Jesus is Close and Challenging.

Jesus is closer than you think. God is closer than you think. 

Approachable. Engaged. Interested and interesting. Powerful. Passionate. These are some of the adjectives you can use to describe Jesus with only a cursory reading of the gospels. Jesus shows us that God is not available only to the religious elite, to the pious, to the holy, but God is open and available to all. Anyone can read the biblical texts and find awe, wonder and inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus. That in and of itself is part of the power of the gospel. The good news is that God is for us, with love that is open and available to all.

Jesus is more challenging than you think. The way and the reign that Jesus invites us into are subversive, they challenge even some of our most natural impulses. 

If Jesus criticized someone, it was usually one of his pious brothers-of-the-faith. Also known as someone like me. The way of Jesus runs is about unearthing a love that is the center of the universe, and that unearthing process is painful for all of us. It's painful because our well-developed programming for self-preservation, our ego, has to die. Because we have to face our own fear of death, and find new life that is driven by love for people and for nature, a love that is intrinsic to God's character. The way of Jesus is difficult because it calls us higher, it calls us to evolve to a new way of being, and it is always easier to stay where we're comfortable—even if that place and the behaviors that ensue are really what will kill us. An abundant life is open and available to each and all, yet we are so quick to settle for our own presumed scarcity or a scarcity we impose upon others. The way of Jesus is tough, it is narrow, but not for the reasons we generally think it is.

Jesus is closer than you think. Jesus is more challenging than you think. 

And that's good news. 

Benjamin FaderComment