If You Understand Jesus You Can't be Neutral
I started a new book yesterday. Actually it's not a new book, but an old one. But you've noticed that Starting a Book feeling before and how fun it can be to launch into something you haven't read before.
Well, for R.T. France fans, this is a classic book on Jesus packed with inspiring insight about the life of history's greatest heart-and-mind. I'll throw you some R.T. in the days ahead - tell me what you think!
Can Anything Good Come From Nazareth? - Chapter One
"Jesus is a divider, a disturber of the peace. People's reactions to him cause some of the deepest divisions this world knows. If you understand Jesus, you can't be neutral about him.
This is the Jesus of the Gospels, the only Jesus history can recover. Many other Jesuses have been invented. The liberal theologians of the last century invented a sentimental Jesus ... the great preacher of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men. The modern humanist invents a Jesus who is the supreme example of self-giving service to fellow men. Many of us have been brought up on an anaemic Jesus, friend of little children, incapable of any angry thought or divisive action.
All these Jesuses contain some genuine features, of course. Jesus did preach the virtues of love and forgiveness; he did attack exploitation and injustice; he is the supreme example of self-sacrifice for others...
But we gain nothing by suppressing the other, sterner aspect of the Jesus of the Gospels, the Jesus men were prepared to kill, and to die for, the Jesus who was sufficiently dynamic and controversial to start the most lasting revolution the world has seen." pp 13-14.
How about your Jesus, reader? Who do you say that he is? Even when you've landed on who he is...what do you do with him? The greatest heart-and-mind that ever walked the face of the earth will offend the sentimentalities of smaller heart-and-minds like yours and mine. You either love him or hate him! Sometimes I wish it could be different!