I had a conversation this weekend with someone who was espousing Jesus as a great peace-maker. While I know what they meant, I think they’re flat out wrong – Jesus went around making people mad! I don’t know where we get the idea that he was a man of peace – he told folks plainly "I came not to bring peace, but a sword". So why did people get mad at him all the time?
- He changed things. Jesus was a radical. Every where he went, he stirred up trouble amongst the leaders of the day, challenging them about how they conducted their business. And the part that made them the maddest was he didn’t bow to them – didn’t seek their counsel.
- He didn’t play favorites – he called the big wigs on their issues and made them as accountable as the down and out. Didn’t matter how much money you had, or who you knew…
- He told stories that people remembered. Most preachers/rabbis of the day talked in repetitive circles about the Law. Jesus used the scriptures (and often out of context!) but he mostly told stories. But the stories he told met people where they lived, and folks remembered.
- Every action he did, every point he made, mattered. He never once got into stupid debates about pointless stuff – he used every minute, every bit of horsepower he had, to impact the people around him. When you make an impact, people get upset.
- He was real! He hung out with the wrong people (the ones the church of his day wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole). Prostitutes, drunks, thieves – Jesus was often in their company. And he loved to have fun! His first miracle was to turn a BUNCH of water into Merlot! He loved to party, eat, drink… He was fun to be around.
- Jesus was clear on his goal… he was here to play his part in redeeming mankind and establishing the church, so he didn’t let others put their agenda on him. He spoke like a prophet – boldly, without pandering to opinion. And he wasn’t for sale.
Nope – Jesus wouldn’t have won many popularity contests – the "in crowd" of the day killed him as a matter of fact. But he blazed a GREAT trail for people to follow who want to have an impact.