Monday, December 2, 2013

Jesus as we like Him

Yesterday I mentioned in my sermon how sometimes our culture, our songs, and our nativities can place Jesus in a box during this time of year. In other words, we can worship Jesus as we like Him. He can be the savior we want him to be and not the one He truly is. Here are some thoughts to expound on what I said yesterday (NOTE: these are not thoughts condemning nativities, Christmas carols, or cultural impressions of the baby Jesus this time of year, simply some things to think about): 1. We like Jesus in a box. Subtly, when we place whatever Jesus likeness we have in the various manger scenes it may represent being able to control Jesus. It may be I like baby Jesus best because He is exactly where he belongs - in the hay, among the cattle, shepherds watching on, etc... I'm not as comfortable with him invading my life where he wants or him being something that I can't explain or don't like (eg. the guy throwing tables in the temple or rejecting a Phoenician woman's request for her daughter's healing) 2. We like Jesus "tender and mild". Jesus is pretty harmless in the manger. How much damage can a baby do? As a baby, he doesn't seem confronting or rejecting. It's as if, the baby in the manger is so cute and cuddly that he couldn't possibly have distinct teachings of right and wrong. In the manger he is lovable because this baby can't convict us or call us out for our sins...he simply smiles and coos and has soft skin. He is happy if I simply make faces at him and talk baby talk. We can easily forget that this baby grew up to preach the sermon on the mountain that spoke against our idolatry, our oath taking, our selfishness, our pride, our anger, and our materialism. 3. We like Jesus to be like us. Of course, Immanuel - God with us is the point. He became like us - human so that he could show us his love in a tangible human way. But he did not become human to show us that we were all right. He became like us only in the fact that he shares our flesh, our temptation, our hunger, and our thirst. But he is not like us because he did not sin. Often, I see Jesus as human and think - "oh he understands." Well, he does understand how bad I really am and that's why he came to face the cross. The point of Jesus as a baby is not that He has become like us, but that He died so that we could become like him. He was a baby, and I was a baby..but the comparisons end there. Just a few things to think about as the Christmas season kicks into full gear.


Gary said...

I wanted to let you know that Sunday's sermon was the finest Christmas sermon I have ever heard...and I've preached and heard a few. I really appreciate the fact that you research from the original languages and preach from the heart. Be encouraged my friend...and keep pressing on towards the goal.

Gary Hinegardner

Johnmark said...

I knew it wouldn't get posted. Too uncomfortable for you. Keep Jesus in that box.

Criticism helps dialogue and I am way outside your choir.

Mike Baker said...

Johnmark...actually I didn't post your last comment because it was rambling and didn't make a point. Obviously, you have some judgments about the American Christian community that bother you. So do I. In fact, i have some judgments against myself. I'll stand on the grace of God and continue to preach the Bible...every Sunday...every word. Praying for you.