Would the real Jesus please stand up?
People who have a somewhat distant awareness of the content of the gospels end up bringing this myth to life from time to time.
It's the idea of a soft Jesus who maybe got angry once in the temple.
It's the notion that Jesus would never have actually had any hard feelings with any sin.
It's the myth that Jesus was only about love and peace and welcoming everyone to heaven.
Out with the harsh religion of the Pharisees, so this myth goes, and welcome instead a Jesus who never had a problem with anyone's choices.
The most glaring problem with this is Jesus' seeming obsession with bringing the reality of hell alive for his listeners. His insistence that only the miracle-working power of God could bring anyone into the kingdom of God. His stubborn focus on the fact that the easy rules people had made for themselves would be outdone by far by the new, more demanding ethic of his kingdom.
The truth is, Jesus spoke far more often about hell than about heaven.
The fact is, Jesus powerfully proclaims that most people will choose destruction and that the way that leads to life is narrow and few take it.
The stone-cold truth is that Jesus said if your eye offends you, you should poke it out, lest you end up in hell with both eyes and miss out on heaven with just one.
Listen to these words of Jesus about himself in Matthew 10:34:
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."
So, before you imagine that the real Jesus would accept you comfortably as you are and just wants to embrace you as you are and coddle you in your sin, recognize that the real Jesus, the one who warned often about the real torment of an eternal hell, is the compassionate Jesus who calls on the world to repent, to recognize and root out the sin in our hearts.
That's the real Jesus. He drives me to ask for mercy. His warnings keep me up at night. He could hardly ever be called soft or easy or indulging.
Share this post today to help people in your life who are resisting Jesus by repeating this old myth about him. You can learn more about the 21 Myths in 21 Days blog series by clicking here!
Check out these other posts on the following myths: no historical proof of Jesus' life, that it's possible to follow Jesus and check out of the Church or that Jesus taught the same thing other world religious leaders have.
Labels: 21 myths, Christian origins, Christianity, gospels, hell, Jesus Christ, sin