Friday, January 03, 2014


The real reason most people reject Jesus, at least in the Western Hemisphere, is not ignorance, but intolerance.  If John was amazed that the world that Jesus created did not recognize Him, he must have been deeply ashamed that Jesus "came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him" (John 1:11).  Jesus' own people, the Jews, who had the prophets and prophecies and Old Testament Scriptures and religious heritage and symbolic ceremonies and were actually looking for their Messiah, "missed Him!"

The Jews had many preconceived ideas about the Messiah based on their interpretation of Scripture and what they wanted.  When Jesus of Nazareth came on the scene with His public ministry, He was neither the Messiah they had been expecting, nor the Messiah they wanted.  The Jews wanted someone Who would:

  • raise their standard of living
  • give them something for nothing
  • grant them privileges without responsibility
  • and restore them to the world power they had known under King David and King Solomon.
They wanted someone who would meet their physical and material and emotional needs.

Anne Graham Lotz was on to something applicable to the modern church when she penned the above.  I find myself about many things other than Jesus; doctrines, missions, and routine works.  All of us will do well to think, rethink, and then rethink again our devotion and commitment to this repulsive Jesus.  There is something about him the religious can't take.  My friend, we are religious.

I am encouraged that there is a recurrent Jesus-emphasis about us.  While we haven't arrived, we are growing in focus.  The Story has been a significant blessing to us at Memorial Drive.  But the Jesus emphasis didn't start there nor end there.

For elders, ministers, and group leaders, may we be sensitive to the perpetual need to grow in the Spirit of Christ for it is more feasible to miss him altogether than one might think.  Jesus is repulsive and rejected by the religious order.  Therefore, we must pay attention.

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