Jesus was incredulous. He was exasperated. He was furious. He insulted. He ridiculed. He told of coming judgment. He exercised demons. He said he was God. He said he had final authority given to him to judge the living and the dead. He said he had power over life and death. He scared people. He confused people. He repulsed people.
He wouldn’t answer questions asked by the local authorities. He stayed away three days knowing Lazarus would die, and then wept when he showed up to his tomb. He supplied the party wine. He preached fire and brimstone. He used satire and mockery. He frustrated his mother. He told his apostles they had new names when he met them. He used frustratingly vague metaphors and parables to purposefully judge a stubborn people (fulfilling Isaiah), and then later told the hidden meanings to the apostles.
He chose a forerunner who looked and smelled like a crazy hobo, and who badgered the local mayor over sexual and marital ethics. He healed people on the Sabbath just to tweak the religious elite. He monitored financial giving and gave live commentary on it. He said the world hated him and his followers. He told people to eat his flesh and drink his blood and let them walk away misinterpreting.
He had incredibly awkward and blunt conversations about spiritual things 15 seconds into meeting a stranger. He let a presumably sensual woman wipe his feet with her hair. He told a female stranger that she had five husbands. He went out to eat with creepy guys who preyed on families via financial extortion. He went to the most significant religious structure local to him and said he would destroy and rebuild it, speaking of his own body and predicting the destruction to come.
He said he existed before Abraham.
What is “Christ-like” about any of that?
Jesus was nuts. A special kind of nuts. Or God in the flesh.
Lord, lunatic, or liar.
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38)
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)
L… Lu….. Lun….. Lord.
I appreciate Lee Grenier’s response to this:
“I think not pointing to the love and mercy was kinda the point. We have this horrible habit of focusing on those traits to the exclusion of others, even condemning people who follow Christ’s examples from Aaron’s list because we somehow think that love and mercy and goodness are absent in these other things. It is not right to pick and choose what is right or what is Christ-like, even if its harder to deal with. Sometimes we need to focus on just righteous anger, righteous mockery, righteous calling out of evil, just as much as we need to focus on love or forgiveness. Otherwise, we have missed part of who God is.”
And Mike Bell’s:
“I don’t think Aaron’s point was these are the ONLY attributes of Jesus, or even preeminent attributes…he’s just making the point that sometimes we put things in wrong categories.”
And Roger Overton’s:
“This is not to say that we should do everything Jesus did. The “What Would Jesus Do?” movement seemed to entail that. Rather, it means we should be clear about who Jesus is before we aspire to be like him. If you simply want to be more liked amongst your peers, you should follow someone less confrontational. If you want to pursue God, your boldness before men must be Christ-like.
“Like most doctrine, pursuit of Christ-likedness must be balanced. Jesus was not simply confrontational to tick people off. He knew the hearts and minds of his audience and he knew exactly the best approach to accomplish his goals. We do not know these things. For us, to be Christ-like is not a license to be unnecessarily confusing or offensive. It means that if he are Christ-like there will be situations where the gospel we preach is confusing and offense to our audience and we must accept that.”