned a whip out of cords to drive the animals and sellers out of the temple court, upsetting the tables of the money changers and just generally causing havoc amongst the business-owners in the temple? In one fell swoop, Jesus sucker punched the whole business and taxation model of sacrifice between the Hebrew and Roman authorities.
The authorities didn’t arrange for an ambush arrest, an illegal trial, and an expedient execution because Jesus was a wimp, folks. The authorities were freaking terrified of Him. He was revolutionary. He was counter-cultural.
Jesus was a threat to the established man-made order.
Wimps aren’t threats.
Who wants to follow a wimp? I know I don’t. And I’ve never met anyone who has.
And the whole idea of always picturing Jesus stretched helpless on a cross?
I get it. And yes, it is an image that we need to hold dear. But there is something important we have to have in mind when we consider that image- Jesus wasn’t forced to the cross. He gave Himself to the cross. That’s not an act of weakness. That’s an act of the greatest courage. At any moment in time He could have called a legion of angels to pull Him off that stinking thing. But He surrendered Himself to the cross to free us from it. Let that sink in. And oh yeah, more importantly, Jesus doesn’t hang on a cross anymore. He is seated at the right hand of Almighty God. And He is described like 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, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 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. (REV 19:11-16)
Yup. Sure doesn’t sound like a wimp to me.
So let’s just let the myth die, shall we?
Join me next time as we delve deep into one of the biggest myths about Jesus out there-Everybody really loved what Jesus had to say (aka Everything is A-Okay Jesus)