When most people think of Jesus, the figure that comes to mind is a man with long hair and a white robe who is soft, gentle, and “loving” to everybody and who reserved harsh words only for ultra-Conservative religious hypocrites.
Then we read in the Bible about the Jesus who flipped over tables in the Temple — but that is the exception to the rule of who Jesus is. And about the Jesus who rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees with harsh words, but that is the exception to who Jesus is. And oh yeah! Jesus also spoke plainly about Sin, commanded people to repent of Sin, and said woe unto those who remain in Sin. Also, Jesus is coming back in the Book of Revelation riding a white horse and a sword goes out of His mouth destroying His enemies.
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
Luke 10 13–15 ESV
It is true that the historical record in the Bible records Jesus as being a very loving person. He healed the sick, reached out to the unclean, and died for our sins in our place. No man more loving ever walked the Earth. But to equate love with Jesus being a soft hippie is an incredible fallacy.
If one tries to find the soft hippie “Jesus” in the Bible, they will have a hard time, because he is not there.
The Jesus of Scripture is a very masculine figure who spoke plainly, and His love included a straightforwardness and a call to repentance. This idea that one cannot call out sin or speak plainly about sin and evil, lest they be “unchristlike” is totally foreign to the Bible.
There are passages that may be taken as pacifist on the surface. And there is a certain pacifism in Jesus’ teaching, but this was not a cowardly or wimpy sort of pacifism.
When Jesus called His followers to turn the other cheek, this was in a historical context that demanded equality and put the person in the offense to shame.
When Jesus went as a lamb to the Cross, He did so to conquer death itself and Hades. And He was not going as a mere sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice, He was laying His life down for the sake of the reward set before Him.
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 NASB 1995
Somehow, we’ve gotten this idea in our heads and in our culture that Jesus was a soft passive person, and to be Christlike is to never rebuke anyone and to never speak a harsh word — to never offend or insult anyone, and to be soft in dealing with sin.
But the Christ of the Gospels, the New Testament as a whole, and of Revelation does not match this “christ” we have in our heads. Sadly, we’ve been lead astray by another christ and another gospel which is no Christ and no Gospel at all, and is impotent to heal and save the souls of men.
Jesus was clearly not an ogre, but neither was He a mouse. Jesus was the only perfect man ever to walk this Earth. Jesus never turned a blind eye to evil, and He never taught His followers to be politically correct diplomats. When Jesus spoke, He spoke truthfully and plainly. In John 14:6 we read that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” and from this we can conclude that Jesus Christ is the personification of Truth itself. Is it any surprise then that Jesus spoke so plainly?
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6 ESV
There is a certain type of political correctness that is expected and even demanded in Christian circles, but as followers of Christ, our Master is Christ, not Christians.
Also, when we read the Bible, we see that the apostles and prophets spoke plainly, and we read that Jesus taught His followers to speak plainly. So this plain manner of speaking was not reserved only for God in human flesh. Nor was it reserved only for prophets and apostles, since we see this same expectation in the instructions to Church leaders, and to Christ’s followers more broadly. (Matthew 5:37, Luke 10:11, Acts 20:25–31)
This means that we should be generous and loving people, as Jesus modeled for us. And this also means that when God sets our time to speak that we speak plainly and purposefully and that we do so with love, and without catering to a fear of man — either within the Church or outside of it.
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