The more time I spend in the gospels, the more I see that Jesus was, is, and always will be a bona-fide RADICAL.
Just look at the way he picked fights with the religious elite (Matthew 23), stood boldly and abrasively against misuse of worship (John 2:13-17), and said some of the most offensive, in-your-face things to His own followers (Matthew 16:23). Jesus wasn’t playing around. He knew His life was too short for that…
Yes, He was full of compassion, but full of uncompromising holiness at the same time (John 8:3-11). He called sin, sin. He confronted wrong. He cared for the holiness and glory of His Father more than He cared for the fragile feelings of any human. He was relentless… unyielding… extreme in what He said (Matthew 18:8-9, Luke 14:25-33). If someone in our day said such things, we’d think he was too critical – out there – off his rocker. I’m sure Jesus seemed that way to those of His day… even overbearing and intolerant. That is simply who He was. Radical.
His uncompromising, radically flavored commitment to His Father’s glory and the outworking of His eternal plan was always front-and-center in Jesus’ mind and heart. Nothing deterred Him. Not organizations, or politicians, or religious types, or the needy, or personal suffering – not even death. His entire being was dedicated to carrying out the eternal plan of God. No holds barred. No turning back. No fear. No compromise. THAT is who Jesus was…and who Jesus is. Radical. In light of that truth I’m faced with the following realization:
Every Christian is called to follow THIS radical Jesus.
Let that sink in. Take your time. The one implication of that realization I’ve never been able to shake, the one that continues to haunt me, is this:
If I REALLY am a Christian, a Christ-follower… If the Spirit of God has REALLY come to dwell within me…
MY LIFE should also have a radical flavor. Isn’t that what it means to “follow” Jesus?
Should I care what people think of me?
Should I temper my responses out of fear of offending?
Should I withhold truth when it isn’t popular or is not well-received?
Should I allow my own fear of man to stifle my zeal?
Should I continue to walk in my insecurities, or let the insecurities of others frighten me into silence?
Should I allow myself to make excuses for my disobedience?
Should I allow compassion to do violence to the truth?
Many who call themselves Jesus’ followers, are so unknowingly effected by modern culture that they attempt to filter Jesus’ radical example through their own standards of appropriateness and emotional sensitivity – making Him into a well-meaning friend rather than their blazingly holy Lord. The radical Jesus, the REAL Jesus, seems nowhere to be found, even among those who “follow” Him.
What do you think? Am I sounding a bit radical? I hope so… not for the sake of being radical, but for the sake of boldly representing what truly matters to Jesus – holiness, truth, the glory of the Father.
MY PRAYER: Lord Jesus, make ME into the kind of radical life that was Yours when You walked this earth. Teach me what it means to count the cost of being Your disciple. Enable me to do it… and to live it.