I toyed with the idea of entitling this Jesus Didn’t Work A Desk Job, but I changed my mind because desk jobs are hard too – just differently. I was attempting to evoke an image of action.
I realized that the best way to do that was to imagine Him in my world – for, indeed, that is where He was.
So, Jesus was no punk.
And, if we are to try to emulate His life – what would a man who worked with his hands, who did not shy away from confrontation, who cared about the people whom society had cast away and shunned, who did what was right even when it was hard – do in these trying times?
I’m confident that Jesus would not shy away from difficult topics.
I’m confident that Jesus would call people out for their hypocrisy, inaction, and lack of faith.
I’m 100% certain that Jesus would not sit quietly so that He wouldn’t make church folks uncomfortable.
He was the king of uncomfortable.
He told the rich man to give up all he had. He told the religious leaders to cast the first stone. He invited the tax collector to dinner. He flipped the merchant tables over in the synagogue. He told his followers that it wasn’t enough not to commit adultery – they had to stop lusting. It wasn’t enough to not physically kill people – they had to remove hate from their hearts.
This is the wrong time for the church to be silent on racial injustice and inequality in the world. If we claim to want to be like Christ, then we need to confront evil and wrongdoing the way Christ would. I don’t remember reading any stories of Jesus treading lightly with people’s feelings when they were in the wrong. That did not make Him unkind – it made Him honest. When He offered living water to the woman at the well, He started by telling her all about her life’s transgressions.
We, the church, need to look at the harsh, unadorned, unredacted, horrible truth of systemic racism in our society and how it has caused so many of the social ills that plague our nation from wealth and education gaps to medical mistreatment and unequal enforcement of the law. The truth is ugly. The truth is hard. Jesus did not expect that he had to diminish or soften His message to avoid offending anyone. Jesus was never one to shy away from the truth. The truth is, what will set us free.
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” Psalm 89:14
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others,” Luke 11:42