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“The Passionless Christ:
aka/ Jesus the Troublemaker”
By Pastor Bruce Sikes
There is an attitude and philosophy in the world today, and even in our churches, that we are somehow better than those ignorant people who went before us. That we are kinder, gentler, more sensitive, more intelligent, more open minded and more understanding than those previous generations.
Some people go further and say that if Christ were to come and walk the Earth today, He would treat us differently, He would speak to us differently. Why? Because, we think we have changed, and so therefore Christ must also change.
If we follow this so called reasoning, then being Christ-like today would be different than being Christ-like 2000 years ago. This thinking has crept into much of the contemporary Church and led to the creation of a new streamlined politically correct Jesus. A Savoir that looks good on camera and delivers nice sound bites. You know the type, smiles all the time, never raises his voice or says a bad thing about anybody. A Jesus who doesn’t preach to us, but instead “shares” with us some guiding principles to make our lives better. This is one of the modern myths about being Christ-Like today.
The passion has been removed from Christ.
I don’t mean the passion of the crucifixion, I mean the heartfelt God given emotions Jesus possessed. His seriousness, steadfast determination, grieving, disappointment, distress, troubled thoughts, and righteous anger. We are made in the image of God and even more so was Christ. To minimize or even deny these emotions of Jesus is to say that He was not fully human. And if He were not fully human, the power of Satan and Hell could not have been broken by His death on the cross and by His resurrection.
Often today those of the Remnant, meaning those believers who are proclaiming repentance and revival for the Church and evangelism to the lost, have been and will continue to be accused of acting too emotional, too zealous, too passionate. Yet, Jesus was a very passionate and emotion filled fully human being who did not sin in anything He did or said. He spoke right to the hearts of people destroying whatever intellectual arguments that were set against the things of God and cutting right through any pretense of what we now call political correctness.
Nevertheless, many modern Christians are afraid to say anything because it might upset someone. They try to avoid the difficult issues. Instead they share some trite generic “feel good” statement about God in general, ones that would even please an atheist. This contemporary church generation is more worried about what people think of us than what God thinks of us.
In the Gospel of Mark, we see that Jesus was not only caring and compassionate, but He was also firm and direct whenever needed. He didn’t play games, He didn’t waste time. Jesus did not seek to avoid confrontation, on the contrary, He was often accused of creating it! The “trouble” Jesus caused was not only with the religious leaders as some would have you believe, but also with his own followers and even those seeking God. His purpose was to get to their hearts where their emotions lie. That’s where the Bible says in Romans “It is with your heart that you believe and are justified” and so be saved. That is the nut God seeks to crack, the shell surrounding the heart.
Too much modern preaching and teaching tries to appeal to the head, to the intellect, to reason, regarding appeals to the heart as manipulation, as mere emotion. If only knowing with your brain that Jesus Christ is Lord, then Satan himself would be regarded as being saved. Jesus cared more about giving the people the truth, than He cared about being politically correct. His goal was not that the people should all merely like him as a man, but that people should confess, repent and love God.
The more Christ-like we become, the more we will find ourselves in opposition to the world, to phony Christians, compromising churches and false leaders. We will find ourselves being attacked at times by people for no reason other than being too Christ-like. The more Christ-like we become, the more, Evil recognizes Christ dwelling in us, and the more we will be challenged.
It was Evil that first recognized and challenged Christ in the Gospels. Jesus was attacked without doing anything provocative other than speaking the truth in a house of worship. (Which proved to be quite enough to cause trouble!) So, what did Jesus do? Mark’s Gospel says;
“Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!". "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.” (Mark 1:23-26)
Jesus dealt with the conflict directly. He spoke sternly and gave the man what he needed, in the way he needed it, when he needed it. No doubt, the modern politically-correct Jesus would have apologized to the man, gave him a hug, and referred him to a counselor to help him deal with his feelings.
Jesus also got into trouble by doing “unauthorized ministry“, that is teaching, preaching and being obedient to God, and in this case - healing. We see that in the Gospel of Mark 3:4-5;
“Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they (the religious leaders) remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…”
Then He healed a man…
Wait a minute! Jesus looked at someone in anger? Jesus gave someone an angry look? Is that right? Is that being Christ-like? Now, there are those who would actually bend over backwards trying to say that those actions and words of Jesus do not apply to us. That they were for Jesus alone and we are not to follow his example in this situation. People are different now, times have changed. We are not to show “hostile” emotion, only polite concern at best.
