You guys heard of the new Jesus film, “Son of God”? I bet you have. It’s the talk of the town. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve read the book. Good stuff. I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, though.
I’m not surprised to hear that it’s controversial. Remember when “The Passion of the Christ” came out? That was another Jesus movie that sparked a ton of controversy, and that was even before the days of Reddit and YouTube. People had to argue on archaic devices like Xanga.
And do you remember how controversial it was… well, pretty much any time Jesus gets brought up outside of a church.
Some people use the Jesus controversy as a business for themselves. They profit off of the controversy. You can find many of them on the 24-hour news networks. When people misrepresent the teachings of Jesus and the words that he said, it adds even more confusion and controversy.
Still, others are offended because Jesus didn’t turn out to be the homeboy they thought he was. When they find out more about what he actually said, they don’t like it. It’s offensive because it’s not what they believe. They might read through the Bible and find nice little quotes to hang in their living rooms or have read at their weddings, but if they read all of the words in red letters, they can find themselves angered and put off. Or worse: ignoring the parts that they don’t like.
Jesus seems to be offending a lot of people and causing controversy, and sometimes I fear that things are way out of hand. But to me the truth is this: Jesus is always controversial. The Gospel of Christ will always be offensive.
You shouldn’t be surprised by it, especially followers of Jesus. He said it plainly in the Bible that He wasn’t here to make everyone agree with him.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’”
That doesn’t sound like peace on earth to me. It sounds like what happens when you bring up Jesus. People get uncomfortable. They’re supposed to. This is not justification to preach whatever you want to preach to fit your political goals or guilt anyone into any action. All I’m saying is that when you talk about Jesus, you never quite know what reaction you’ll get. He is always controversial.
Whether you believe Jesus is the Son of God or not, you can’t deny that he walked this earth and ruffled a lot of feathers. So much so that they nailed him to a cross. They nailed Jesus, your peaceful homeboy, to a cross because they didn’t like what he said. That’s really all it came down to. His words. Nothing more.
Some read Jesus and find offense. Some read Jesus and find life. When I read Jesus, I find both. I get offended when he cuts at my pride. I get offended when it’s not how I want to respond to a situation. I get offended when I don’t like the reality of what walking with Jesus means—when I find I have to give up what I don’t want to give up.
But I find life when I read that I don’t have to be who I fear I will become. I find life when I know that someone loves me even if every person on earth hates me. I find life when I let the parts I don’t like at first get a hold of me and change me. Sometimes the controversy hurts, but it produces life. True life.
As long as Jesus is preached true to what He really said and who he really is, people are going to be offended. But they should be. From what I’ve seen, the parts of us that get offended the most are the parts in us where we have the most pride.
I’ve seen a lot of controversies rise up and quickly die out, but the Jesus controversy seems to keep sticking around. Maybe that’s because there is really something to it. I’m betting you haven’t heard the last of Jesus.