Here’s a real problem I’ve got: I struggle to live my life so that I look like Jesus, or at least like one of his followers – someone who might get arrested for following him.
Jesus was never an easy guy to follow when he was walking around. Everything about him was difficult. If you tried to follow him, he was going to challenge you in the extreme.
And 2000 years later, as I try to follow someone other than the dumbed-down, culturally-defined Jesus I meet in American churches, I’m finding he’s still a complicated guy to follow.
Here was a man who was constantly in trouble with the authorities.
Here was a provocateur, a guy who was dismissive of the establishment. His life repudiated their value system.
Here was a guy who was sentenced as a criminal and executed.
And I follow him. This criminal.
You can hardly blame the authorities who kept warning him.
They saw a blue-collar bumpkin pontificating about stuff that was their area of expertise. A rabble-rouser from the provinces. He talked about this alternative kingdom. It sounded like sedition. He talked about eating his flesh. It sounded like cannibalism. He talked about splitting up families and bringing a sword.
Everything about him was a provocation to the status quo.
His talk of being God’s son. The crowds he attracted. The in-your-face way that he challenged the church pastors of the day about their rules. The disrespect he showed them, calling them vipers. Comparing them to graves.
So of course, he got arrested. It was inevitable. How he made it three years is amazing.