Jesus wasn’t building an institution or an organization, but an efficient, flexible movement with the Gospel at the center and grace as the fuel.
The church Jesus left in history was more a “band of brothers (and sisters)” than an organization of programs and buildings.
The message at the heart of all Jesus said and did was the Kingdom of God, which implicitly included himself as King and the status of all the world as rebels in need of forgiveness and surrender.
The movement Jesus’ left behind was made up of the last, the lost, the least, the losers and the recently dead. The world would never recognize this Jesus shaped collection of nobodies as successful.
Jesus treated women, sexual sinners and notoriously scandalous sinners with inexplicable acceptance.
Jesus taught the message, power and presence of the Kingdom. He did not teach how to be rich, how to improve yourself, how to be a good person or how to be successful.
Jesus didn’t teach principles. He taught the presence of a whole new world where God reigns and all things are made right.
Jesus rejected the claims of organized religion to have an exclusive franchise on God, and embodied the proof that God was in the world by his Son and through his Spirit to whomever has faith in Jesus.
Jesus practiced radical acceptance in a way that was dangerous, upsetting and world-changing.
Jesus calls all persons to follow him as disciples in the Kingdom of God. This invitation doesn’t look identical to the experiences of the apostles, but the claims and commands of Jesus to his apostles extend to all Jesus-followers anywhere.
God is revealed in Jesus in a unique way. What God has to show us and to say to us is there in Jesus of Nazareth. All the fullness of God lives in him, and to be united to Jesus by faith is to have the fullness of all God’s promises and blessings.
Jesus didn’t talk much about how to get to heaven, and certainly never gave a “gospel presentation” like today’s evangelicals. Nor did he teach that any organization of earth controlled who goes to heaven.
Jesus never fought the culture war.
Jesus was political because the Kingdom of God is here now, but he was the opposite of the political mindset of his time as expressed in various parties and sects.
Jesus was radically simple in his spirituality.
Jesus was radically simple in his worship.
Jesus wasn’t an advocate of family values as much as he was a cause of family division.
Jesus fulfills the old testament scriptures completely, and they can not be rightly understood without him as their ultimate focus.
The only people Jesus was ever angry at was the clergy. He called out clergy corruption and demanded honesty and integrity from those who claimed to speak for God and lead his people.
Jesus embraced slavery and servanthood as the primary identifiers of the leaders of his movement.
Jesus didn’t waste his time with religious and doctrinal debates. He always moves to the heart of the matter. Love God, Love Neighbor, Live the Kingdom.
Jesus expected his disciples to get it, and was frustrated when they didn’t.
Jesus died for being a true revolutionary, proclaiming a Kingdom whose foundations are the City of God.
Does this sound like Jesus as you’ve encountered?