What is an example of something you notice but don’t take action on? How can you change that?
Jesus never had an office, a home to invite people to, or a third space (i.e., Starbucks or Panera Bread) on a corner lot in Capernaum. He did not use any media to announce his speaking, or wait around for people to come to Him for healing, guidance, or help with an issue, pain, or disease.
Jesus didn’t simply hang out with friends in Jerusalem and send a messenger on camelback to the Temple with a large Post-it note to the merchants to stop desecrating His Father’s house with their greedy sales efforts. Instead, He walked the dusty road, entered the Temple, observed what was happening and ultimately flipped over the money changers tables. Used a whip, too!
Read John 2:12-16.
Jesus was a man of action. He confronted challenges head-on, went where the people were, and engaged folks in every day life. Dr. Luke said that Jesus taught at the synagogue, was rejected in his own hometown, drove out evil spirits, and healed many – all in a short period that Luke records in the fourth chapter of his gospel.
Consider how Jesus dealt with evil. He was willing to meet Satan face to face during his temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). He traveled across the Sea of Galilee for an opportunity to meet and heal the demon-possessed man of the Gerasenes (Mark 5:1-11). Jesus listened to and rebuked the leading religious leaders of Judaism, the Pharisees, and called them some unflattering things in Matthew 23, and not from the safety of the synagogue.
It is amazing to hear perceptions of people about Jesus. Do an experiment this week – ask some family, friends, co-workers, even random folks you walk by on campus what they think about Jesus? What is their general impression of Him? Just ask and listen and thank them for sharing their thoughts. If it seems natural as a follow-up, ask them why they think what they think.
One misconception people have about Jesus is that He is a really only a nice guy. Since He is closely associated with love (thanks to the sign people at sporting events who hold up John 3:16), it is hard for most people to attribute anything but love to Jesus. They also add the descriptions of sweetness, flowers, children in his lap, lambs on his shoulders, and softness.
I bet you would not hear folks mention to you that Jesus loved the people in the Temple enough to correct them. He loved the women caught in adultery enough to say, “Go and sin no more.” He loved that demon-possessed man enough to meet him personally and free him of satanic forces. He loved the Pharisees enough to show them their error in handling and interpreting Scripture. He loved Peter enough to give him another chance after he denied knowing Jesus.
Jesus lived an aggressive life. He was free from evil and wrong, but not afraid to confront it. When you see sin, pain, or injustice, you should address it by speaking out against it, fighting for those who need help, and working to right a wrong…not passively, but aggressively. What would Jesus do? Jesus would never just sit there, walk by, ignore it, or complain about it. He took action. Shouldn’t we follow His example? Live communally. How can you be aggressive without turning people off or getting in trouble? A passive Christian is a weak one.
Love is a verb
©2014 by Mike Olejarz