“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33 ESV)
I can remember my father once sharing a story about someone he knew years ago who hear something on television. Mind you, this would have been just about the time television became popular in most people’s homes. I can’t remember the topic, but whatever it was, my dad knew it couldn’t be true. My dad’s friend immediately responded “Well ti has to be true, it’s a brand new TV”. The logic, of course, being that surely a new Tv wouldn’t share something that wasn’t true. After all it hadn’t been around long enough to be jaded, like his radio.
It makes me wonder what this person would make of the advent of the internet. Never before have we had something that is so pervasive in our world, yet also so unfiltered. There is no mechanism that can insure what we see is true. Not only can we post thigns that are untrue, but they can be around the world in the blink of an eye.
Take for instance, something I read the other day, supposedly said by Pope Francis. It was obviously a piece designed to besmirch the Pope, which in and of itself surprised me. Pope Francis seems to be generally well liked, which is understandable. He seems like the type of Pope who keeps hard candy in his robe to share with friends. Pope Benedict always seemed like the Pope who would yell at you for being on his lawn.
But this particular piece said, in large blazing letters, “Pope a heretic. Claims that we should not follow Jesus. Following Jesus is dangerous and we ought not to do it!” My first reaction was, yeah probably not. I’m fairly sure the Pope didn’t say it. Of course, there were hundreds of comments arguing both for and against the Pope and the conversation disintegrated quickly.
But my second reaction was, If he didn’t say it, I sure wish that he did. In fact, if he did say it, it was probably the most truthful thing he has ever said. Jesus was/is the most dangerous person ever to walk upon the face of the earth. And anyone who desire to follow him immediately puts their life in danger.
Jesus is dangerous! We ought to be shouting it from the roof tops. We ought to have caution tape somewhere in every church letting people know the danger they are in when they are deciding to have a relationship with Jesus.
The Jesus we see depicted in many pictures looks like he couldn’t punch his way out of a wet paper bag. He has no effect on us. We’ve sold out the dangerous Jesus of the Bible for a Jesus that more closely resembles a wallflower middle school boy afraid to ask anyone to dance.
Jesus is dangerous. If you give him your life you are entering the most dangerous relationship imaginable. He is dangerous to your sin. Jesus and a sinful heart cannot coexist. The longer you follow him, the more he is going to tear away the wins that has its claws dug into your soul. And that tearing away is going to hurt. He’s dangerous to your low self-esteem and self loathing as well.
He is a danger to your refusal to forgive people. He is a danger to your tendency to nurse old wounds and grievances. He is a danger to your prejudice and to the pride that colors every thought. He is a danger to your self centeredness he is a danger to your self seeking, self serving heart.
He is a danger to the plans you may have for your life. He may so change you that your plans no longer fit. You might find your life going in a completely different direction. In fact, you may find your life no longer under your control at all.
Jesus is dangerous. why, he’ll have you doing things you never thought you would ever do. he’ll have to love people you thought you could never love. He’ll force you out of your comfort zones and out into the dark world. He might even actually impress upon you to tell another person about the Good news of God.
That’s at the heart of the verse at the top of the page. We tend to regulate this solely toward our finances. But Jesus meant so much more. It’s an invitation to enter into a dangerous relationship where we freely put all of our lives on the table and allow Christ to run free though our hearts.
Yes Jesus is dangerous. But danger doesn’t mean evil or bad. I’m always reminded of the line from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe: “No He isn’t a tame lion, but he is good.” Come and experience the goodness found in the midst of the danger.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><