Sometimes I think we get Jesus all wrong. His first miracle was to keep a party going. He made alcohol out of agua, and didn’t bother to lecture the drunkards. We never know what to do with that miracle. If we were in charge, it would have been the other way around: turning all the wine into water so no one could get smashed.
Jesus hung out with the hookers, the IRS agents, the AIDS victims, the handicapped. When he chose his disciples he didn’t pick Billy Graham, Charles Swindoll, Greg Laurie, Luis Palua, Ron Luce or any of the big names in Christianity. He didn’t pick Pope John. He would have told James Dobson that anyone who does not hate his family cannot be a disciple (Luke 14:26–how does Focus on the Family feel about that verse?). Instead he picked a bunch of regular Joes.
He still would have hung out with the Billy Grahams and the James Dobsons. As much as I like to think of Jesus as joining my side in an us against them war, he didn’t do that. He still ate with the Pharisees like he ate with the tax collectors. Tension hung in the air in both places.
When I applaud Jesus’ anti-materialistic ways, his urging us not to worry about clothes or provision, when I think eating PB&J is more righteous than Subway because I’m saving a buck or two–Jesus is commending the woman for pouring literally thousands of dollars worth of perfume on his head. What’s going on? I thought Jesus was the Savior for the lower class? But that kind of penny pinching and cost cutting is what Judas complained about. Suddenly I’m in the same league as Judas for worrying about how expensive a church roof looks.
Some people think Jesus gets mad about blasphemy, profanity, abortion, adultery. And maybe he does. But when Jesus got really pissed, it was when people misused the church. He saved his harshest words for the Billy Grahams and James Dobsons. He showed compassion to the woman caught with her pants down, but he ripped into the Pharisees who were concerned about power and status. He rebuked the demons and cast them out, but he didn’t go ballistic on them. He certainly didn’t picket anyone, but he did tell his disciples to shake the dust off their feet in any town that refused to listen.
What would Jesus think about something like this? Goofball pictures of an action figure Jesus with tongue in cheek captions. Would he huff and puff and smite somebody? The only time that happened in the New Testament was when a couple didn’t tell the whole truth. They didn’t even outright lie. They gave the church a whole bunch of money, but it wasn’t all their money–so they got zapped. Ouch. Would Jesus bust out a whip and tear down the computer? Or would he chuckle and add a comment of his own?
Sometimes Jesus is more mysterious than we think. ‘What would Jesus do?’ isn’t a question to answer lightly, or quickly.