Description

If I asked you to describe Jesus in three unconventional words, what would you say? I don’t want the usual, effortless descriptions or titles, like ‘Son of God’, or ‘kind’, ‘loving’, etc. Get creative. Really think about who Jesus was on earth.

To help, here are some that I came up with—and I want you to read through these slowly, actually consider them: brave, unflinching, stubborn, accepting, reasonable, loyal, friendly, and the list goes on and on. You could simply say that Jesus is indescribable, and you’d be right, but trying to describe Him serves two purposes; the first being that you actually have to consider Jesus’ personality to do so, which we rarely do, and the second serves to make you question just how much you really know about Him, and that’s always a good thing.

Now, I don’t know what three words you came up with, but I’m going to suggest one that I will assume didn’t make your list.

Affectionate.

Continue reading

Proposition for Salvation

I want to propose something to you that’s a little bizarre: let’s say that Jesus never came. It’s difficult to imagine this because, for Christians, we were raised with the knowledge that Jesus came, lived, and died so that we could be saved. But I want you to really and truly imagine that He never did. We never knew a Son of God that walked on this earth, there was no young virgin who somehow gave birth to a Son, and at no point in history did a righteous Man die on a cross for any grand purpose.

Jesus never came.

There is a deep sense of sadness, I think, that accompanies that statement, isn’t there? It feels so wrong to even say or think about. Our whole lives as Christians depend on Jesus’ life and death, but let’s continue pretending that we don’t get to depend on that.

If our salvation depended on the law and sacrifices, I shudder to think how many innocent animals would have to die in my lifetime to cover my sins. But more than that, the way I lived would be so different because I would have to struggle and strive to earn my salvation by pleasing God. Sadly, I can’t admit to thinking about that much in my day-to-day life. It’s not that I don’t want to please God, but it isn’t the focus of my thoughts, as it should be.

But let’s take it a step further and say that God no longer wanted sacrifices or obedience of the law. As it was towards the end of the Old Testament, maybe God has tired of our sacrifices and acts of half-hearted obedience and He wants something else now: He demands blood, but not that of an animal.

Continue reading

Easter Headline #2

One can only imagine what the news story about Jesus’ resurrection might look like today…

 


BODY OF JESUS “CHRIST” MISSING DAYS AFTER MURDER
April 16, 2017
Jerusalem

The body of murdered Evangelist Jesus, called “Christ”, was declared missing today, sending shock waves through an already upset religious community and sparking rumors about the disappearance. A private funeral had taken place Wednesday evening and the gravesite was found disturbed early Sunday morning. Investigators say that no foot or tire tracks lead to or from the site, leading to more questions than answers.

“This is the first time anything like this has happened,” said Joseph Aram, owner of the cemetery. “I heard about Jesus’ murder and am just sickened to see someone do this to a good man. He should have been allowed to rest in peace.”

According to some, Jesus’ disciples, a dedicated group of men and women, were likely to have stolen his body for their own purposes. But others have an even more bizarre reason for the disappearance: Jesus is no longer dead, but is miraculously alive again.

Pete Galilee, a well-known friend of Jesus, publicly stated today that not only had Jesus made claims that he would ‘rise from death’, but Pete had actually seen him again. “I swear to you, no one stole his body. Jesus is as alive as I am right now. He died, yes, but he is alive!”

Naturally, this announcement was met with plenty of backlash and disbelief. Tom Didymus, another follower of Jesus, expressed his own doubt on the subject: “I saw Jesus die with my own two eyes, and unless I see him again with those same eyes, I will not believe it. This is a cruel joke that is just prolonging an unbearably painful time for Jesus’ family and friends.”

A medical examiner with the Jerusalem police reacted online to the ‘resurrection’ claims with a tongue-in-cheek reply:
“Of course a dead man is living again! Why, I’ve had many people on my table suddenly sit up and ask what I’ve been doing to them. It doesn’t happen every day, but at least once a month. Everybody, keep an eye out for Jesus . He could be anywhere!”

While some joke, others are seriously questioning the possibility. And without a body to prove anything once and for all, the rumors of Jesus’ resurrection may continue to circulate.

What do you think? Could it be a miracle or is the disappearance of Jesus’ body a “cruel joke”?

Easter Headline

If Jesus were alive today, what might the report of His death look like?

