We’re kicking off our series on Jesus with Jennifer’s video about the person of Jesus. Was Jesus a people pleaser? Was He passive? Or did He surprise people by stepping out and going against the crowd? This week we will enter into this topic and reflect upon our own actions in comparison to Jesus. 

Hello, and welcome to Beyond the Pew. This week we’re going to start our series on Jesus. Each of us are going to take turns talking about misconceptions about who Jesus is. We will really be able to discover who He is, why He matters, why we should care about Him, and what His plan is for our life.

What I want to talk to you today is the notion that most of us have: that Jesus was a “nice guy.” We have this idea about Jesus because we see these nice pictures that were on our grandmother’s mantles of the long flowing hair. Jesus with very feminine features, looking up at the sky with a dove and a light shining down. We think Jesus was soft, that He was gentle, that He was nice to everybody…

[tweetthis]Was Jesus just a nice guy? With flowing hair, standing next to a dove with a ray of sunshine on Him? #tableflipper[/tweetthis]

That’s just not reality. That’s not the Jesus that truly existed. I want to challenge everyone today to think about Jesus as someone who rocked the boat. Someone who challenged that status quo. Someone who had courage and someone who was daring enough to do the right thing even though it ruffled more than a few feathers.

It can be disconcerting when we hear verses such as, “I have come not to bring peace, but the sword.” Or, “I have come not to bring peace but division.” When we hear these verses, some of us think, “Man, that must have been a mistake” or “I don’t understand what this is saying” and “Jesus comes to bring peace and love, kindness and gentleness, wasn’t He nice to everybody?” But Jesus saying He’s coming to bring division and a sword and not peace, that doesn’t really sit well with most of our ideas about who Jesus is.

Jesus came to challenge our idea of peace

What we have to realize is that yes, Jesus does tell us in John that He does bring peace, but He brings a peace that the world cannot give. He brings a different kind of peace than the one that we’re used to hearing about. When we think of peace, most of us think of not rocking the boat. We think of just going along and not wanting to offend anybody. Not wanting to hurt anybody.

But look at Jesus! He knocked over tables in the temple. He was angry. Righteously angry. He was angry not because He had a bad temper or because He hated anybody, but He saw what was truly wrong in the world and was justly angry and so He had a just response to something that was truly blasphemous.

I’ll paint the story for you. Jesus comes into the temple and this temple is a place where sacrifices are offered to God. The temple was a place for atoning of sins. Sacrifices would be offered, people would be praising God day and night. They didn’t have Confession back then, so this is the way that people would be asking God for forgiveness and atone for Israel’s sin. Well, Jesus comes in and He sees this marketplace buying and selling.  No longer is this temple a place of sacrifice, a place of prayer and God’s presence. Now it’s a place of liars, cheaters and thieves. People trying to take advantage of others. And Jesus gets righteously angry to where His rational response is to flip a table and to show how very wrong this action is.

Jesus asks us to step out in courage

So, Jesus is being bold and courageous and He’s rocking the boat. He made a lot of people very angry and He flips tables around, and there’s even some pictures of Jesus whipping people out of the temple and releasing the animals. This response is not Jesus being an advocate for violence! He’s definitely not an advocate for violence, but what He is saying is that we need to know how to step out in courage and to speak out against what is wrong in the world.

I want to challenge you to think about where you might fall in your responses. Are you someone that is more likely to stay with the status quo, doesn’t want to offend anyone, or doesn’t want to rock the boat? Or are you somebody who has a temper or has a need to exert your authority? Or are you like Jesus, when you see something happening that is wrong, where you get righteously angry within reason (which is what Jesus did), step out in faith, step out in that courage and that boldness and do what’s right.

[tweetthis]When you see something wrong, do you step out to speak truth? Or are you afraid to step out in faith? #wwjd #faith[/tweetthis]

Jesus is not saying that peace is wrong or bad or anything, absolutely not. But the peace that He is telling us that He wants to give us is the peace that comes with knowing that we are doing the right thing. That is real peace. That’s the peace that the world cannot give. That’s what Jesus wants us to have and that’s what He wants to bring the world, to all of our lives.

I challenge you this week, in your families and relationships, to be aware. Am I getting overly angry? Am I trying to unnecessarily trying to exert authority? Am I being too passive when I see something wrong? Ask God to help you. Ask Jesus to help you be more like Him to be bold and be zealous and courageous for the right things. Jesus will definitely come and help you and teach you how to be like Him. That is real peace.

See you next week!

[tweetthis]Jesus wants to offer each one of us peace that the world cannot give. #parenting #peace #catholic[/tweetthis]