"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." – 2 Corinthians 11:3
Are you following a Different Jesus?
I think sometimes we want to make Jesus a “Jesus” who will fit everyone’s box.
A Jesus for everybody. An inoffensive Jesus.
A Jesus that’s too Good to send you or anyone to Hell.
He is the Jesus of no opinions really (maybe a few). It’s acceptable to be indifferent or careless about them because He loves everybody in the end. This Jesus is so beyond our comprehension. It’s practically a virtue to not know him except that He is beyond your ability to comprehend him. Putting any specific characteristics to Him would be limiting His being. His Holiness is relative to the substandard of our hearts. This Jesus makes sure His standard of morality is always relevant with the times.
Yes, this is the modern-day Jesus that is starting to come forth from a lot of pulpits, sermons, messages, conferences, blogs, podcasts, videos, vlogs, and dare I say theologically sound books? I mean no one out rightly says it like that, but it’s almost implied for us to imagine him as so.
He is Universal Jesus. Everybody’s Jesus.
This is a terrible mistake. But from a culture that loves to sing “Jesus walks with me” (no shots at Kanye), I can’t be shocked that we would twist the idea of our need to follow Him into His need to walk with us.
"Doctrinal preaching certainly bores the hypocrites; but it is only doctrinal preaching that will save Christ's sheep."
Jesus vs. 'Me'sus
Indeed, this Jesus looks a lot more palatable than the one we are given from the Bible. But here is the thing, Universal Jesus is not Jesus. It’s a figment of our imagination. It’s really what I call “Me-sus” that some of us are believing in. Yea! You never heard of Mesus? It’s our own interpretation of Jesus. It’s any time I am trying to make Jesus like Me. Me + Jesus. The Apostle Paul warned the church in Corinth about believing in a different Jesus, or in this case “Me-sus”. He told them “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough” (2nd Corinthians 11:4).
I know, some of you are about to quit reading.
Maybe because even like me, this is such a hard thing to accept. I think we can start to make Jesus more than who He claims to be, and even worse, we want him to be more like us. Why do we do that? Because this Jesus is better than what we read about in the Bible. Not because Jesus of the Bible is not good, but maybe He is not good enough for some of us now. There are some things we can't put together, and there are some things that He has said and His followers have said that don't fit in our worldview.
"Compare Scripture with Scripture. False doctrines, like false witnesses, agree not among themselves."
Don’t get me wrong though. The real Jesus is amazingly good. In fact, I think He is far more good than we could comprehend. But, we must accept all of who Jesus claims to be and will do from the Bible. Watering down Jesus is not going to make our culture more accepting of Him. Now I will admit, I think there have been plenty of people who have made Jesus more religious and holy than He claims to be, and less gracious than He promises. I’ve heard some preachers turn the heat up on Jesus, and only for many of us to feel burned out in the end. But watering him down to be this cool hipster homeboy who will go on the Journey with you no matter where you go is just senseless.
"Is it our task to force the biblical doctrine of God to answer to modern culture, or (is it our task) to address modern culture with the biblical doctrine of God? If modern culture-or any culture-establishes the baseline for the doctrine of God, such a doctrine will certainly bear little resemblance to the God of the Bible."
What are you going to Follow?
This is not about making Jesus all things for all people. Jesus already came for all of us, so that all of us could go to him now. That’s the call. Remember “many are called, few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14)? We all need to have a continuous quest of reading God’s Word and discovering more and more about Jesus as we can, and teaching and explaining more and more of who Jesus is. But we will only distort the real and living Jesus if we continue to disregard the Jesus we see in scripture and let our imagination fill in the gaps with things that have nothing to do with him. You know you are following Jesus when you are following the scriptures, and you know you are following Mesus when you are following your imagination. As it was in the first century, so it is today. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). There is a warning to put up with believing in a different Jesus than the one we are faced with in scripture. Remember that it is the Jesus from the scriptures who Saves us, not the Mesus in our imagination.
"There is scarcely anything so dull and meaningless as Bible doctrine taught for its own sake. Truth divorced from life is not truth in its biblical sense, but something else and something less."
So who are you really following? Jesus or Mesus?