 


POPULAR EVANGELIST JESUS “THE CHRIST” MURDERED
April 12, 2017
Jerusalem

Jesus “Christ”, a popular Evangelist who was well-known for his radical teachings about God and the way to Heaven, was murdered Wednesday afternoon. According to an anonymous witness, Jesus was taken Tuesday night by the private police force of a fanatic Religious group who claimed that the Evangelist’s teachings were dangerous and caused civil unrest.

Jesus was found guilty of treason and subsequently killed hours later.

“There was nothing we could do,” the witnesses stated. “They wanted him dead and there was nothing anyone could do.” The fanatic group’s hatred for the traveling preacher was not kept secret, but no one could have imagined this outcome.

After hearing the news, Nick O’Demus, a local Religious scholar, took to social media to express his shock:
“There are no words. Jesus was the nicest person I’d ever met. He was incredibly patient, kind, and never made anyone feel unworthy of his time. He will be truly missed and I pray that justice will be served in this situation. I am truly heartbroken.”

Friends and followers of Jesus also shared their thoughts:
— “(He) changed my life. He made me feel so loved. I can’t believe anyone would want to hurt him. I am sick with grief.”
— “I only met Jesus once but I knew immediately that he was unlike anyone I’d known before. He was a light in a very dark world. This is such a tragedy!”
— “I considered Jesus one of my closest friends, and knowing that I’ll never see him again is unbearable.”
— “He was only 33. Just too young! I can’t stop crying.”

The family requests privacy at this difficult time. A quiet funeral has already been held and an investigation is ongoing.

Denial

Let’s say you have a friend. I mean a really, really good friend. You’ve known them for years and you would say, without hesitation, that they’re your best friend. You can talk to them about anything and they listen with wholehearted interest because they love you right back. When they’re afraid, you comfort them and tell them that you’ll always be there for them. This person is wonderful and you’re honored to have them in your life.

Do you have someone in mind? Excellent. Keep them there.

Suddenly one night something happens. Something terrible. This dear friend is very roughly arrested for a crime they didn’t commit right in front of you, and though you try to help them, you’re unable to. So you go to the police station where your friend’s been taken. While there, you overhear rumors of them being questioned and interrogated without any legal representation. You even hear people there talking about your friend, that they’ve been beaten up by the officers.

This is all wrong. It shouldn’t be happening.

Then one of the people in the lobby turns to you. There’s a flicker of recognition in their eyes, and they ask, “Hey… aren’t you a friend of theirs? Yeah, yeah, I saw you with them just yesterday!”

Continue reading

In His Shoes

In the writing of ‘Discovering Jesus‘, I came to ask myself a question: If I was to ‘play’ Jesus for a day, how difficult would that be? To make myself think like Him, act like Him, do things that He would do… how quickly would I fail?

Let’s not even say a day, how about just an hour. Or maybe half an hour. If I did nothing more than spend time with family members, didn’t even leave the house, in how short an amount of time would I do or think something that Jesus wouldn’t have? I feel like it would be seconds. Because after a few seconds of not doing anything sinful, I might feel a little proud of myself for it. And boom, I’m done.

But let’s say I didn’t feel proud. I walk out of my bedroom and my Mom brushes past me on her way to another room and completely accidentally pushes me back a step. Immediately, I resent the action and feel anger towards her. And that’s it, I failed. The culprit? Selfishness.

Okay, maybe nothing happens in that first minute; nobody does something that bothers me and all is well. I sit with someone who’s browsing Facebook. I see someone on there News Feed who I know something about that isn’t common knowledge. So I tell the person I’m sitting with because, well, I want to see their reaction. They are surprised and want to hear more details. I give them. And I’ve failed a third time. The offense this time? Gossiping.

Continue reading

Discovering Jesus

In a blog post I wrote a few months back, I mentioned how much I enjoy reading/watching/listening to interviews with actors who played Jesus in various productions, because they always have a different way of seeing Him and approaching the ‘role’. Some are overwhelmed and a bit frightened by the thought of portraying Someone who was perfect, others spend a lot of time in prayer and silence while trying to come to some level of understanding of Him, while yet others focus on who Jesus was as a Man instead of trying to tackle who He was as God. Obviously no human being can fully do justice to Jesus in terms of portraying Him, but some actors have done a terrific job of ‘bringing Jesus to life’ and making Him real for modern audiences.

