The people who hung Jesus on the cross never accused him of being a bore. On the contrary, they thought he was too dynamic to be safe.
It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Jesus with the atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah. We have certified him to be “meek and mild.” We’ve recommended Jesus as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.
To those who knew Jesus, however, he in no way appeared to be a milk-and-water person. They objected to him as a dangerous firebrand. True, he was tender to the unfortunate, patient with honest inquirers, and humble before heaven.
But Jesus insulted respectable clergymen by calling them hypocrites. He referred to King Herod as “that fox”. He went to parties in disreputable company and was looked upon as a “gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.”
Jesus insulted indignant tradesmen and threw them and their belongings out of the Temple. He showed no proper deference for wealth or social position. When he was confronted with neat dialectical traps, Jesus displayed a paradoxical humor that affronted serious-minded people. He retorted by asking disagreeable questions that could not be answered by rule of thumb.
But Jesus had a “daily beauty in his life that made people wonder.” Officialdom felt that the established order of things would be more secure without him. So they did away with God in the name of peace and quietness. Does this sound familiar again today?
Thanks to Dorothy Sayers for these thoughts.
How often do YOU consider the life of Jesus to be a radical life, both then and for today?
IF LOVING JESUS IS A CRIME, THEN GIVE ME A LIFE SENTENCE!