Another Jesus

Two Jesus

There are certain times of the year when the religious world pays special attention to Jesus. One is the Christmas season in which they celebrate the birth of Christ. The other is Easter when they focus on His death and resurrection.

Why is there such a focus on these things about Jesus? Remembering a baby Jesus reminds people of the grace of God in sending Him to earth – not to mention the fact that nearly everyone loves babies. In the death and resurrection of Christ, we see a Savior who died for our sins and gives us the hope of heaven. It is no wonder why people celebrate these events. These things make people feel good. Anymore in religion, if something makes people feel good, that is what they choose to believe and practice.

But the Bible has much more to say about Jesus than just these things. Sure, we must remember the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But by only focusing on these things and ignoring so much of what the Bible teaches about the Christ, many in the religious world have accepted another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4). They have molded Him to suit their desires. For this study, let us consider some of the other things the word of God has to say about Jesus that many have forgotten, ignored, or have never known.

The Jesus Many Do Not Know

He is the one who drove the moneychangers out of the temple – John recorded that near the time of the Passover, Jesus went into the temple and found moneychangers and some who were selling sheep, oxen, and doves. He then made a scourge of cords (a whip), drove out the ones selling the animals, and overturned the moneychangers’ tables. He was upset because they had made His Father’s house “a place of business.” The disciples remembered a prophecy that explained why He acted in this way: “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:13-17).

This does not fit with many people’s concept of a meek, gentle, and loving Savior. But does Jesus’ love negate His zeal for the Lord’s house? No, it does not. We see the point in this that our worship to God matters. Even though Jesus “loved [us] and gave Himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2), He still taught that we “must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). These things that Jesus condemned were connected with the worship of God. They were not acts of worship themselves, but these men had mixed what was a legitimate business activity (cf. Deuteronomy 14:24-26) with worship and the place where people assembled to worship. By doing this they stood condemned. Some of our brethren today have not been careful in this regard and have mixed their business of selling books with Christians gathering together for worship. We see Jesus’ attitude toward such actions in this passage. We must not corrupt or pervert our worship to God, even with activities that are wholesome and good at other times. The Jesus that many do not know demands that we do not adulterate the worship of God with other activities.

He is the one who drove people away – How many times have brethren complained that we are driving people away? Yet this is what Jesus did at times. In John 6, Jesus began with thousands of followers (John 6:10). But after teaching them some things they thought were “difficult” (John 6:60), “many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore” (John 6:66). After starting with thousands, He was left with only twelve (John 6:67), and one of these would eventually betray Him. Through His teaching, Jesus drove these people away.

So many in religion put such a high importance on numbers. They believe that numeric growth is an indicator of spiritual growth. But this is not always the case. If a church grows numerically, it is not always because it is growing spiritually. Our politically correct society goes to great lengths to not offend. So the churches that are growing are often the ones who try not to offend anyone. But the truth is sometimes offensive to people. Jesus offended people with His teaching (Matthew 15:12-14). Sometimes we must teach things that people will not like so that they might hear the truth, repent of their sin, and turn to God (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). Jesus valued the souls of others enough to teach the truth, regardless of how they might react to it. We must have the same attitude today.

He is the one who causes division – Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household” (Matthew 10:34-36). Many desire unity at all costs. Denominational distinctions are being blurred. People just want to be able to get along. The Christmas holy day is used to promote peace and unity among men, just as the angels announced at Jesus’ birth, “On earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14). But the peace Jesus came to bring was between man and God – reconciliation that was necessary because of our sins against God (Ephesians 2:13-18; Isaiah 59:2). Peace among men may be a byproduct of the peace between man and God, but it was not Jesus’ primary purpose. He “did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).

We should all desire unity (Psalm 133:1), but there are times when it is not possible. Paul told the Corinthians, “For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you” (1 Corinthians 11:19). How do we know when the time has come when there must be divisions or factions among us? When Jesus is the reason for the division (Matthew 10:34). When Jesus and His word teach one thing, and man teaches something else, there must be division. We are to be united on the basis of God’s word (John 17:20-21). We cannot have fellowship with those who do not submit to the word of God (2 John 9-11). If we want to follow the Lord, we cannot sacrifice the truth in order to achieve or maintain unity.

He is the one who demands obedience – The idea many have of Jesus is that He will reward even those who fail to obey His instructions. While Jesus is willing to save all men (Romans 10:13), He will only save those who obey His will. In giving the Great Commission, Jesus told His apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Those who wish to be Christ’s disciples are to be taught to do all that He commanded, not just some of what He commanded. We are not at liberty to pick and choose what commands and instructions we wish to obey.

At the end of Matthew 11, Jesus gave what is sometimes called the Lord’s invitation. He said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). It is a common idea that we invite Jesus to us (saying the “sinner’s prayer”), but instead we must come to Him. If we wish to come to Him, He told us what we must do. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me” (Matthew 11:29). In taking on His yoke, we must allow Him to direct and guide us. We no longer do what we desire, but what He desires. Many people call Jesus “Lord,” but do not treat Him as such. Calling Him Lord means we must follow His word. He asked the question, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Jesus demands obedience from His followers. We must obey Him in order to be saved. He is “to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9).

He is the one who will judge us – Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). The Lord will judge each one of us according to what we have done, not what He has done. Some hold to the notion of imputed righteousness. This is the idea that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us and, therefore, we are saved. But Jesus already did His part to make salvation possible. Now we must do our part. So He will judge us by the infallible standard of His word (John 12:48).

He is the one who will destroy the wicked – Paul wrote to the Thessalonians to comfort and encourage them in the face of persecution. He told them what Jesus would do when He returned. He said, “The Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Many have asked the question, how can a loving God send anyone to hell? A similar question is how can a loving Lord destroy the wicked? The reason is because of His righteousness and justice (2 Thessalonians 1:5-6). Yes, Jesus loves us and wants us to be saved. That is why He has given us time to prepare to meet Him. But He will destroy those who do not obey Him. They will be told, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

Conclusion

This Jesus that we have considered here is different from the one that many people claim to know. But it is this Jesus, and only this Jesus, who can provide salvation. “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Let us not be deceived into following another Jesus. Let us follow the one shown to us in the pages of God’s word.


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