Another blogger whose work I really like is Mike Douglas, who writes the blog ‘Getting Back to my Future’.
In this article, Mike describes a Jesus who would probably not be allowed in to some of today’s Conservative churches, particularly in America. Jesus did so many things that were repugnant to the religious people of His day, and sadly there are many people around these days who think the same way as those religious types, and who would treat Him the same way. Without more ado, here’s Mike’s article. The link to the original article is given at the end.
In the 70’s, it was popular to portray Jesus as a rebel, a revolutionary bent on changing the world. It was also common to portray Him as a hippie. Both images are accurate. I love seeing Jesus as a hippie who refused to bend to social pressure.
He was always going against the social and religious norm. I LOVE THAT! He touched lepers [think who in your world who is considered the most disgusting]. He called a tax-collector as a disciple [no occupation at the time had a worse reputation]. He also let prostitutes wash His feet, spoke to a Samaritan WOMAN, and healed a Roman’s servant.
Could you imagine a big religious leader getting his hands dirty with such people? For example, the Roman servant thing is like a good Christian church leader helping a terrorist’s child who needed assistance.
If you think of Jesus as a kindly hippie, it might surprise you that not everyone was a fan. While he taught about a loving God and urged people to love others, Jesus also told people to quit ripping people off and to get rid of the extra garbage in religion that made it hard for people to know God’s love. That didn’t always go over so well. It didn’t go over well because some were getting rich off it.
But He rejected the criticism. He countered with, ‘you have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men’.
Obviously, these types are still with us today, all the extra garbage remains, and many are still as resistant to changing as ever. And, there are still many people outside the religious ‘acceptable’ standard that need to know that’s not how Jesus was or how He sees you.
Let me tell you more about my hippie, revolutionary brother Jesus. He is so cool!
Here are 5 ways Jesus challenged the status quo.
1. Jesus rejected “business as usual”
In Jerusalem, he attacked the money changers, who were running a scam trading Jewish money for Roman money at a profit. He didn’t just chew them out, he physically threw them out. When a corrupt tax collector decided to follow Jesus, he returned all his ill-gotten gains and then some. “Business as usual” just couldn’t continue when Jesus got involved.
That kind of teaching made more than a few enemies among those who would profit from the status quo. But my hippie brother cared more for people than profit.
2. Jesus turned the religious laws on its head.
There were hundreds of religious and, honestly, ridiculous laws that the religious leaders had added to Scripture. They turned 10 Commandments into over 600 laws. Jesus railed against a religion that focused more on rules than people – more on rules than love.
For example, the Bible says Jesus intentionally healed people on the Sabbath, knowing it would violate the religious law. And the religious leaders hated it. Think of it, a man receives a remarkable and visible healing, yet the church leaders were upset that it happened on a Sabbath. That’s what religion creates.
Jesus scolded them for hypocrisy and corruption. In turn, they accused him of hanging out with the wrong kind of people. What self-respecting leader would go to parties with prostitutes and swindlers? They called Jesus a “friend of sinners,” and the crazy part is – he didn’t seem to mind!
Why Jesus hated these ‘extra’ laws was because they were so burdensome most regular people would just give up, thinking they were not good enough for Jesus and His Father. Jesus wanted them, and us, to know He didn’t feel that way. He reached out to those struggling and saved His harshest criticism for those held them down and ripped them off. That’s my hippie brother!
3. Jesus shunned politics.
If you think our politics are complicated, look at the time Jesus lived. The Romans had been occupying and oppressing his home country for a century. Some groups tried to appease them, others coexisted, and still others fought back. Among his disciples, Jesus had at least one rebel who was a hardcore Jewish freedom fighter.
He generally avoided the political—but he did talk about the kingdom of God. Some people would see that as a return to Jewish independence, with a God-ordained king in charge. But, as he explained to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
You see, Jesus didn’t come to make the world a better place as we would understand it. He didn’t try to reform the politics or change society. He came to replace it with the Kingdom of God. He didn’t come to take sides, He came to take over.
4. Jesus Had Women Followers
Today that has no shock value, nor should it. But it did in Jesus’ day. At the time, it was commonly believed that girls could not learn so were not given the opportunity. It was further believed that you were only born female because you did not mature completely in the womb. Seen as lesser value, they were treated as lesser value. Unfortunately, such attitudes still exist in some parts of the world today.
Again, Jesus blew that crap out of the water. That’s my revolutionary, hippie brother! Later, His disciples spoke often about the equality of all people.
Some think He may have had a circle of female disciples. The Bible mentions women followed Jesus to care for His needs. It was women that stood at the foot of the cross and it was women who first went to His tomb the day He rose from the dead.
5. Jesus made outrageous claims.
At his hometown synagogue, Jesus read a prophecy about a savior and announced He was it. When he scolded them for disbelief, they tried to kill him.
Jesus usually avoided blowing his own horn, but when people started calling him Messiah or Son of God, he didn’t correct them. When he healed people, he often asked them to keep quiet about it, but they rushed out and told their stories (who wouldn’t?), which spread like wildfire.
Yet Jesus also fed the fury at times. He once said, “Tear down this temple and in three days I will build it again.” The religious leaders treated it like a terrorist threat, but the temple he was talking about was his own body. He was forecasting his own resurrection.
Why did some people have a hard time with Jesus? He challenged their greed and misuse of people. That’s my hippie brother!
Has this post changed your image of Jesus? I hope so. He is so cool. Can you see why I love Him so?
– Mike Douglas