The Wake-Up Herald
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. Romans 13:11-14
Robert McCurry, Editor & Publisher
December 20, 2011
Part Four: The Controversial Jesus
by Robert McCurry
In a few days December 25th will be here. The streets are jammed with cars and the shopping malls and stores are jammed with people making final preparations for the long awaited day. Everywhere we see holly, mistletoe, and trees decorated with tinsel and bright lights. We see the images of rotund men with white beards and red suits. There are sounds of bells and songs about reindeer and sleighs.
There are also the ‘Christmas’ carols and manger scenes of a ‘little baby Jesus’ with shepherds and wise men. After all, so we are told—even by many pastors—this is the festive season commemorating the birth of Jesus. Every year we hear the same thing. “Jesus is the reason for the season”; “We need to ‘put Christ back in Christmas”; “Christmas is too commercial.” Of course, those who are knowledgeable know that Christ was not born on December 25th and that the observance of ‘Christmas’ did not originate with the birth of Christ or with Christianity.
The commercial world has successfully blended this ‘little baby Jesus’ into their world of fantasy and make-believe—just a once-a-year object, exploited for selfish gain—that will be forgotten and discarded as quickly as the wrapping on the packages on ‘Christmas’ morning. The world has no problem giving a token homage to a historical ‘baby Jesus’ in a manger as long as it will make the cash registers ring. But be assured that it reacts in hostility, as did Herod two thousand years ago, to a Jesus Christ as God on His sovereign throne.
Today’s Popular ‘Jesus’ and the True Lord Jesus Christ
The little ‘baby Jesus’ of the ‘Christmas’ season is the same popular ‘Jesus’ we hear about all year long. This popular ‘Jesus’ has worked extremely well in the commercial world. So now we have Jesus buttons, T-shirts, lapel pins, bumper stickers, and a multitude of other neat little gadgets that make the cash registers ring all year long.
Today’s modern ‘Jesus’ has also become very popular with politicians, entertainment personalities, rock and roll singers, and sports figures.
This modern, popular ‘Jesus’ is acceptable to the masses and can be easily worked into any system or program regardless of how biblically unsound it may be. He is a magical formula that gives credence and respectability to anything and everything. Todays popular ‘Jesus’ thrives in a spirit of religious romanticism, sentimentality, and ecumenicalism.
As one reads the Bible, it is evident that today’s popular ‘Jesus’ and the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible are not the same. The Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible was and continues to be the most controversial person of history.
The prophets of old prophesied that the Lord Jesus would be controversial and that He would be rejected of men (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53). How controversial was Jesus?
- His birth produced controversy and hatred (Matt 2:8, 13, 16).
- His ministry so angered the people in His home town of Nazareth that they sought to kill Him (Luke 4:18-30).
- He preached a sermon that called for unconditional discipleship and commitment to Christ that offended and caused 5000 men to forsake Him saying, “This is a hard saying, who can hear it?” (John 6:60).
- He caused division among the people (John 7:43).
- His ministry caused division in the synagogue (John 9).
- He cleansed the temple by taking a whip and driving out those who had defiled the temple with their sin (Matt 21:12; John 2:14-16).
- He called King Herod a fox (Luke 13:32).
- He was accused of being in league with Satan (Mark 3:22).
- He was accused of being demon possessed (John 7:20; 8:48).
- He was accused of blasphemy (Matt 9:3).
- He was hated (John 15:18, 24, 25).
- He was misunderstood, unpopular, and rejected by the majority (John 6:66).
- The religionists sought to stone Him and eventually crucified Him (Mark 12:1-12; John 8:59; 10:31).
Why the Lord Jesus Christ is Controversial
First, the Lord Jesus is controversial because of who He is. The Lord Jesus Christ is not one of two, three, several or many gods. Jesus Christ is God! Jesus Christ is Lord! Jesus Christ is King! Jesus Christ is Sovereign! It was ‘King Jesus’ that Herod sought to destroy. It was when Christ said “I AM” —which declared He was God—that the people would have stoned Him (John 8:58, 59).
Second, the Lord Jesus Christ is controversial because of what He is. He is the light of the world. But sinful men love darkness because their deeds are evil. Therefore, they hate the Light (John 8:12; 3:19, 20). He is the way, the truth, and the life and no man can come to the Father but by Christ (John 14:6). This makes Christianity restricted and exclusive.
Third, the Lord Jesus Christ is controversial because of the message He preached. His message was repentance. He began His ministry by preaching repentance. And ‘repent’ was the Lord’s last message to five out of seven churches in Asia (Matt 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 13-3-5; Rev 2 and 3). He commands everyone to repent and believe the Gospel or perish (Mark 1:15; Luke 1:5). The Lord Jesus Christ was also a preacher of judgment. He pronounced judgment on His own generation (Matt 12:41, 42); the Pharisees (Matt 23); Jerusalem (Matt 24); and Capernaum (Matt 4:16; 11:23.24).
It has been two thousand years since the Lord Jesus Christ lived on this earth, but times and people have not changed. Because the Lord Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever, the controversy concerning Him continues to rage to this very day. It is evident that today’s popular little baby in a manger ‘Christmas Jesus’ and the biblical Lord Jesus Christ are not one and the same. The Apostle Paul warned that there would be a day when another preacher would come preaching another Jesus; there would be another spirit and another gospel (II Corinthians 11:3, 4). We have arrived.
Let us praise God for the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth of Christ! There is no biblical Gospel or Christianity apart from this cardinal biblical truth! And let us also rejoice that the biblical Lord Jesus Christ is not a seasonal ‘little baby Christmas Jesus in a manger’; He is Emmanuel—Jehovah—God with us! Jesus Christ is God! He lives today, not as a little baby in a manger, but as the sovereign, omnipotent, supreme Jehovah God on His eternal Majestic Throne! Let the redeemed of the Lord celebrate and herald this truth 365 days of the year!
Wake-up, Pastors! Wake-up, Christians!
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The Wake-Up Herald is published by Robert McCurry. The publication is designed to exalt the true God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ, and inform, inspire, and challenge its readers regarding biblical truth and real-life issues. The contents are the sole responsibility of Robert McCurry and do not represent or speak for or on behalf of any other person or group. There is no subscription charge. The publication is a ministry of faith dependent on the contributions of its readers. Contributions are not tax-deductible. Send all correspondence to: Robert McCurry,605 Moore Rd, Newnan, GA 30263 or firstname.lastname@example.org Remove? Send reply with “remove” in Subject line.