We say we know someone when we have enough understanding of their basic behavior to build a composite that, to us, represents this person. In other words, we know how they acted the last 3 times we met them, in a handful of situations; as we get to know this person better we fine-tune our observations and observe them in more situations. We find out whether they would steal something if the opportunity has presented itself, whether they would give a handout to a bum, whether they would arrive on time to an appointment, and things like that.
You probably believe you know Jesus. You think you know how he would handle many situations and how he would go about solving some problems. But what if you could find out, from an absolutely reliable source, that He was not like that at all? What if I could prove to you, unarguably, that He would react totally differently than you think? How would you react? Let’s find out. Let’s try to build a picture of the real Jesus.
The Jesus most people know would never get angry. Always patient and kind to everyone. Let’s see what the real Jesus did.
Mark 3:5 And when he had looked round about on them WITH ANGER, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
95% of the Bible versions agree that Jesus Christ was ANGRY. And since He never sinned, that anger must have been justifiable! So the picture of Jesus’ nature that we are building must include anger, when appropriate – not a smooth-speaking milksop who never felt anger!
Surely at a funeral, Jesus would be sweet and gentle and kind – other issues could wait until later while the family mourns, couldn’t they?
Matthew 8:21-22 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
Why, that scarcely seems like the Jesus you know at all, does it? Picture yourself, catching someone on the way to their dad’s funeral; you unwittingly ask them to come help you do something. They beg off saying “Sorry, but I’m on my way to my Dad’s funeral”. Can you imagine yourself then saying “oh, let the dead worry about the dead, this is more important!”
But that’s exactly what Jesus did.
But surely, Jesus would never call people a fool would He? After all, He Himself said…
Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
And yet He later said…
Matthew 23:17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
“Fool” comes from the same Greek word in each case, incidentally. Would the Jesus you’ve always thought you knew call someone a fool?
But the ad hominems – namecalling – doesn’t stop there. Jesus did it all the time. He called people, among other things… Sons of the devil (John 8:44), liars, snakes, hypocrites, white-washed graves, blind (all in Matthew 23!), leaders of the blind, (Matthew 15:14), thieves (Mark 11:17), and Satan (Mark 8:33), to name the first that come to mind. So clearly He wasn’t above resorting to namecalling if the situation called for it.
HARSHLY CONDEMNING A FRIEND
But the Jesus we’ve known – the one you’ve worshiped – would always be patient with a friend. With someone that knew Him, even if they ever slipped up and did something wrong, He would always “restore such a one in the spirit of Meekness”, as Galatians 6:1 says. And yet…
Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Does that sound like your picture of “restoring such a one in the spirit of meekness”? I doubt that it does. And yet it is how Jesus – our example – chose to react to this situation. We are already developing a picture of Jesus who, in addition to all of the well-known patience and love attributes, had a completely different side of his nature – one that, since his nature was perfect, was no less important and no less worthy of our emulation. Because after all, we “ought to walk, even as He walked”, according to 1 John 2:6. But we haven’t reached the truly shocking things yet.
It seems that nearly everyone on earth, if they know of no other scriptures, know Matthew 7:1, which says “Judge not, that ye be not judged”. More than any other phrase, that sums up the nature of Jesus as He is known to the world today. But what if the Bible shows that He wasn’t like that at all?
John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I JUDGE: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
Why, what a shock! Jesus said “I judge!” Not in the abstract sense, but based on what He heard, He made judgments; and said that those judgments He made were JUST, because He sought His father’s will. Hardly what is commonly believed about Him at all, but clearly words directly from the Bible…
REFUSING TO HELP SOMEONE
The God commonly known to the world “loves all men” – John 3:16, plastered on billboards and bumpers around the world, testifies of that. But I am about to cite an example of Jesus refusing to help someone. Someone perfectly in his power to help. Someone who obviously needed it, and asked for it. But He said no. According to the Bible, not because of some noble reason like “for her own good”, but just because she wasn’t an Israelite.
Matthew 15:22-23 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
He totally ignored this woman! Even after his disciples urged him – not to help her, but to send her away! Which they did selfishly, saying only that she was bothering them with her begging. And this woman was even calling him Lord, son of David! And still, He didn’t lift a finger to help her! And to top it off, he called her and her demented daughter dogs, not worthy of the bread (of life… I.E., Himself)!
Verses 26-28 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Or as Mark relates the end of the story…
Mark 7:29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.
He had no intention of helping her, but healed her daughter solely because of the things she said, which showed her faith. Clearly Jesus had something more important to do than help her. Which hardly seems like the Jesus to whom most of us have been introduced.
But all of these pale beside an incident recorded in three of the gospels… for the wimpy, almost effeminate Jesus the world preaches, with a downcast look and a patient smile we see in all the pictures would NEVER lose his temper! And yet the REAL Jesus…
John 2:13 (NKJV) Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. WHEN HE HAD MADE A WHIP OF CORDS, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
Jesus – patient, loving, babe-in-a-manger Jesus – made a whip, and physically drove people out of the temple! Is that the Jesus you’ve been introduced to in Church? Would THEIR concept of Jesus allow them to explain any of these scriptures which so plainly speak of parts of His character they would rather ignore?
I don’t imagine it does. But that IS Jesus. The details of each of these incidents is dealt with in many of my other articles. In some cases, such as judging, the truth is that Jesus never meant that you weren’t to judge sin in the first place, so it is not at all surprising that He himself did it. Similarly for calling people fools and other namecalling. If you study the scriptures involved carefully you’ll see it was never forbidden. But all of these show evidence of a nature of a God that frankly, most of the world just doesn’t know.
The purpose of this article wasn’t to explain all of these facts; just to show you that Jesus, as a man just like you and I, did and said things that you probably don’t hear about in church, and that to most people’s minds are not very Jesus-like.
And yet… Jesus did them.