One of the reasons I believed I was a Christian was that I would never kill anyone, especially not Jesus. Well maybe if someone broke into my house I would whip out my wrestling moves, but never Jesus. That’s pretty much a no-brainer, right?
Once when I was a teenager I helped serve communion at church and I did so wearing my coolest “Happy Pig” T-shirt. However I got into trouble with one of the adults saying that people might find the pig offensive. I also once put black shoe-polish on the ladies toilet seats and then sent my sister in to see if anyone fell for my prank.
Those might be funny little stories, good memories but they seem to pale in comparison to what Jesus did. Jesus really went over the top, turning over their tables. Healing people on the one day it was illegal to do so. Telling the guys who were drawing to the end of a 40 year building project that they could tear it all down and he could do it in 3 days. Like William Wallace, it seems that Jesus wanted to pick a fight with the religious system of his day.
The problem I see is that we as Christians have made Jesus the nicest guy in the world, and I know some people have been doing some PR trying to toughen up his image, but that is just to make him easier for men to follow, and so that they’ll come to next months men’s breakfast. What made Jesus so dangerous was that he stood outside the religious structure and offered something completely new and dangerous to the system…Relationship!
Now here’s the tricky part, I was taught this from when I was small, that the most important thing in life is a relationship with Jesus. I was taught that by a religious system, but here is the difference, religion offers a way of relating to God through works and knowledge but because Jesus exists outside of religion, religion can never give you God. What it promises it can’t deliver and then we start to supplement. We offer this course, that book, we teach on this principal that when applied will give us God, but he is not there.
What Jesus offered was not relationship through a system, but relationship as a gift, initiated by a loving Father who was seeking us out. This makes the religious structure unnecessary and an obstacle to the gift. This makes Jesus a threat to religion everywhere, including in us. Which is why by telling ourselves that we aren’t religious almost guarantees us that we are.
So would we kill Jesus? Well maybe if he chose a curtain colour we didn’t like, or introduced a smoke machine during worship. Probably definitely if he didn’t back our latest building project or agree with our vision statement.
Maybe the most radical move we can make is to acknowledge that we are religious, and by doing so we can open ourselves up to the gift of relationship that Jesus gives us, and allow him to remove our religious bias.