THE JESUS I DIDN’T KNOW: THE GUY WITH A BIG MOUTH

How well do you know Jesus? We all like to think we know Jesus pretty well. I’ve had close to fifty years of wonderful, sweet communion with Jesus. I’ve devoted over forty years of my life to studying and teaching His Word. I’m talking about going back to the original languages and learning as much as I can about Jewish culture, institutions, and beliefs. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Know-It-All. And you can ask my kids: I’m not inerrant or infallible. But still, knowing what I know, I’d like to think I know Jesus pretty good. To my pleasant surprise, however, I don’t know Jesus as good as I think I do. To this day, He still shows me more about Himself. Here, let me give you some snippets of the Jesus I never knew.

THE TROUBLE MAKER WITH A BIG MOUTH

Hi guys. My name is John. I’m the writer of the Gospel According to John. If you think you have Jesus all figured out, let me be the one to tell you, you’re all wet. I know. I was once like you. I had my own ideas of what Jesus was like, or what He should have been like.  Then Jesus comes along and shatters the fancy notion I had of Him. Here’s a good example.

As I was writing the Gospel I remembered the time when Jesus caused a big ruckus in the Temple. You may remember my previous blog on The Mad Man In The Temple. Anyways, when Jesus came to Jerusalem the first time (after He started His ministry) He cleared out the Temple and got the priests hopping mad. Well, several months later, Jesus came back a second time and, wouldn’t you know it, He got the religious cops hopping mad again!

He’d gone to the Pool of Bethesda and healed a man whose legs had been crippled for 38 years (John 5). He told the guy to get up, carry his bed, and walk. The guy did as he was told and, to everyone’s amazement, the guy’s legs were instantaneously healed! You should have seen the guy tearing through the Temple, yelling and screaming to high Heaven.

Well, this all happened on a Sabbath. And when the cops saw this fellow carrying his bed they pulled him over for questioning. Don’t you know it’s against the law to be carrying your bed on the Sabbath?, they asked. Sorry, sirs, the guy replied. He was so happy to be healed and walking again that he’d forgotten it was Sabbath. The Guy who healed me told me to carry my bed, he remembered and said. Who told you to carry your bed?, they asked. Well, the guy didn’t know Jesus from Adam. So he rightly couldn’t give them a name. So the cops gave him a warning and let him go. Course, the guy had to leave his bed right there on the spot and come back after Sabbath to pick it up.

Shortly after this, Jesus came to the Temple and found the guy that had been healed. After exchanging names and pleasantries, Jesus told the guy to Go and sin no more, lest something worse happens to you.

I’m not exactly sure what was running through that guy’s fool head. Maybe he wanted to score some brownie points with the cops. Anyways, he ran down to the station and ratted on the Lord. It was Jesus who healed me and told me to carry my bed!, he says. He even told them where Jesus was! What a rat!

Well, the cops caught up with Jesus and the Master was in big trouble. Not only did He break the Sabbath by healing the crippled guy, but He also encouraged the fellow to break the Sabbath too by telling him to carry his bed.

Now if it was up to me, I’d have kept my mouth shut and go along my merry way. But Jesus did something that made me pop my mouth in sheer disbelief. He talked to the cops (John 5:17-30)! And talked. And kept on talking. The Guy had a big mouth. And the more He talked, the more trouble He got Himself into. He told them that God was His Father. His Father worked on the Sabbath, so that’s why He worked too. Then He told them that God gave Him the power to raise the dead and judge all men. In other words, Jesus was telling them He was God! The cops were so incensed by His talk that they tried to kill Him!

Now you’d think that Jesus would high tail it out of there and save Himself before He got Himself killed. Well, He didn’t. He just stood there calm as a lark and talked some more! This time, He really got to meddling (John 5:31-47). He told them that they didn’t believe God. Or Moses. Or the Scriptures! The Guy had nerve! He clearly wasn’t afraid to call a spade a spade. As you can imagine, the cops were so humiliated in front of the people right there in the Temple. They were so hopping mad that they tried to get their hands on Jesus. But Jesus beat it out of there and got on the next train to Galilee.

This wasn’t the only time Jesus sparred with the powers. If you read the 8th chapter of my Gospel you’ll see that Jesus got into another verbal scuffling match with the powers. He told them they were damned (John 8:21,24); they weren’t Abraham’s children (John 8:39); their father was the devil (John 8:44); then He repeated His claim to be God (John 8:58). The priests were so intoxicated with anger that they tried to stone Jesus right there in the Temple (John 8:59)!

I mean to tell you, when you pushed Jesus’ button He really got going. He even called these cops names! He called them hypocrites (Matthew 16:3); a wicked and adulterous generation (Matthew 16:4); blind fools (Matthew 23:17,19); blind guides (Matthew 15:14, 23:24); serpents (Matthew 23:33); vipers (Matthew12:34, 23:33); children of murderers (Matthew 23:31). They weren’t saved (Matthew 23:13). They were proselytizers of hell (Matthew 23:15).

Now you know me as the apostle of love. I’m all for being peaceable. Humble. Loving. Kind. Considerate. Respectful. Conciliatory. Friendly. Not a trouble maker. Or a sower of discord and strife.  Not being offensive. Provocative. Critical. Judgmental. Antagonistic. Alienating. This was the Jesus I thought I was following.

But if you’d been with us for those 3½ years  you’d have seen a Jesus who was divisive. Confrontational. A trouble maker. The cops saw Him as a blasphemer (John 10:33, Matthew 26:65). Arrogant. Presumptuous. A Samaritan (John 8:48). A deceiver (Matthew 27:63, John 7:12). A devil (Matthew 10:25, Luke 11:15). Like I told you earlier, Jesus got the cops so mad at Him that, when their conversations were over, they wanted to, no, strike that, they tried to, kill Him. He definitely knew how to bring the hate and murder out of them!

No, Jesus wasn’t like this all the time. He was different with everyone else. He loved people, He reached out to them, and helped them. That’s why He was so popular in Israel and that’s what kept Him from getting crucified or killed before His time.

But when it came to the self-righteous religious folks, Jesus was definitely different. He wasn’t easy with them. And He didn’t go easy on them. He pulled out all the stops, loaded both barrels, fired away, and kept on firing, until the poor priests and Pharisees couldn’t take it any longer and tried to lynch Him on the spot.

Listen, Jesus is going to speak the truth no matter what. He isn’t going to sugar coat the truth. He’s not going to mislead you and make you think you’re alright if you’re not. If you’re wrong, He’ll tell you to your face. He’s out to help you. Save you. Change you. And He can’t do that by hiding the truth from you. He may be hard on you at times, but it’s because He loves you and it’s for your own good. He’s trying to keep you out of hell.

But, like these priests and Pharisees, if you show yourself an inveterate critic and enemy, if you insist on fighting Jesus all the way; He’ll fight you back. Let me tell you right now, that’s one fight you’re never ever going to win. He isn’t going to hold back any punches. He’ll knock the living daylights out of you. You’re going down! And there ain’t no mistaking that.

Don’t let the fact that Jesus is Love fool you into thinking He won’t damn you. He’s the Judge. And if you insist on going to hell, not even Jesus’ Love is going to stop you from going there. Think about it. Jesus has a big mouth and His mouth can send you to hell. This was the Jesus I didn’t know. But now I know. And the sooner you know it the better off you’ll be.

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