There are lots of folks who love Jesus. Kind of like, “Oh, I love Jesus. He’s so spiritual and has such a peaceful way about him.” Others see no need for Jesus – that he’s irrelevant, not necessary. But what do we know about the folks that actually encountered the real flesh and blood Jesus? What do they have to say?
In his audio series, King’s Cross, Tim Keller describes the reaction the first century Jews and Gentiles had when they encountered Jesus.
Fear: many were scared to death of him and wanted to get as far away as possible. Even some of his followers left, and the demons he drove out of people were always shaking in their boots, wondering what he was going to do to them.
Hate: folks hated him. The religious leaders of his day saw how the crowds (the multitudes) followed him everywhere, hanging on his every word and they hated him for it. They saw their own power and control diminishing and they wanted to kill him.
Devotion: the remainder fell at his feet and worshiped him.
These are some pretty strong reactions from those who actually encountered Jesus. None reflect the spiritualized Jesus of today that renders him to the level of Buddha’s side-kick. And none show that one can simply sit on the fence waiting for more data.
I suppose, in our day, one could fall into a confused/curious category. That was certainly my state for some time. We’re confused (and often offended) by the hypocrisy, behaviors, and attitudes of those that claim to be Christians, but intrigued by the words and actions of this man called Jesus. The latter is a good place to be. Ignore the religious and follow your curiosity.
Every generation has asked the question, Who is Jesus? This in itself is rather telling. No one is asking who is Mohammed, or Buddha, or Ghandi, or Socrates, or Plato. But folks are still asking, Who is Jesus?
What do you think?
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson
Tim Keller Video on Philosophy and the New Atheists