Jesus is Dangerous!
People who have not encountered Jesus often presume he is a wimpy, milquetoast Savior who is unable or unwilling to significantly make a difference in their lives. This is not the Savior I know. Jesus threw caution to the wind. He often willingly and fearlessly put himself in jeopardy. Jesus was the most intentional discipler who ever lived. In three short years, he introduced and implemented a gospel that revolutionized the world. Beginning with a motley group of twelve men, the gospel of Jesus Christ has exploded exponentially into becoming the world’s largest religion. How did Jesus do it? His beliefs were unshakable and he was unequivocally committed to completing his mission on earth. He was the world’s most dangerous man!
Jesus was dangerous because he was not afraid to say and do what he believed, regardless of the potential outcome. For instance, in the Gospel of John, the Pharisees accused Jesus of being demon-possessed. The discussion ended when Jesus fearlessly stated in John 8:58, “before Abraham was born, I am!” When Jesus said those words, it incited the Pharisees to try and stone him. Why did these particular words inflame the Pharisees to this extent? From the time they were children, Jews were trained in their nation’s history, and this history was deeply intertwined with their faith. They knew that God advised Moses to tell the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you” (Exod 3:14). By saying “before Abraham was born, I am,” Jesus was unmistakably equating himself with God. To the Pharisees, this was pure blasphemy! Of course Jesus knew they felt this way, but he was willing to risk his life by plainly speaking the truth!
Jesus lived so boldly that he ended up breaking sacred traditions. Luke records a time when Jesus entered a synagogue on the Sabbath and saw a man with a shriveled hand. Luke 6:7–11 says:
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.
Jesus was well aware of the trap that the Pharisees and teachers of the law were trying to set for him, but he ignored their concerns and fearlessly healed the man. To Jesus, people were more important than traditions.
These examples unmistakably demonstrate the courageous life that Jesus led. He was so passionate about his purpose and so intentionally engrossed in making disciples that he often incited people to defensiveness or anger, but he was never tempted to dilute his message. He was convicted of his message, he was brutally honest, and he did not cave to political pressures or personal preferences. Everything Jesus did was related to making disciples—from teaching to performing miracles. He lived audaciously, and he did not allow anyone to get in the way of his mission.
It is time to ask ourselves some tough questions. Are we, like Jesus, living audacious lives? Perhaps we faithfully attend worship services, are involved in several church ministries, and even read our Bibles every day. These are all commendable actions, but they do not make disciples. We may feel spiritually close to Jesus, but keep the joy of the cross to ourselves. If this is the case, something needs to change. Jesus did not come to enforce rituals, customs, or ancient sacrifices. He said, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Matt 9:13). Jesus is calling us to live dangerously by sharing our joy with unbelievers and lead them to him.
Let’s be dangerous like Jesus!
–Excerpted from my book, Living Dangerously.