"When Christianity conquered Rome, Rome avenged herself by imperializing Christianity. One half of the orthodox theology is due to the imperial and legal ideas of Pagan Rome, and would have been repelled by Jesus with abhorrence." (From The Early life of Jesus, Stopford A. Brooke.) The Jesus you have heard preached, the Jesus you've seen pictured, is NOT the Jesus of your Bible. let's take an honest, candid in-depth look at —
DID YOU ever hear a child say, "I want to be just like Jesus was when I grow up"? Why is it that the name Jesus conjures up so embarrassing a picture of sweet tenderness in your mind? Why is it that He is not a hero that young people look to and want to grow up to be like? And I do mean children — not those young adults now hooked on the recent fad of imitating what they THINK Jesus was like!
In today's supposedly Christian world, with our whole calendar year saturated with stories about Jesus, why is it that more people don't want to be like Jesus? Children and adults alike look forward to the celebration of Christmas when the "little Lord Jesus" is sung about and lauded with hymns of praise and poems of love and tenderness. Everyone looks forward to trading gifts on His supposed birthday, and becomes enveloped in what they call the "spirit of Christmas."
No sooner does the new year dawn than we run into the equally great season of Easter. Here the meek and lowly Lamb of God is worshipped and we are all presented with the picture of a dead Christ on a cross! We are reminded at this time of year that that Christ rose from the dead — we know this truth because on Easter morning all good "Christians" have sunrise services where they observe that great life-giving orb coming over the eastern horizon as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus.
Yet even at this time of year, nobody seems to be envious of this Jesus — nobody seems to want to live the way He lived. There are still no voices claiming that they would like to be just like Jesus.
What kind of a man do you see when you hear the name "Jesus" spoken? What type of a person do you think about when you hear the name "Jesus"? When you pray in Jesus' name, what sort of a Jesus comes to your mind?
Sunday School Jesus Remember the Sunday school picture of Jesus? Perhaps only last week you were being told about "dear Jesus." Do you remember when you were a child how many times you were told that you must "love the little Lord Jesus"? Ask yourself this honest question: Did or does that Sunday school picture of Jesus inspire in your mind affection and love, inspiration and worship? Can you look to that Sunday school Jesus in admiration and respect? Does that Jesus inspire strength and manliness? Is there, when you think of this Jesus, a hope somewhere down deep inside you that some day you may be able to be just like Him?
Or is there somewhere deep inside you a small feeling of revulsion, or a pitiful sympathy for a man pictured the way Jesus has been pictured to you. Have you thought in your own mind that perhaps He was portrayed as being a bit of a sissy — but you didn't dare say anything about it for fear of being called a blasphemer? Haven't you thought in your own mind from time to time that the Jesus in the pulpit picture is just a little bit effeminate, yet almost didn't want to admit it to yourself because your conscience hurt you when you thought that?
Have you never questioned in your mind the fact that the Jesus pictured to you since your youth was not quite as much of a man — an outgoing personality of friendly nature who had fun — as you would like to have Him be? Are you sure in your own mind that the Jesus pictured to you by your Sunday school instructor could drive a nail as a carpenter?
How many times have you had questions in your mind about this meek and mild Jesus, the pale-faced, sad young man who never laughed? Have you never had the slightest bit of queasy feeling about this greatest hero of all Christian literature who is yet pictured as a delicate and effeminate person? Perhaps sanctimoniously portrayed kneeling in long purple robes with hair flowing down His back, a pious look on His face, His hands folded on a rock in front of Him? Hasn't He been pictured in your mind as too much of a do-gooder to have honest fun?
Perhaps you were in the same predicament as the little girl who went to Sunday school and was asked by her instructor, "Who is the Lamb of God?" and her innocent answer was, "Oh, that's Mary's little lamb, isn't it?"
Blasphemy? Is it blasphemy to ask questions like this? Is it blasphemy to be honest with ourselves about the man who claimed to be the very Son of God? Or can we boldly face the truth and either eradicate these wrong ideas and questions from our minds or be convinced that the real Christ is a different Christ from the one we've heard about in Sunday school?
Listen, it's time to clear the cobwebs of Christian sanctimoniousness — to get away from the superstitious idea of a "little Lord Jesus." It is time to clear away the nauseating nonsense written with pious pen through the centuries of ignorance and get down to the PLAIN TRUTH about the nature and actions, words, thoughts and deeds of the most important person in all history! There need be no embarrassment about the TRUE Jesus! The Father in heaven will not account you a blasphemer if you honestly question the picture MEN have put before you about His Son!
There has been more written about the life and works, actions and deeds of Jesus Christ than any other man through all history. Books have been written about the person of Christ. Many books have just been titled Jesus with an attempt made at an explanation of His life. Others would talk about the fact that "Jesus lived here." Books have been written on what Jesus read, a biography of His life, what His education was like. The "Historic Jesus" is the theme of many books. Whole series and volumes of books have been written on the "Life and Times of Jesus." Studies about His life, His teachings, His birth, His infancy, His manhood — and yet in all these volumes the PLAIN TRUTH OF YOUR BIBLE HAS BEEN COMPLETELY IGNORED!
Self-righteous, bigoted, sanctimonious scribes have written their ideas. They've scoured the mythology, the legend, the ignorance and the superstition of past dark ages. Great "Christian" writers down through the centuries have endeavored to give us a picture of Jesus Christ. That picture has not been a true, open, plain explanation of the scriptures of your Bible, but a description of the particular Jesus that appealed to the particular writer!
God's Plain Warning God plainly warns us in the Scripture that men would come in His name — using the name of Jesus Christ, claiming the authority of God, quoting His very Bible — and yet USE IT TO DECEIVE! (Matthew 24:4-5.)
