Taking Jesus Seriously
Tradition challenges us. It lulls us into a sleepy awareness that often misses the fundamental message of Christ. Tradition has “re-packaged” Jesus in a way that He fits into our crowded agendas and demands no more than we are willing to give. It questions whether we take Jesus seriously or not. On many levels, we have to ask, “Are we taking Jesus seriously in our day and in our faith?”
You see, Jesus had radical agenda that reached beyond the question of Salvation. We all have read it and then were then lulled into a religious stupor of tradition and religious routine. It is as Jesus’ real agenda can’t find its way into either our pulpits or hearts. I’m referring to the values that separated Jesus from those who came before, values that flies in the face of our self-interested ways and religious complacency. Think about the foundational values that were destined to define his disciples:
Fundamental to those who would follow him were self-denial; A consuming love for others; A cross to be born; A world to be redeemed; Burdens to be born; Sacrifices to be made; A relationship with the Father that mirrored his own; Malignant forces to be confronted, Strongholds to be uprooted; Arms to be lifted; and an agenda that would shake us to our core. Meanwhile, we attend church and assure ourselves that we have fulfilled our role in that moment.
Jesus had a different emphasis & agenda…
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Then there is the defining, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” I have always been religious, but I’m not sure that I have always taken Jesus seriously because I have not taken seriously the very traits (those above) that would make me great in God’s eyes. It is as if I sought Jesus for the sake of salvation, but not so he could rewrite my entire story. Maybe it is time—time to take him seriously and see what that means in our lives. We might be pleasantly surprised.