Jesus never ever talked about starting a new religion called ‘Christianity’. That was what the mockers and persecutors called the people of the Way – those crazy fools who believed in Jesus of Nazareth as the ‘Christ’, the anointed Messiah. It was a derogatory and demeaning word – much like calling someone a ‘freak’ or a ‘weirdo’. Have you always thought that Christianity was just a religion, and being a ‘Christian’ is just one of your labels? Like that branded shirt you wear or the university certificate you earned? Have you ever wanted to give up this whole charade because you still felt that ‘Christianity’ or the church has done little to really flip your life around for good?
Let me tell you today that Jesus has been shrouded by ‘Christianity’ and its religious overtones or controversies. Jesus is the person you need to know. He is whispering your name. He didn’t come to create another religion to burden people. He came to save. He died for us while we were still doing our own thing, hurting others, hurting ourselves, hating a God we didn’t know.
So, what then did Jesus come to do if not to make people ‘Christians’ by name? He came to show us who God is. He didn’t come to assist us in ‘coping’ with our sins or troubles, he came to awaken us to courage found in the Father’s love. He is our revelation: God revealing Himself to us in the closest, most personal and profound way! Jesus spoke and lived the message of reconciliation to God by preaching repentance and the kingdom of God. Repentance is simply to turn away from everything that keeps us from turning to God – and yes, it means turning fully and whole-heartedly to Him. He came to call us sons and daughters of the New Kingdom.
How can the presence of Jesus dwell in us and emanate through us? It has to be first of all, our ultimate reality. His presence can only be our reality if we acknowledge Him and bask in it. How can that happen?
It can happen through time given to Him. By taking time to sit, to wait, to pray, to be still; to sing, to worship, to praise, to cry – we abide in Him. It’s not about ‘getting power’ and doing miracles or speaking prophecies. Far from that! Peter himself asked those who marveled at the healing of the lame beggar:
“Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if it was by our own power or godliness that has made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have glorified his servant Jesus.”(Acts 3)
Have you ever wanted the ‘Holy Spirit’ because of selfish reasons? Have we ever treated God as if he were a genie that we call upon to ‘perform’ and ‘work’ in our services? Should we not be the ones who are directed by His Spirit?
It’s not about getting power at all. It’s certainly not about our try-hard efforts. It’s about knowing Jesus more, and loving Him as His love changes us. What an amazing process that is. We will forget about being ambitious or impatient. We will do what matters to God and see what He is already doing!
J a n i e ll e