This is the debate I am most tired of having. Was Christ a “pantywaist” as Ann Coulter put it? Or was he a doomsday pro-claimer. It seems to me that the Church today thinks that there are two sides to Jesus, and they are both fighting over who He was. If you keep up with my blog, I think you have a pretty good idea of who I think Jesus was, and to me, the Scripture is quite clear. But I’m not out to start an argument, but a discussion. Who do you really think Christ was? What were His biggest concerns? What did He spend the most time and effort on during His three year ministry?
I don’t like Ann Coulter. It’s an opinion and has no base in biblical foundations. And I don’t like her most for the way I feel she perverts the Bible for her own selfish ends. This is where I got this ‘pantywaist’ comment. She stated accurately that people within the Christian faith view Jesus in two different ways. Some view Him as a loving and nurturing man who cared about the poor, and advocated non-violence. This is the Jesus that many see as weak. But instead of putting emphasis on those loving acts, some focus on His aggressive ones. When Jesus got angry, He let people know. He took on the money changers, and the Pharisees, and everyone who was misrepresenting and corrupting God’s house, God’s name, and God’s Word. He talked with authority and preached with conviction. Some see His reactions toward the people in the church (temple/tabernacles) and His disciples and think Jesus was an in-your-face kind of guy. The favorite answer to a contesting view of Christ by these folks is: “Yeah, Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love, but…” There’s always a but. I hate the buts. Why can’t Jesus be that loving man who insists on perfection and grace. The man who fed, and healed, and defended. Why can’t it be that simple?
In our culture, we don’t put a very high value on sacrifice or on self-effacement. We blame those who don’t have money, and respect those who have accomplished a lot. So when others look at Jesus and see a man who was homeless, and forgiving, and sacrificial- we see weakness. Christ’s ideas of walking two miles with a soldier, and suspending punishment because none of us are perfect- is a fault. When He tells us to work on ourselves and our flaws before others’, many believe that Jesus didn’t mean not to point out other’s flaws. Letting it go or being gracious and trying to be the best example we can, is a passive approach. In fact, many believe that to not point out the flaws and sins of others is to not be ministering to them like Jesus.
So which was it? Was Jesus loving by pointing out sins and warning about Hell, or was He loving by forgiving and defending the lost? I mean Jesus can’t do both can He? The only way I can understand this fully is by remembering who Jesus was talking to. Was Jesus reaming out the lost or was he reaming out the people who were supposed to be the believers in the Word? In my opinion, Jesus convicted the lost with His grace and unconditional love and reamed out those who He knew should know better- the people who believed in the Bible.
To me, Jesus was God, and that’s what gave him the right to judge and forgive sins. When others tried to do that, Jesus stepped up and dared the blameless to throw the first stone. Jesus being fully God and fully man was like the full tree of life. Perfect balance and full range. From the un-seeable, in-comprehendable keter, to the down to earth malkuth. He, as God, can balance hesed (mercy) and gevurah (judgement). We can’t do that.
To me, Jesus was neither Jekyll nor Hyde, and we’ve all got it a little bit wrong. Who do you think Jesus was?