I, myself, have been incredibly blessed by many films and series about Jesus, many times being able to see stories in the New Testament in new ways because of the visual reenactments. And I’ve found that interviews with actors are just as eye-opening. Hearing the actor’s approach to researching and playing Jesus, and the impact after the fact, shows how awesome Jesus was—yes, and is today.

Think about for yourself, regardless of your gender (and interest in film making), if you were cast as Jesus, what would be the first thing you’d do? Would you pray and ask Jesus to guide you? Maybe you’d reach for your Bible and pour over the stories of His life like never before, searching for details that you’d missed before. Or perhaps you would get online and see what history had to say about the Carpenter from Galilee. You would probably do all three at some point, and many more. Because suddenly, when faced with the knowledge that when people see you as Him, they will inevitably see Him differently; for better or for worse.

And that is a huge responsibility that I know I would not take lightly.

Continue reading

Arrest

Let’s face it: The arrest of Jesus isn’t a story that makes us gasp with shock, recoil with horror, or sit open mouthed in awe, is it? I know that for me, personally, it certainly doesn’t—at least not when I read it in the Bible.

Listen, I’m incredibly grateful for the Bible. I feel like that goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyways. But here’s the thing: the stories are terribly lacking in emotion, to the point where it’s extremely rare for me to feel any emotion at all while reading. How sad is that? I read it because I feel like I have to, not because I want to. I’m not an avid reader so when I do read a book, I want to feel something. I want to be shocked, amazed, amused, and entertained. And the Bible provides very few of those emotions.

Don’t look at me like that, you know you feel the same.

It’s quite honestly a surprise when you read a chapter and actually feel an emotion, isn’t it? Of course we know that the Bible is a collection of handwritten historical accounts, letters, and so on. They were never meant to be novels. The stories and facts were written to document history, by people who probably never imagined that what they were writing would be read 2,000 years later no less, which means that almost all of the emotion within the stories is lost due to only the bare essentials being written.

So, to clarify again, I am unsatisfied with the way the Bible is written, not what’s written. You understand that, right? The stories inside are amazing! They are breathtaking and shocking and scandalous and awesome and even amusing. The Bible is full of incredible stories of real human beings who encountered real problems and faced unthinkable odds. But the awesomeness and the humanity is lost in the minimalist writing and the ‘spake’s and ‘shall’s and ‘doth’s. And, sadly, even the modernized versions aren’t a whole lot more interesting, are they?

Continue reading

In-depth Review: The Passion Live (part 1)

So here’s the question: Could a production about Jesus’ life and death be worth watching, inspiring, and eye-opening if it was set in modern times, contained modern songs that were not written for Christian purposes, were sung by the actors portraying Jesus, Pilate, the disciples, and others, and didn’t actually show the crucifixion?

To my own surprise, that answer is a resounding yes.

See, I would’ve never thought that a live musical production about Jesus in the modern world would impact me, but it certainly did. The scenes involving Jencarlos Canela’s ‘Jesus’ are the most powerful renditions of His story that I’ve ever seen—yes, that’s counting the many correct-time-period versions that are out there. That may sound a little over dramatic, and, sure, I have a habit of doing that. I also have a habit of loving something upon first watch and being intensely in love with it for a while, and then, sometime later, that feeling goes away and I see the thing I liked so much as being just plain good, not awesome. But The Passion doesn’t fall under that category.

Upon first watching it, I was more amused and, at times, uneasy about what I was seeing and hearing. But my curiosity got the best of me and I watched it again. And then again. And then many more times. Because after the second re-watch, I realized just how special it was. Once I became comfortable with the modern setting and music, I started to see things about Jesus that I hadn’t before—and it wasn’t because of the modern setting or music.

In this post (and the subsequent ones), I hope to properly detail all of beautiful things that I’ve discovered.

Continue reading

Ultimate Restraint

If there’s one thing that Christians seem to not like doing, it’s asking questions. And specifically, we don’t like asking, ‘What was Jesus feeling?’ and even more so, ‘What was God feeling?’ I don’t think I’ve ever in my life heard a sermon preached about Jesus’ humanity in regards to His thoughts and feelings, and I can’t recall anyone ever trying to put themselves in God’s shoes, so to speak. Maybe it’s because we don’t feel like we have the right, like how dare a sinner try to understand God’s mind, but there are so many critical things that we as Christians miss because we overlook the, for lack of a better word, humanity of God and Jesus.

Continue reading