Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Jew

By the way, while we're talking about ways that Jesus would be different if we wrote the Gospels today, let's just go ahead and say that He wouldn't be a Jew.

He'd probably be, you know, "spiritual, but not religious."

That's because most persons these days, including a good number of Christians, think that religion is not important to Jesus. They think that He doesn't much care how exactly you worship (and in some cases, who exactly you worship), as long as you get your worship on in some way, somehow. They say that Jesus was perhaps a messianic figure, but not necessarily a religious one.

And..they're wrong.

Jesus was a Jew, and His Jewish heritage was very important to Him. That's why He spent so much of His time arguing with the Pharisees, who were so sure that they were getting it right when they were, in fact, getting it so wrong. It's why He invested so much of His energies in setting them straight, and right out in public, too! He wanted the people to know what religion was really supposed to look like.

If religion hadn't mattered to Jesus, He wouldn't have bothered. If He'd come to overthrow religion, He wouldn't have wasted His time. He would have just shaken His head and said, "You silly people with your silly little religions," and walked away.

But that's not what He did. He spent His time trying to make sure that the people truly understood what religion was, particularly what His religion was.

And He drew on the Scriptures of the Jewish people to make His points. He didn't quote Buddha. Or Gandhi. Or Zoroaster. He didn't draw on the myths of the religions of persons outside of the Jewish faith. He didn't strike yoga poses or stand up shrines of Hindu gods. Sorry, but that's just the truth - Jesus drew on His Jewish faith for all that He did.

Which means He wasn't spiritual; He was religious.

And so, too, did He intend for us to be. Because not only did Jesus spend so much of His time trying to show how religion was supposed to work, trying to teach the people what it really looked like to be faithfully religious, so, too, did He spend a great deal of His energies instituting a new religious way.

Remember that whole Cross thing?

That whole Cross thing was about instituting a Christian faith. It was about making a new religious people, not just from the Jews, but also from the Gentiles. The whole point of the Gospels was to teach us what it means to be Christian - to be Christ-like. The whole point of the Cross was to show us a new way.

If any old way would do, He wouldn't have taken the road to Calvary.

But He did. Our Jewish Jesus took the way of the Cross to show us what it means to be Christian. Not so that we would be spiritual, but so that we would become religious. 

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