It is impossible to turn the television on this Passion Week without seeing Jesus. He’s everywhere! “Jesus to Christ”, “Who Was Jesus”, “Jesus of Nazareth”, “The Story of Jesus”, and “Killing Jesus” are just a few of the shows that are airing this week.
Why do we need so many stories about Jesus? Isn’t there only one? No. Unfortunately, we can create just about as many “Jesus” characters as there are TV movies and books about him.
Why do we create Jesuses? (Is that a word? Jesi? Jesuss?) I think it is because the Jesus of the Bible is not a very safe or manageable Jesus for a lot of people. A manageable Jesus is one that can be manipulated, is more or less a peer and one you would not have to bow before. A safe Jesus is one that you would not have to stand before in judgment. The Jesus that is revealed to us in the Bible is not manageable nor is he safe.
We create a safe idea of Jesus when we do away with the truth that he is fully God. If we accept Jesus as fully God, then we have to treat him as such. We have to recognize that he is the creator and sustainer of all things, and as such has a right to our lives. We have to believe that he is eternal; that he always was God, always is God, and always will be God. We have to accept the Trinity.
Since that is almost impossible to comprehend it’s more manageable to just not think of Jesus that way and to make him a bit less than God, except the Bible won’t let us…
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1 NIV
“He [God] also says to the Son,
‘In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth
and made the heavens with your hands.
They will perish, but you remain forever.
They will wear out like old clothing.
You will fold them up like a cloak
and discard them like old clothing.
But you are always the same;
you will live forever.’” – Hebrews 1:10-12 NLT
A safe idea of Jesus is that he is someone like us –just a human being who made mistakes, but did the best he could. Someone who kept a high moral bar. Someone who did more good than bad. Someone who was maybe a bit further along in his holiness.
A safe and manageable Jesus is someone we want to be like. We appreciate a great role model. We could embrace this Jesus, except the Bible won’t let us…
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
And they will call him Immanuel,
Which means ‘God is with us.’” – Matthew 1:23 NLT
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” – John 1:14 NIV
“He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.” – 1 Peter 2:22 NLT
God, living in human skin… a Jesus who in his fully human life never sinned: that is not a manageable Jesus.
A safe idea of Jesus is that he is just one of many ways to the Father. After all with so many religions in the world surely Jesus isn’t the only way. That’s too intolerant. That’s too harsh. We want to accept this as truth, except the Bible insists…
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12 NLT
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”—John 14:6 NIV
Why must we as Christians embrace the Biblical Jesus? Why can’t we accept any, or all, ideas of Jesus? Can’t we all just believe what we want to believe, as long as we call the idea that we believe in: “Jesus”?
We can’t because Jesus isn’t an idea; he is a Person. God tells us who Jesus is and if we do not have this Jesus, we do not have life…
“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” – 1 John 5:6-12 NLT
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 1:5 NLT
The only safe Jesus is an unmanageable Jesus! Salvation is only through the Person of Jesus who is revealed to us through the Bible. Any other Jesus is just an idea. Do you trust in an idea of Jesus or the Person of Jesus for your salvation?
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 NLT
It is in Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, that our salvation lies. It is this Jesus who died on the cross in our place. It is this Jesus who rose on the third day. It is this Jesus who ascended into heaven. It is this Jesus who is, was, and always will be God. It is this Jesus who saves. It is this Jesus before whom you will stand in judgment.