Christians, which literally (and I use this word a lot) means “Like Christ”, believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. We don’t believe that Jesus is like God or just a cool, ethical teacher. No. This person is God in the flesh.
Yes, that’s weird to wrap our heads around. But so are other things like space, the tesla, and the Beatles.
Here’s what’s weird (bizarre, strange, other-worldly) about the Gospel to me: we are a planet of screwy people who actually think that if we can get more money, power, and influence, that we can change things (but mostly to get more power, money, and influence and repeat the cycle). I’m not trying to dumb down society in one paragraph but there is something to the fact that we are a screwy people.
And this Gospel message is saying that there’s a Revolution happening, one where Jesus is the leader who, instead of accumulating more power, money, and influence, Jesus is a person of light, peace, healing, and forgiveness. The Gospel message is that Jesus the Revolutionary is telling us to be people of peace. The anti-story is to be violent, forceful, manipulative, and to look out for yourself.
I had someone call me a few months ago because of an issue they were having in a dating relationship. And after I heard all of the dynamics happening, I realized that both people were so afraid of intimacy that they would manipulate one another to get what they wanted.
“What would it look like to shed light on your real fears and let your partner in on it”, I said to the dude. Men cry ladies! It was transparency (light) that became healing, which lead to peace and forgiveness between them.
I don’t fully get the Gospel all the time. I get so lost in my own darkness, anger, and frustrations. And then like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, something reminds me that Jesus and this Gospel message is about living in transparent/vulnerable light, offering peace to my wife-enemy, seeking healing with broken parts of myself.
Shaming, fits of anger, and violently manipulating others will not work. It’s not true change and revolution.
The message of Jesus to be people of light, peace, healing, and forgiveness almost seems bizarre and strange to us in a society that holds its opinions very tight. We are a “I’m right” type of culture that is scared to let others influence us. I wonder if this is why it seems absurd to let a 2000 year old message influence us…