Overcoming the World to Meet the Real Jesus

Every Wednesday morning at 9:00am, a little group of prayer warriors meets in the corner room behind the sanctuary at Vine Street Christian Church and talks about the concerns of the day, the worries on our hearts, and how to better live The Way of Jesus. To help us with The Way of Jesus thing, we have been reading through a little book by Henri Nouwen called “The Selfless Way of Christ.” As we read and talk our way through the book, page by page, we have come to realize how radically different Jesus was than the world around him. Today it’s much the same. We exalt and celebrate Jesus as our “Lord” and the “Savior of the World.” And in so doing, we make him into someone the world will respect and admire. We need a spectacular Jesus to attract more people to him and our churches. So it is shocking to think of him as a poor carpenter from a back water town who never asked, nor desired, to be powerful, relevant or spectacular … although he was offered all 3 of those things in the wilderness before he started his public ministry. But Jesus chose a different way. Not the way of the world, where powerful, relevant and spectacular would all be deeply desired. Jesus chose the selfless way. He chose the way of the powerless, the irrelevant, and the mundane. Of course, we don’t think about that much today because we are all caught up in the way of the world. Even when it comes to Jesus. We have gone so far as to create our own Jesus … one who IS powerful, and relevant, and spectacular! Now that’s a Jesus we can relate to … and admire … and honor … and worship … and maybe even, on a good day … follow! I mean frankly – who is going to follow a poor carpenter from a back water town who never exalted himself or desired to be spectacular? Obviously, not many! Most “Christians” today follow that other Jesus – the one they have created in the image of the world. That Jesus is powerful! He is most definitely relevant! And he is super-spectacular! All the while, there is (and always has been) a small band of Jesus followers who don’t need a label, or a denomination, or even a church for that matter, who are spreading the love of Jesus all around our neighborhoods, our communities, and our world … person by person, hug by hug, blanket by blanket … and yes … dirty foot washed by dirty foot washed. I’m often asked why this small group of love crazy Jesus followers not get with the program of the powerful, relevant and spectacular Jesus? And the simple reason is because they know that they are not of this world. You see, the followers of that worldly-created Jesus are deeply embedded in the ways of the world, they are invested in the world’s values and compelled by the world’s priorities. And they want their Lord and their Savior to be like they are. But the truth is … Jesus is not like that. Jesus did not come to lead us to greater standing in the world. Instead, he came to lead us to another kind of world … one not of this world … but a divine world he called the Kingdom of God. In that world … the divine rules … and the way of life and love are the opposite of the ways of the world. So, if you really want to follow Jesus, get on your knees. Confess and surrender your longing for the ways of the world and make a heart-commitment to follow Jesus. And then … wash someone’s dirty feet. And don’t tell anybody about it! And when you’re done, look around. You just might get a glimpse of the Kingdom of God that Jesus is leading you to. Overcoming the ways of the world to build the Kingdom of God, And call us whatever you want to, but …

We are – Followers of <>< The Way