“Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it.” (James 1:22)
In his book “Becoming Fully Human in an Inhuman World,” Dr. Knofel Staton said that Jesus lived, worked, and ministered outside the box of traditional religion that was more interested in being correct than being compassionate, more interested in rituals than relationships, more concerned about traditions than truth, and more concerned about status than service.
Jesus called people to follow Him, and that invitation continues today. But instead of following Him, I wonder if it is possible that we are pushing Jesus aside so we can get on with our traditions, just as many people did in His day?
Jesus spoke and served to please the Father by pleasing those who had been blasted by secular and religious traditions. By doing that, Jesus demonstrated exactly what God is like. Keeping this in mind, here are some ways that our culture may be pushing Jesus aside:
- Jesus included both women and men as His students.
- He welcomed both adults and children.
- He included an exploiter of people’s money as one of his apostles – the tax collector Matthew – and invited him in.
- He touched the ritually and socially unclean.
- Jesus bragged about a person whose ethnic identity the religious leaders hated – a Samaritan.
- He had a reputation for being a friend of sinners.
- He forgave sins of all kinds.
- He looked at the crowds filled with dysfunctional people and had compassion for them.
- He linked service to His leadership and humility to His status.
- He valued people above things.
God is like all of that. And you know what? We should be too! If we are not going to be like this, then we are definitely pushing Jesus aside.