Another Resurrection Day has come and gone.
While I take pleasure in celebrating the fact that Jesus overcame the sting of death by raising from the dead, sometimes I wish that rising from the dead was the only thing He did. Sometimes I wish that, rather than ascending back to Heaven, He'd stay right here with us. Now, I know that He sent the Holy Spirit as a comforter for us...but, wouldn't it be cool if He stayed here? I wonder how the world would be right now. What would Jesus 2006 be like?
I think it would be interesting to see how Jesus' ministry would be shaped out in today's world. I'd be especially interested to see who He would chose as His disciples. But if history serves as an indicator, I personally don’t think that Jesus would've selected “church leaders” and religious folks of the time. Rather, I think that Jesus would probably choose the guy working the dead end job at the supermarket. He’d choose the Cuban housekeeper who vacuumed His motel room. He’d select the busboy from the diner who just cleaned His table. Maybe He’d go with the recently divorced taxi driver who gave Him a ride at 2 o'clock in the morning. I think He’d choose the broken-hearted waitress trying to earn enough money to move away from her abusive boyfriend. Perhaps the overworked social worker or the ex-cop who now has a major drug habit would be invited to come along. I imagine that the garbage collector, whose wife, a low-payed school teacher, is at home recovering from a miscarriage would be a part of Jesus’ group. How about the dirty mechanic who changed the oil in Jesus' beat up jalopy free of charge? In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the used up prostitute who propositioned Him, along with her pimp would become two of His closet companions.
I doubt that He’d tell any of them how horrible He thought they were. Instead, He’d show them just how precious they were in God’s eyes. Just like the men who lowered their paralytic friend through the roof, Jesus would see their faith and forgive them. His love, kindness, and touch would heal them. These are the folks who would ultimately carry His message out into the world. Perhaps the busboy I mentioned earlier would go on to be the rock on which Jesus built His church. Hmmm...
I think that Jesus would have chosen people who were on the fringe of society because they really don't have much to lose. Maybe people like this are the only ones who can really grasp His message of love, acceptance, mercy, forgiveness, and grace…simply because they're the ones who need these things the most. I'm afraid that most of us have too much to lose when it comes to following Jesus. I mean, we’d have to give up too many of our possessions or those things that possess us. So rather than helping Jesus promote His message to the world, we’d be busy sitting on the sidelines playing “armchair quarterback”; while waiting for Him to screw up, fail, or get arrested.
I bet that a huge segment of the church (and America, for that matter) really wouldn’t like Jesus that much. They’d consider His teachings radical, unconventional, and…who knows…maybe even blasphemous. He'd show up at various church functions and make some of the members nervous. Some of the deacons and ministers would probably even get jealous of His popularity. I think that most of the congregation would be appalled by His message of love, inclusion, mercy and justice saying that He’s not doing things “decent and in order”.
On the other hand, kids would absolutely cling to Him. Women would feel safe and secure, important, and recognized. Some members would be genuinely captivated by His knowledge of God's word and, more important, by His actions. Others, however, would try to argue and debate with Him over interpretation of the Scripture. When Jesus would try to explain to them that He was the Word, I can imagine some church folks having the nerve to challenge Him on it. Furthermore, can you imagine how funny it would be to see Jesus snatch the sheets off of the church and expose their nakedness through His sermons?
I can imagine Jesus moving His ministry outside of the church as well. During a speech He'd give in Washington during an anti-war rally, He’d probably be arrested, mocked, and unfairly tried by the Supreme Court. After finding Him guilty of trumped up charges like conspiracy and treason, the cops would then beat the crap out of Him and toss Him in a jail cell with two criminals on death row. I wonder who would be cheering, "Crucify! Him!” (actually, since we now use the electric chair, I guess it would be more like “Cruci-FRY Him!”). Would I be in the group cheering for His death or would I be one of the guys who claimed to support Him but ran away and hid when things got sticky? Would I be one of the guys who completely denied knowing Jesus?! Would I sit back and do nothing as my Savior was being persecuted?
What if Jesus 2006 walked among us?
Monday, April 17, 2006
Another Resurrection Day has come and gone.