The Other Jesus


…but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
—Luke 13:3b

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
—John 15:9

Who is the other Jesus? He’s the one we’re not worshiping.

Consider the two verses above. To some, they appear to reflect two different Jesuses: the Drill Sergeant Jesus and the Flower Child Jesus. The first Jesus will return to slay His enemies with the sword that comes out of His mouth. The Other JesusThe second Jesus encounters a bruised reed and will not break it, a smoldering wick and will not quench it.

We find the follower of the Drill Sergeant Jesus out on the street corner with a bullhorn, preaching hellfire and damnation. Such a follower is the hardcore evangelist depicted in the classic joke that ends with the punchline, “So, what’s the bad news?”

We find the follower of the Flower Child Jesus in a small group, hugging people and weeping, wondering aloud if it ever gets better than this. Because right now, right here, with these beautiful people, it’s heaven.

But no half-Jesus exists. Honestly, the Drill Sergeant Jesus follower and the Flower Child Jesus follower exist as caricatures of real Christians. Let’s get real, though; in many cases, American Christian theology and practice fall readily into one of those two camps.

You can explain nearly every deviant view of Christ in the American Church by how great a percentage we practice one idea of Jesus over the other. Unfortunately, if we’re not looking at the whole truth of who Jesus is, we’re missing the real Christ.

And it’s not just Jesus who suffers from our schizophrenic approach. We make God the Father out to be the Vengeful God of Law and Wrath vs. the Gentle God Who Desires We Call Him “Abba.” The Holy Spirit suffers even more. He’s the Giver of Gifts Like Administration or He’s the Giver of Gifts Like Tongues. Over there He’s the Inspirer of Scriptures set against the Inspirer of Contemporary Prophecy. And in that corner He’s…

All these divisions commit violence against the character of the Triune God, yet we witness these extremes daily within the modern American Church. We talk a great deal about worshiping the Lord in Spirit and in Truth, but it seems to me that these attempts at fracturing Him into whatever modality best serves us, rather than Him, mangles all attempts at truthful worshiping.

Remember, He is the Alpha AND Omega—and every letter in-between.

{Image: Top—Artist unknown. Bottom—Rembrandt, Christ Driving the Money Changers From the Temple, 1626}