Not My Jesus!

I preached on Sunday and I was drawing a parallel between the time of the Judges and the church in post-Christian America. I made the comment that America at large is hostile to the Word of God, and for an experiment I offered this suggestion: Go home and put Leviticus 18:22 on Face Book and see what happens. Well, it turns out that at least one person did. A response received from Leviticus 18:22 went along these lines, “My Jesus would not condemn a person for that. He never spoke about homosexuality and he loves everyone” or some other nonsense. Then there was a faithful saint who pointed out that this person’s understanding of the biblical Jesus is deficient. And a hearty “Amen” rang out from my lips.

This got me thinking. We can certainly make the case that Jesus condemns homosexuality based on his denunciation of sexual immorality broadly, that kind of argument is easy peasy. And to say that Jesus never condemned a man having sex with another man means that it is acceptable in His eyes is wrongheaded big time. Jesus also never said anything about bestiality, so I guess we can do that. He also never said anything pedophilia, so…no condemnation there? Did He mention rape? Hmmm…now we are in all sorts of sexual ethical knots because someone does not know how to read and understand Scripture. Rather than seeing and believing the biblical Jesus, these “My Jesus wouldn’t” people are constructing an idol in their own image.

In biblical parlance they are playing the harlot. They are forsaking the truth of God for a lie and are worshiping an idol.

But, let’s go back a minute to Jesus and the Bible. What did Jesus believe about the Bible? He has the highest view of Scripture anyone has ever held in all of history. Three examples ought to suffice.

(1) Jesus tells us, and if you are a red-letter Bible reader this is very important (yes, I am being snarky), that Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35-36). Jesus is defending His ministry against the Jews by quoting Psalm 82. He does not make a defense for the authority, inerrancy, or infallibility of Psalm 82, it is assumed. Jesus merely asserts the truth. For Jesus, even this line from this obscure Psalm holds authority because it is Scripture, and after all, it can’t be broken. So, quit trying to break it.

(2) Maybe I will just quote Jesus here, it hardly needs explanation and the “My Jesus wouldn’t” people who believe that somehow the black letters of the Bible are not authoritative because they have red letters in their Bible better take heed, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19).

(3) A third point and then I will have a little conclusion. When Jesus is having a little discourse on divorce, this occurs, “And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female,and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5). Two points: (a) Jesus says “male and female” affirming heterosexual marriage as a creation design and (b) what is interesting here is that what Jesus quotes is not someone speaking. When you go back to Genesis read what Jesus is quoting (Genesis 2:24) you will see that this is narrative commentary from the author of Genesis (Moses), not from God speaking. However, Jesus says that this is God speaking. He who created them, that would be God, also said. The words of narration are also the words of God. Jesus does not separate the Scriptures, but holds them in the highest regard. 

My little conclusion: If we are Christians, we ought to view the Bible as Jesus did. We need to believe it because it is the Word of God. Get rid of the “My Jesus” thing, unless your Jesus is the One who affirms all that the Father does, which includes Leviticus 18:22. Rather than saying this or that about “My Jesus” maybe we ought to understand that He is not ours, but we are His. Turn submission the other way around because the King will not bow to you.

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9 comments

  1. Titus J · · Reply

    Would you advise against singing the hymn “My Jesus, I Love Thee?”

    1. Thanks for the question Titus J. No, I would not advise against singing that particular hymn. I think that hymn exhibits the total dependence we have upon Christ for mercy and life. To put it another way, “My Jesus, I love Thee” is a hymn of humble praise. It recognizes that we under the authority of Christ and that we are His, which is why we can say He is ours.

  2. What did he mean by “until all is accomplished”?

    1. Good question Clare, and you will find various answers to this question throughout church history. What I think is going on here is multi-faceted. For example, this is not the first time “fulfill” comes up in Matthew (1:22; 2:15,17,23; 4:14) and in those instances Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament types and shadows. He is what Israel should have been.

      Jesus also fulfills the law and the prophets because He obeys the law perfectly. He does every jot and tittle (hence He is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven).

      Another aspect of “fulfill” is contrasted with the Pharisees attempt at fulfilling the law. We see that the Pharisees are rather childlike in their law keeping. They don’t get it, and in attempting to fulfill the law, they break it. Jesus, on the other hand, is the mature law keeper. He fulfills the law by showing us, His disciples, how it was meant to be kept, as a mature adult, not a scrappy boyish Pharisee. The Pharisees “kept” the law, but their disciples ended up being devilsh just like them. Jesus fulfills and keeps the law showing His disciples how to be a true son or daughter of the Father.

    2. Forgive my last comment. I had a slip of the mind. For some reason, I thought you were asking about “fulfilled” earlier in the verse. Measure twice, cut once as the old saying goes.

      Ok, so “until all is accomplished.” Again, good question. This is how I understand it. The dual phraseology in that verse are synonyms strengthening His teaching, “until heaven and earth pass away” and “until all is accomplished.” I take these to be references to the end of the present world and the beginning of the new heavens and the new earth. Until Jesus comes back to fully establish His Kingdom and judge the living and the dead, the law is valid.

      1. So what about seafood, and blood, and all that?

      2. Again, good question. When it comes to the relegation of food, we must understand that all foods are now clean (Matthew 15:11; Acts 10:9-16).
        When it comes to blood, I am guessing you mean the sacrificial system of the Levitical priests. If I am wrong in that assumption, let me know. The sacrificial system of blood has been fulfilled in Jesus as our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. The blood atonement has not been abolished, but it is being sustained as we speak through Jesus Christ as the final Priest (pretty much the argument of the letter to the Hebrews) which is why Christians do not offer living sacrifices.

  3. No, I meant that we should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols or strangled, and from blood. Acts 15 and 21, I think.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. This is a conscience issue. Christians can eat the meat that is offered to idols because the idols are false. However, if a Christian has a conscience issue with eating that meat, then he or she should not eat it. If you have a guest and his conscience prohibits him from eating that kind of meat, our duty is to serve that person meat that was not sacrificed to idols.

      In Acts 15 the prohibition is there because the saints were Gentiles converted to Christ who consistently went to pagan worship. In other words, “you young’uns in the faith, don’t go back. Don’t even be tempted.”

      Same is true of alcohol. Christianity liberty says, “have a beer.” Christian obligation and duty says, “if your guest is a recovering alcoholic, don’t have a beer.”

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