Translating Jesus

One of the difficulties the church struggles with is translating Jesus into real life so that the world might see and understand Him. We must learn to translate Him by our lives and not just our words. We are in a day when words are being hijacked and meanings are changing rapidly. It seems that every month or so some individual or group takes a perfectly good word, puts their unique "spin" on it and takes over the popular usage of it. (case in point, the word "gay") Those who, for whatever reason, have rejected the evangelical church have no concept of who Jesus is. They may know of a historical Jesus, but more and more of them don't have a clue regarding the Biblical Jesus. They may use His Name, and that of His Father, God in their social discourse, but their meaning and understanding of those Names is far from the Biblical reality. Before we come down too harshly on them, let's examine how actively practicing evangelical Christians have contributed to their situation. Far too often our approach to them has been adversarial. That is way removed from the approach Jesus took. He was called a "friend of sinners" and a "wine-bibber" among other titles given Him by the religious folk of His day. He earned those titles because He spent time with people that most churches frown upon. The image that many Christians present to those who have not yet received Christ as Lord is one of disapproval. Our message to them, both verbal and non-verbal has been, "change you ways, dress, conversation, likes and dislikes until you look and sound like us and then we may accept you in our church." The reality is that we are asking them to do the impossible. If it were possible for an individual to make such changes in their own strength, they wouldn't need Jesus. What the world outside the church needs is to SEE Jesus translated into the lives of those who claim to follow Him. They need to SEE and experience His love, compassion, care and acceptance. Jesus accepted the first disciples as who they were and then poured His life into them until they became who He desired them to be. We must do the same if we ever expect to impact the non-believing world for the cause of the Kingdom of God.

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