“Knock-off Jesus?” I don’t mean kill him. That’s been tried and the results were surprising. Have you ever been to New York’s China Town or to a “street market” in a major international city? It’s easy to find a version of a brand name item that looks identical to the original where only an expert can tell the difference. The same is true with Jesus and the Christian faith. Are you certain your brand of Jesus isn’t a “knock off?” People everywhere have spiritual interest and Asheville is bubbling with it too. Listening to and reading some of the local “fare” gives me concern. Are we talking about the same Jesus of the bible?
We have to be careful what we’re buying because some of what’s being sold just ain’t the real thing. There are many distortions, some intentionally to deceive and distract. Jesus is not just love (1 Jn.4:8). He is a lot of things . . . grace, mercy, kindness, patience and the like. He is also holy (Lev.19:2), a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29), a righteous judge (PS. 7:11), capable of wrath (Rom.1:8) and vengeance (Rom. 12:9). Jesus is ALL of those things and more! Our God issues commands and expects obedience. He is jealously protective of His word and doesn’t tolerate our “tweaking” it. Love is just not all of it or all of Him, and though love is central “since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jn. 4:11), we are not at liberty to customize God’s essence without risk.
Luke, the writer of Acts 17:11+, commends the Berean church for their diligence in “proofing” the teachings of even the noted apostle/teacher Paul by saying “The Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” The average Christ-follower today is sorely undernourished from the word of God and understanding it and is thus greatly vulnerable to deception. My admonition is this: Be careful who you listen to and check all things against what God says through scripture. Don’t be charmed by charisma or especially by just hearing what tickles your ears. Your life depends on it. “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Tim.4:3) Peter points believers back to the prophets and to God’s commands in 2 Ptr. 3:17+ and says “be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.” So let’s Think About It.