Did you ever wonder what God would do, literally, to individuals He would walk past or what He would say if people were speaking harshly to Him or asking really stupid questions? Do you question how God might respond to a woman caught in adultery? How would He react to the biggest “sinners” in town who came to Him repenting and crying? Or how would God speak to religious folks that were arrogant and self-righteous?
Jesus was the perfect reflection of God. Did you ever think about that? All we have to do is read the gospels to see exactly what God, the Father, would do if He were here, today, walking on the earth. Jesus lived, spoke, responded and reacted JUST like God would if He was living in any town in the world today. Jesus was, in fact, the human embodiment of God Almighty——God in the flesh. He is not only my redeemer, Lord, Savior and friend, He is God incarnate.
But am I not supposed to somehow mirror Jesus in my life? The lives of the apostles reflected the life of Jesus right up till the moment they were torn in two, burned alive, crucified, flayed or beheaded. They embodied the character, focus, drive and love of Jesus Christ, and thereby reflected God Himself. Is something missing in our religious services today? To bring the point home, think about your own pastor—-whoever that might be. When you see him (or her) in the pulpit does he represent Jesus in the manner in which the message is given, the focus upon God, the delight in having children come forward, his unflinching willingness to point out the arrogance of the religious prigs and reserve his greatest condemnation for those that would hinder the work of the Kingdom? Is there passion and Spirit-filled power in the messages and leadership that we “catch” from the pulpit of our pastors?
Now I say all of this because I am a pastor, and I must humbly admit that quite frequently I am not the proper ambassador I should be. But I would also take aim at the contemporary preachers who teach and preach as if they were a late night talk-show host or a motivational speaker rather than following the example of Jesus. To my knowledge, Jesus spoke about His childhood, His previous experiences, or told a joke. He was never the hero of His own stories and never attacked the government or condemned the social sins of His time. He spoke about God, the Kingdom and the manner in which citizens of the Kingdom ought to be living. He also talked about the need to forgive, show mercy, have compassion and love others from the heart.
I cannot speak about any specific pastor or his message, but I can attest that it is a great temptation to preach to the applause, laughter, “amens” and adulation of the congregation. But that’s not really “preaching”, it’s entertainment or, at best, “Christianity lite”. When Jesus spoke, just as when God speaks to us, the listeners tended to leave the conversation determined to be better, or angry at how His words pierced to their hearts, or sad that they were not ready or unable to follow Him and call Him Lord. But no one went to hear Jesus speak so that they could “feel good” about themselves, be amused or leave unchallenged. Jesus spoke truth and it penetrated into the heart and soul of those listening and watching——so should our speaking and actions.