The Church today has been infiltrated by an imposter. It has been subverted by a 'Jesus' who is not the Son of God, but rather the obsequious servant of the west. With him we have allowed our hearts to possess an easier-to-swallow, pill-form gospel. Our true King Jesus and this false Christ are at odds.
Their differences are so sharp I can only assume we have manufactured an idol with a blueprint from hell.
Quasi-Jesus reassures our selfishness and confirms our comfort: "No, no, you need not walk a hard line" he says tolerantly. "I am here at your whim, to make your dreams come true, take away your financial struggles, and smile tolerantly at your on-going sin."
"My only requirement, nay, suggestion, is that you attend church on a Sunday. But I won't really hold you accountable."
"Just believe that's all that matters," he whispers.
"Believe in yourself, be true to yourself, be happy, be comfortable and well," he soothes reassuringly.
Quasi-Jesus spouts a gospel of self-fulfilment, material pleasures and good vibes. He promotes the western ideals of wealth, health and success.
But this false Christ is actually standing against us, seducing us away from the Father and into the arms of darkness. If we are not careful, we will only realise when it is too late.
A Quasi-Jesus for Quasi-Christians
The true Christian life is not a life for the faint-hearted. This, my friends, is where the Quasi-Jesus has entered from stage right.
Where Jesus the Messiah says, "I lay my life down, and give it up on a road marked with suffering, that I may find the joy of the Father and victory over the evil one", Quasi-Jesus offers a six figure salary.
Jesus the Messiah says, "I am calling you to follow in my stead, to pick up your cross and follow me. Abandon selfish earthly desires and ambitions; admit that you are neither righteous nor worthy to stand in the presence of God for even a moment, let alone eternity. Follow me down this road marked with suffering that you might find true joy in a new life, and be my light of salvation to the rest of the world." Where Quasi-Jesus says, "Why suffer when you can have it all? I don't really care about your sin, are you happy? That's all that matters".
Who is the real Jesus?
Spend some time in the Bible and you will begin to see a clear picture of the true King Jesus not the benign weakling invented to parrot western ideals. King Jesus is God.
The Jesus of the Bible lived a perfect life without sin: no evil, not a single moment of rebellion. He lived sinless so that he might die the death we were meant to die. Our wrongdoing, our sin, our guilt he paid the cost for these on the cross. When we cling to and trust in this Jesus we are set free from the shame of sin. Because of Jesus we can stand before this holy, pure and righteous God, and do so without offence. On top of this we are sons and daughters of the Father! A privilege afforded to no other created thing.
The real Jesus conquered death! After dying he was raised to life three days later by the incomparable power of God. All this so that we might find our new lives in him! Lives free from the power of sin and death!
Even Jesus' contemporaries 2000 years ago misunderstood him and formed their own 'Quasi-Jesus'. When Jesus walked this earth the Jewish people were under the oppression of Roman rule. The Old Testament prophecies pointing to Jesus had, for the most part, resulted in their expectation of Jesus being a King, a 'messiah' who would come onto the scene with military force and free them from their slavish existence. They expected Jesus to be a mighty warrior who would lead them in military uprising and eventual political freedom.
But God's plan was bigger and greater than a temporary fix here on earth. According to Jesus he came, not only to set us free from the power of sin, but to do it by way of suffering. Jesus lived a humble life and died an excruciating death to bring us new life. What a breathtaking and sobering sight: a suffering messiah.
If we have not given our lives completely to Jesus we will not be freed from the power of sin. We will not receive this new life and we will face the condemnation of a holy God. This new life is what distinguishes us, what sets us apart and prepares us for a life with God in heaven. Without the promise of new life we face an eternity of punishment.
The human heart is fickle and deceitful. It will worship anything we allow it to possess. If it is not consumed by Jesus, it will endeavour to either balance Jesus with something of this world, or it will boot Jesus right off of his throne.
The real Jesus speaks the opposite message of Quasi-Jesus. When we hope for a comfortable, wealthy, easy and happy life the real Jesus says we do so at our peril. Jesus tells his disciples they must deny themselves what they want and what they desire to follow him. We are to follow the example of the suffering King.
At this point, I'd want to be asking which Jesus I have given my life to, or whether I have given it at all.
Quasi-Jesus is no Jesus at all, he is the devil and his gospel of lies is no match for Jesus. We know the true gospel cannot die or even wane in power. The gospel is our sole route to the Father. It is freedom from sin and death and will not be closed off.
"And yet I will show you the most excellent way..."
When we surrender our desires, our preferences, our selfishness and our sin God promises to satisfy our hunger our search for meaning and life. The Bible says God is love. As Jesus says to the woman at the well (John chapter 4), he is the Living Water, and if we drink deeply of him, we will find true life. He is tender and patient towards us, waiting for the day when we turn our faces in earnest pursuit of him.
How hungry are any of us in the West for the real Jesus?
Benjamin James is 27 years old and madly in love with Jesus! He is a Youth Worker and also currently studying a Bachelor of Christian Studies at Melbourne School of Theology. He is passionate and opinionated and will take every opportunity to see positive change in the world.
Benjamin James' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/benjamin-james.html