In our MadeNew Bible study on Sunday mornings we've been working our way through the Gospel of Mark. The Jesus of Mark's Gospel is sort of a rage lunatic life wrecker type and I think that's why I keep going back. No one gets what they want from this Jesus, but everyone gets what they need. People love to focus on Jesus' infuriation of the religiously powerful, but this isn't the half of it. It isn't just the Pharisees that are caught in his deer hunter target sights. It's everybody.
Nobody gets away from Jesus and gets to stay the same. Some people get worse. Some people get better. It kinda depends on the person. Ok, it totally depends on the person. And when I think about my life I have been both. I've been the kind of person where the Gospel made me hard, made me defensive, made me stand my ground so as to not be exposed, weak, vulnerable. (Who wants to be that?) And I've had moments (though they've been rare) where the Gospel has made me soft, pliable, healable, a soft mushy sponge where through tears and tribulation the revelation of unearned love and forgiveness could finally have its way with me. I really want to be the second me. Except when I don't.
Jesus is kinda like my youngest son, Cole. Cole is two. He's built like a linebacker and is unequivocally fearless about the world. He thinks he owns everything he comes in contact with, particularly if the prior own was one of his older brothers. Cole's view of the world is that we are all in this together and what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine until I don't want it anymore. Colie is kind of a communist by political persuasion. He reads a lot of Karl Marx in his free time.
But most importantly Cole breaks things.
My oldest son Evan (7) is a lot like me. He's a perfectionist. He likes to finish projects. He likes to achieve new heights. He likes you to admire him for his remarkable brilliance. His happiness is derived from pointing at things and saying, "I did that." What's not to love about that?
Evan particularly likes to build LEGOs, crowning among them, LEGO Movie Spaceship that took him about 6 hours to complete. It (for some time) was his greatest achievement. The older boys had gotten in the habit of letting Cole fiddle around in their LEGO area. They made the mistake of letting the little Hulk in to where stuff mattered to them. And they paid the price.
Evan was about eight feet away when Cole, standing on top of the counter, took the Spaceship and dropped it to the floor shattering it into something near 10 billion pieces. Evan screamed as if he'd been stabbed. And I suppose figuratively he had. Cole is no longer allowed to touch the LEGOs. This doesn't gel well with his communist sensibilities of communal ownership. He is considering establishing Marshall Law.
In Mark Chapter 2, Jesus does a similar thing. Some people invite him into their play area. He gets invited to a party. Some religious people let Him speak in their synagogue. At the party Jesus tells the Mob Boss host, Levi, and all of his consigliere guests that they are all in need of a savior and that savior is Him. Lousy guests. To the religious people, He says their rules have gotten worn out and their missing the biggest party in town. "They'll be time for rules later, but for now, I'm the life of the party, you should enjoy Me while I'm around." I imagine they weren't amused.
Jesus breaks things. He says, don't use me to fix your old problems, don't drop me into your old melodramas. Don't pretend that you can gloss over your old stories with pretty platitudes from me, because I'm gonna break things. Don't turn me into your father figure, your superman, your savior of the week. If you want me, EVERY category you know is going to have to get rewritten, one a time. I'm going to tear through all your old stories, your old definitions of who you are and what's wrong with the world. I'm going to put the biggest ass mirrors imaginiable in front of you, forcing you to redefine reality over and over and over again until the rule of God is manifest in you. Until you become the life of the party just like I am. I'm gonna break things.
Oh, this is not the Jesus that fits in to sermons very well. How will we ever write three alliterated application points about this man? I suspect we won't. We'll steal self-help topics from Oprah and attribute them to Jesus the way conservative attribute their every thought retroactively to Ronald Reagan. "We are the Party of Jesus," we say, and as long as it comes from us, it comes from Him. If only we considered what it means to invite Jesus to our party. He's going to call the host names. He's going to draw the wrong crowd. We are going to wonder about the sanity of our efforts.
Jesus, you owe us an apology! You are a lousy party guest. You called my guests sinners! You broke stuff!
"Sorry, I broke stuff. Sorry I was not useful to patch over the old problems, but in fact rent them in half like a old temple curtain so you could be made new. Sorry I overturned the tables in your temples of self-importance. Sorry I loved you enough to break you. Sorry you got spilled out the floor. Sorry I made a way where the only way to the heights is through the depths, the only way to the resurrection is through the cross. Sorry I upside-downed the world so that the conventional wisdom that is destroying you could finally be itself destroyed."
"I'm sorry the best news of your life starts with the bad news that things cannot stay the same. The Gospel won't fit on a bumper sticker. Sorry that the life of love you couldn't believe possible of is at your finger tips, it'll just cost you something just short of everything along the way. Sorry to find your life you'll have to lose it. The only consolation is I will do it first. I won't ask you to go anywhere I didn't go first. I am the Way."
I think Jesus is the original "Sorry/NotSorry." It may be the only hashtag He knows.
"Sorry, I broke stuff." #SorryNotSorry. - @Jesus