It was just 2 weeks that would make three years since my heart was awoken to the truth of Christ. It’s been three years since my new life was given to me and yet something was made clear to me. The Jesus I met in that Hillsong service is not the Jesus I know today. I should probably make it clear now that I believe in Reformed theology and that I find myself going to more conservative Christian leanings (with good reasons I say).
The Jesus I met on that Sunday is not a Jesus I recognise today. Here’s why:
- That Jesus says your sin doesn’t matter.
- That Jesus provides you with the best earthly life possible.
- That Jesus makes life easy.
- That Jesus wouldn’t judge anyone.
- That Jesus was never harsh.
- That Jesus says Heaven isn’t exclusive.
- That Jesus was comfortable.
The Jesus I worship today as the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ, the Saviour of humanity is not that Jesus. He’s so different and it makes me worship Him with trembling and love. Because He says our sin does matter. It matters enough to bring Him down from Heaven and live an earthly life only to die a violent death and experience separation from God. Sin matters.
The Jesus I worship today is Good but promises pain and persecution and trials for His followers (Mark 13:13, John 15:18-19). He doesn’t promise a well looked after life on earth. Not a life of health, wealth and prosperity, but a life of hardship. Don’t let that scare you, but rather know that it is because Jesus is light but humanity in general loves darkness (John 3:19-21). Some Christians have easier lives than most but everyone has a cross to carry.
The Jesus I worship today will come again as the conquering king and all men and women will have to stand before Him and give account for their lives. Jesus will judge between the living and the dead. All people will have to answer to Him. There will be no escaping or hiding or negotiating or bribing one’s way into Heaven. Only through belief in Christ, does one get to Heaven (John 14:6). So, Jesus can and will judge people (His words in Luke 20:35 imply this as well as many other verses, also see the book of Revelation). His judgement is righteous and fair.
The Jesus I worship today made many uncomfortable and spoke harshly to quite a few people (mainly the Jewish leaders for placing such heavy burdens on the people) a number of times. He made a whip in a temple and drove out moneylenders and general scoundrels who were disrespecting the temple.
The Jesus I worship today is not in favour of homosexual marriage (Mark 10, Matt 19). Jesus does not say it’s okay to murder babies. He is not okay with drugs, getting drunk and hard partying. A lot of the things that I used to say Jesus was okay with, that we should say “Go ahead!” to, are things that Jesus is not okay with. See, I’ve gone from viewing Jesus as simply the Greatest Man on earth, or the Man without sin, or even seeing Him simply as the Forgiveness Guy, but rather I now see Him as the one the prophets spoke about, the Son of Man from Daniel, the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the King of Heaven. I recommend reading John 1-12 if you want to get a more complete list of titles and ways of identifying Jesus.
I look back at myself in those days and praise God for His grace! The words of Paul echo with me, when he says he is “unworthy” of being called a follower of Christ (1 Cor 15:9) as I think about the way I used to live and attack Christians. I’m sure I have a long road ahead with a lot to learn but I can already see massive progress. Since I first encountered Christ, so much as changed in my walk that has changed my view of Him It’s about daily reading, prayer but mostly, trusting God to complete His work in you. To take you where you need to be. And He will.