Jesus’ emotions were the result of his passion for God. We should all have such passion! His righteous anger was the result of their failure to obey God and his deep distress, that’s “deep-distress!“, was out of concern for their eternal souls. We should all have such heartfelt concern for the lost. It should bother us!
What of these two little verses from Mark 7:17-18?
“After He (Jesus) had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples asked Him about this parable. "Are you so dull?" He asked.”
What? That wasn’t very nice! They were just asking Him a question. Sure it was perhaps the millionth time He told them, but still dull? The dictionary defines the word dull as meaning “intellectually weak, obtuse, stupid and lacking responsiveness.”
Wow! That’s pretty hard isn‘t it? Why did Jesus respond that way? You know, once again, the modern Jesus would have handled that much better. I’m sure he would have realized they simply had some difficulty comprehending so he would have tried to create an environment more conducive to free and open learning.
Seriously, why did Jesus answer them in that way? Jesus was not angry here. He wanted to say something to get their attention, to make them think, to get a response from them. They should have know more by now and been able to understand the parable for themselves. He answered in a way which He knew would snap them back into reality. He realized this would “upset them”. He counted on it!
The reality is, Jesus offended and insulted people. Today, however, we are repeatedly told that if we offend someone we have done something wrong. We must have said things in the wrong way or had the wrong attitude. Indeed that can happen, and did at Jesus’ time as well. However, for us it has become an excuse to avoid conflict at all costs, even at the cost of speaking the truth. The truth is the truth hurts sometimes.
Let’s take a quick look at a couple more obvious statements look us step out of Mark for a second and look at a couple of short verses which will help illustrate this…
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you?” (John 6:61)
If you take time to read this chapter, you’ll realize that Jesus knew that He was offending them. He was actually challenging them as to their right to be offended.
Also, let’s not forget the famous “Woe to you” section of Luke’s Gospel. In Luke 11:45;
“One of the experts in the law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also."
Essentially, His response to them was, “You think that’s bad, wait till I tell you what else I have for you!”
Jesus was the master of telling people what they needed to hear at the exact right time. He did not back off or shy away when tough love was needed. We talk a lot about tough love in our churches, but rarely exercise it. That is why so many Christians are weak. We need to be Christ-like and exercise more tough love.
Talking to people about sin, about repentance, and about Jesus Christ Himself means saying some hard things from time to time, more often than we might like. It means thinking of what’s best for others, rather than what’s easy and pleasing for ourselves. It means not being afraid of uncomfortable situations. Something many Christians avoid like the plague today.
Feeding someone milk and sugar all the time will probably get them to like you, but in the end they will become fat and sick. People need meat to chew on to grow strong. I am speaking spiritually of course. We need to exercise our spiritual body. We need to challenge ourselves and begin speaking up for God.
One thing is certain, being silent is not an option for the Remnant. People who avoid the hard issues and let others speak up for them so they don’t have to, are lazy at best or at worst, they have become cowards. They have surrendered to fear. What’s more, watering down the Gospel to make it more acceptable to everyone, is a sin.
If we are a Christian, Christ lives in us, and so we must be Christ like in all things regardless of the consequences, in all ways, and not just the easy soft things of God. We enjoy those easy soft things in the Bible because of the brave men and women of God who have gone before us. They fought for God’s word and some even died so that we might enjoy them.
We must not be afraid or embarrassed to tell others about Jesus and all His words. This is what Jesus Himself says,
“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38 )
You may be worrying that you might say the wrong things when testifying about Christ and or proclaiming His truth against false teachings. I guarantee from time to time it will happen. God would rather, I think, have you try and fail and learn from your mistakes, than do nothing at all.
One of my favorite quotes is from Evangelist Bill Fay it goes “God can use anything you say, the only thing He can’t use is your silence.”
Some of you may think you are not ready. Other people may think you are not ready. Regardless, the bottom line is…If you feel you should speak about the things of God to someone, then that is God urging you on - press ahead! As you seek His words, He will give them to you. He will prepare and cleanse you.
Early in Jesus’ ministry, He sent out His 12 disciples to preach. Were they ready? Humanly speaking, No. They didn’t even begin to get up to speed until Jesus had already been crucified and resurrected after Pentecost. Jesus sent them to do and learn. The truth is, we are never 100% ready, and we are always weak. So much the better, because we must rely on God to tell us what to say and do!
The Lord says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
So if today you think you are a weak Christian, then your are in the best position possible for God to use you. Surrender to His will. Pray in the Spirit and stay in His word. Let God use you to speak to others, with boldness, with power, and with words of wisdom Christ Himself has promised to give you.
For Christ and His Remnant,
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