This sermon is part of the sermon series "No Wonder They Crucified Him". See series.
Of all the people admired in the world today, Jesus of Nazareth continually ranks at the top of the list. Even those who don't call themselves Christians regard Jesus as one of the wisest teachers and most loving leaders the world has ever known. He is still making the covers of magazines and being talked about in coffee shops with a popularity like no other person who has walked this earth.
So why did his contemporaries killhim? What was it about what he said or did that was so provoking and upsetting that religious and secular leaders alike wanted to see him dead? What was it about Jesus that could make the crowds that once followed him finally turn upon him—demanding his blood and cheering his pain? If Jesus was simply the gentle genius some portray him to be, how could this have happened?
There's only one explanation, I think: Jesus was much more than meek and mild. He was more than a poetic philosopher. Jesus was the Light of Heaven hitting a darkened earth like a meteor blast. He made claims and commands that left people undone. He named realities that others sought to bury. He broke barriers and battered bastions no one else had the nerve to assault. He called for the utter dismantling of the way things were and the new creation of something so much better. Jesus was not politically correct. He was not religiously pious. He was not socially tame. Jesus was a dangerous man because he was and is the God who is dangerously good.
What I want to keep asking during this Lenten Series is: Do you and I know this Jesus, and how does it show? Or has Jesus become so domesticated in our concept of him that he no longer really disturbs us, no longer really disrupts us, no longer—in a sense—really disciples ...
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