The Jesus I Need…

In Revelation, Jesus is a prize-fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is the guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.

That’s just one of the worst things I’ve ever read.

Granted that Jesus can stand up for himself,  but the crime of turning him into some kind of Mike Holmes carpenter, here


to save your soul, “or else”, is just as bad as trying to turn him into a proto-buddhist, new age swami.

He simply defies categories, and we own none of them.

That being said, I think that description of Jesus Christ is just horrible. Maybe it’s polemic, and just designed to shake us up a little, but surely there are limits.

Can we not have the Son of God described as if he’s got a spot on next week’s “Jersey Shore”? Can we not have him described as Scott Stapp?

image via

Scott Stapp?!?!?

It’s projection in the highest degree (among other things, a desperate covering up of male insecurity)…

The fact is that we have little idea what Jesus’ personality was—that wasn’t the intent of the gospel writers—but I’m pretty sure he no more some kind of ass-kicking warrior  than he was a metrosexual clothing consultant.

He was a 1st century Jewish teacher and rabbi, convinced that God was bringing something to completion through him as he wandered around Palestine teaching and healing, laughing and instructing his little band of followers.

At least we can say that he probably had sensible shoes.

It’s always tempting to re-make Jesus in our own image. Frankly, if I did that, Jesus would be able to:

  • talk—intelligently and passionately—equally about the Clash, the Black Keys, and Sigur Ros
  • tell me about some obscure documentary on the life a tree slug and how, “no really dude, you have to watch it: it’s profound!”
  • lay my office out perfectly
  • come over to drink beer, eat chips and Frontera Grill Chipotlé salsa and watch European soccer

But you know what? That’s not the Jesus I need. 

I need a Jesus who:

  • fit into his culture, and into the story of God but transcended it and completed
  • loves and accepts sinners and the broken
  • can heal people (even though not always quickly)
  • isn’t interested in what I want, but wants to show me what God wants and is up to in the world
  • was obedient, all the way to the Cross

So yeah, I abhor that comment, and I disagree pretty vehemently with it (never mind his interpretation of Revelation, but that will wait until next time), but I also need to watch my own tendency to reduce Christ to my image.

He’s way beyond that.

(By the way, if you are interested in some highly intelligent work on who Jesus was and what he did, I would highly recommend N.T. Wright and Scot McKnight as great starting points.)


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