We love to put Jesus in neat categories that play very nice with our culture, our upbringing, our church traditions and our understanding of the Bible. We often think everyone should be like us, think like us, read the same books and esteem highly the chiefs from our chosen tribe. But if we look at Jesus and the way in which He interacted with people, it was far from uniformity. He hung out with all sorts of people while encouraging them, having fun with them, even partying with them. Here are four things that Jesus never said:
1. Only spend time with people who agree with you. If I only spent time with people who agreed with me, I would probably be very lonely. Jesus constantly spent time with people who did not agree with Him. He spent time with people from different cultures (John 4:9), different religions (Matt. 3:7), the outcasts and the marginalized (Matt. 9:11), those involved in rampant promiscuity (Matt. 21:31) and those who held political power (Matt. 27:2). Here is the thing:
I don’t have to agree with you, to be friends with you.
2. I am so disappointed in you. God does not look at us as we are but rather as Jesus is. The moment that you believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior who atones for your sin is the moment that God becomes pleased with you.
Friends, God is not mad at you, God is mad about you.
When Jesus was baptized, His Father said the following words for all to hear: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17). This is exactly what God wants you to personally understand: That even though your sin might be deep, the love of the Father is deeper still. This should not only motivate us to run from sin but also it empowers us to love Jesus more than any sin that positions itself as a counterfeit Savior in our life.
3. You are beyond the grace I can offer because of your sin. There is never a moment in your life where you are beyond the grace that Jesus offers for you.
If you have breath in your lungs, God has a plan for your life.
Depending on our upbringing, we might have a film playing in our mind that is on repeat. This film keeps telling us that we are not good enough, not holy enough or not perfect enough to measure up to what Jesus wants us to be. Here is the good news:
Christians are not perfect, they are being perfected.
Followers of Jesus are not flawless, they are forgiven. Jesus wants us to replace any films on replay in our mind with His words of hope and healing: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus doesn’t say: “Come to me all you who have cleaned up their act, caught up on their Bible reading plan and finally go to church seven days a week.” While all of those things are good things, they are not the ultimate things. It is ok not to be ok. But it is not ok to stay that way. Let your mess become a message. Let your test become a testimony. Because very often, the most painful part of your biography, becomes the most powerful part of your testimony.
4. This would have never happened to you if you were a better Christian. If you are a Christian, you follow someone who was abandoned by His closest friends and murdered by His fiercest critics.
To follow Jesus, it won’t just cost you something, it will cost you everything.
That is the price to pay for discipleship. Following Jesus does not mean that everything in your life will be absolutely great. In fact, following Jesus might make your life worse. But here is the heaping portion of hope that is provided to us by Jesus: He will continuously be by our side, encouraging, guiding and comforting us.
Jesus is not absent during our pain. He meets us amidst our pain.
Jesus does not promise to save us from every storm, because Jesus wants to save us through the storm. Jesus is able to sympathize with our weakness, our brokenness, our pain and our struggle.
He is a loving Father.
He is Emmanuel.
He is not just God with us but He is also God with us.
The Christian life is not an easy one but it is a life filled with joy, knowing that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us.
Question: What other stuff do you hear that Jesus never said?