The real, gritty Jesus who makes us uncomfortable

Bryant Golden Blog

One of the major comforts Christians seem to be unable to let go of is control. This isn’t particularly a slam against Christians because control seems to be something all people struggle with, regardless of faith.

We’re driven to control every aspect of our life because it makes us feel safe and secure. As soon as things look uncertain or are out of control, we feel weak, lost and vulnerable.

We make sure our lives are easy and predictable, and the same goes for our faith. We try to put Jesus in a box as someone we can perfectly understand and describe. We make the Bible something that is devoid of mystery — something easily explainable that can be used to make us feel better about ourselves and comfortable and secure.

But, this isn’t what Scripture is supposed to do. This isn’t who Jesus is.

Jesus is a threat to the religious system

That’s right. Is not was. Jesus, as well as other figureheads of the faith, challenged the religious status quo of the time.

You see, there was a religious institution that operated from similar principles as what we see today. Control, fear, certainty, judgment, hypocrisy — come on, you know the name: Pharisees.

We love to preach about the Pharisees and how bad they were and how thankful we are that we don’t live under control of such religiously strict men — but we do. Sure, let’s celebrate the fact that we’re not stoning anyone anymore, but we’re really not so different from the Pharisees.

Like them, we use faith as an institution for a number of agendas. Some want control. Others want comfort and safety. Others want to simply be liked by a similar group of people. Whatever it is, we twist and squeeze the Bible and Jesus into a mold that fits our true idols, which is exactly what Jesus stood against. And, it’s exactly what He still stands against.

Jesus’s actions leave us no room for excuses

The recorded activities and words we have of Jesus explicitly depict a man (and God) who grabbed the religious institution by its ankles and turned it upside down. He was a threat to their politics, to their religious interpretations and to their way of life.

He dined with sinners, laid hands on the unclean, spoke with the socially despised, made claims of communication with God without going through the religious channels, and He preached forgiveness and freedom. His example was of someone who could live at peace with the culture of His time while presenting a new and better way of life. One of love and forgiveness and charity toward others.

This is the Jesus we strive to follow at Unfiltered Radio. This Jesus makes us uncomfortable and leads us into situations saturated with uncertainty. But, as Mother Teresa once said, certainty (or clarity) is the one thing we have to let go of. Instead of leaning into certainty, we are to lean into trusting God, and we’ll see what amazing things He has in store for us and those around us.