Jesus was unlike any other the world has ever seen. If we fit in… if we look like everyone else… if we choose normalcy… then we aren’t showing the world Jesus. We aren’t Christ like… We aren’t Christians. To “put on” Jesus isn’t to attend church or learn a few rules. Rather, we are called to be consumed by Jesus, to partake of Him, to be Him.
People generally had two reactions when confronted with the complexity and humility of their Savior. They would follow Him, or they would plot to dismantle Him and all He stood for. Love or hate. He either offered you freedom, love, salvation, and healing… or he threatened your earthly world and needed to be dealt with.
But true to form, He did something no one expected. Something incomprehensible. Who would have ever imagined that the feeble and selfish plans of a hateful and corrupt legalistic group would have actually worked against the God, maker of man? Shouldn’t He have had a fail-safe? Shouldn’t He have seen it coming? Couldn’t He stop it? Sure. But He chose not to… for us.
Can you imagine having the ability to defend yourself against the scum of humanity and choosing not to… because you love the scum… all of them?
This goes against all logic. That is not the thinking of earth dwelling humans. And when some met this man, they followed. They witnessed the difference first hand. This man doesn’t serve himself, he serves God. He doesn’t accumulate, He hands out. He doesn’t demand, He assists. When He could rightfully strike back, He hugs. When He has been cheated, He prays. It’s like the opposite of everything life teaches us.
And now, with Jesus having proven He was all and more than He promised, but also gone from this world, He left one thing to bring everyone to Him in the end and finish His great and wonderful plan…
We may be generations removed. But we have a relationship anyway. We may have never witnessed the pages of the Bible lived out before being recorded, but we do have that perfect hindsight where the entire story has played out save one part. The return our ancestors spoke of is approaching us just as it was for them.
What were the commands? Be ready. No time for leaven bread. Like a thief in the night… Go into the world and speak Jesus. Pick up our cross and follow in His footsteps. Be persecuted for His name. Be the person unlike any other… except that one. Be like Him. Be the man who inspires strangers to change their lives. Be the woman who looks past the setting sun and sees the coming Son. Be the young adult that refuses to follow week minded and selfish ambitions. Be the child that yearns for something more.
Be unlike any other. If we can’t be like Him, we will be just like everyone else. The world has seen that over and over and over. The world doesn’t follow normalcy. The world doesn’t reject status quo. We are the gift left to finish the plan of God. We are to be Jesus to the world. Some of us have never shown Him because we don’t properly understand Him ourselves. Or we are too scared. Or being just like everyone else is too comfortable. Or excuse number 7, or exception number 19, or reason number 312… We know how to make anything sound acceptable.
If we conform to the world, if we follow in the social expectations, if we don’t stand firm and tether to Jesus… we will never show Him to the world. And if we don’t, no one else will. I can’t think of a more cruel punishment to the world (or anything more un-Christ-like… to deny them Jesus, when He allowed us to kill Him for just that very privilege).
While you are planning diets, new budgets, and other personality traits you want to alter in this new year, might I suggest the greatest goal you could ever imagine? Would you consider something more life changing than good health, and more valuable than extra wealth? Stop being like everyone else. Be like Him. Don’t judge your neighbor… Become a neighbor. A good one. A compassionate one. One that lives in the hindsight of redemption, freedom, and salvation. Be like Him.