Paul warned the Corinthians about this, specifically regarding the person of Jesus Christ. He said, "But I am afraid that us the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if some one comes and preaches ANOTHER JESUS than the one we preached... you submit to it readily enough" (II Cor. 11:3-4, Revised Standard Version).
Jesus Christ warned that false teachers would come in His name, DECEIVING MANY. Plain scripture statements are diametrically opposite to the pictures of Jesus that we have been taught! There are extant in the world today deliberate contradictions to the command of God not to have graven idols and images, pictures and likenesses of the Creator. (Read our FREE article "Is It Wrong to Have Pictures of Christ?")
Perhaps the one most perverted, twisted and outright lying deception that has ever been perpetrated on mankind has been the false picture of the true Jesus! Satan is a very clever adversary. Everything he has set his hand to, he has perverted! He has succeeded perhaps beyond his own wildest imaginations in palming off on mankind the ridiculous situation of having the person whom they worship and adore — to whom they raise their voices in pleading prayers — pictured as a soft, womanly, effeminate, shaky, pale, delicate young man with no sense of humor! Satan has pictured to modern mankind not the Rock of our salvation, but a sorrowful, sad-eyed, petulant-mouthed, flabby, weak and lowly Jesus!
BUT YOU CAN THANK YOUR GOD IN HEAVEN THAT THIS PICTURE IS NOT TRUE!
The blasphemy does not lie on the heart of the individual who questions the Sunday school picture of Jesus. The blasphemy lies in the deceived attempt of those who have passed on so much sentimental twaddle about the Son of God. The blasphemy lies in the hands and hearts of those who have deliberately misconstrued PLAIN SCRIPTURE — those who have defied the principles of the living God and described a Jesus who is narrow, restricted, contrary to the revealed truth of the Word of God!
One Example of Error God says through His Word that it is a SHAME FOR A MAN TO WEAR LONG HAIR (I Cor. 11:14). And yet the Jesus of this world — the picture that comes to mind when you hear the word "Jesus" — is long haired!
Christ is the Captain of our salvation. He is the firstfruits that rose from the dead. He is now at the right hand of the Father in heaven, governing and ruling this universe! He has inherited God's Kingdom! He is a BORN SON OF God! Yet, your Bible very plainly says — and in the New Testament — "Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor EFFEMINATE... shall inherit the kingdom of God"! (I Cor. 6:9-10.) AND YET THE JESUS PICTURED BY THIS WORLD IS ONE OF THE MOST EFFEMINATE PERSONS PICTURED AMONG THE GREAT MEN OF ALL HISTORY!
What Is the Truth? Almighty God plainly tells us in His Word that any OTHER GOSPEL, any other description of His own Son, than the Gospel which He gave through Jesus Christ and which the early apostles taught, is under the penalty of a double heavenly curse! Read it with your own eyes in Galatians 1:8: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, LET HIM BE ACCURSED"! And the next verse doubles this curse!
IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP!
Don't take for granted the picture you have always seen of the Sunday school Jesus. You no longer need to be ashamed when the name of your Saviour is mentioned. You need have no qualms about the fact that He was every inch a man!
You must know the truth about Jesus — the only man who has the name "whereby we must be saved"! (Acts 4:12.)
You have probably read and are familiar with the many stories of the great men of the Bible. Perhaps at one t h e or another you would have liked to have been a Daniel or a Samson. Every young man can picture himself in the place of David as he strode out to the brook with a round rock in his sling, and with the strength of God felled the great giant Goliath!
Daniel in the lion's den brings to mind great strength, courage and manliness that is to be envied! Even Moses with his fierce countenance and his powerful rod as he struck the river Nile and it turned into blood, and as he waved it out over the great Red Sea, it parted, and there was a dry way made for the children of Israel to walk across, stirs the imagination and makes him a hero!
But the true Jesus, stripped of all of the pagan and false ideas about Him — the REAL MAN who was the Son of God — is the greatest of dl Bible heroes!
Read this brief excerpt of pagan propaganda that's being fed into the minds of our children about Jesus: "Gentle Jesus, meek and MILD, look upon a little child." "Christian children all must be MILD, obedient, good as He." As J. B. Phillips, the renowned author of The Gospels Translated Into Modern English, puts it in his book entitled Your God Is Too Small, "It is a thousand pities that the word child has so few words that rhyme with it appropriate for a hymn. We can hardly be surprised if children feel fairly soon that they have outgrown the tender Shepherd and find their heroes elsewhere."
Contrary to everything you have heard, the Jesus of your Bible was a well-educated, medium-built, ordinary looking Jew! He was good humored, talkative and friendly. He had MUSCLES! He was in excellent physical condition — and there is no doubt whatsoever that He had a good tan! He spoke with an unmistakable ring of authority in His voice, and He moved people to action. He was strong and yet sociable. With His education, He still remained humble, warm, easy to get along with, nice to know!
Yes, He was loving and kind and helpful. Yes, He did have tenderness and mercy, patience, long-suffering and forgiveness — but all these characteristics were REAL LIFE CHARACTERISTICS! He was no stranger to the passions of red-blooded humanity. His compassion was real, not the pious and sanctimonious twaddle of an ascetic monk, but the real vital, flowing feeling of a dynamic MAN!
It's time to erase from your mind the false concept of a false Christ! It's time to remove the Sunday school silliness of a namby-pamby Saviour of an unreal world!
There is a hymn which typifies this feeling among Christians with no backbone, which says "Hide me, 0 my Saviour, bide, till the storm of life be passed." And the Jesus that they conjure up in their minds is the same Kind of a Jesus as they are men! He is an unreal person hiding from the true realities of life!
He is a Jesus so gentle that He could not possibly perform the great miracles that the true Son of God did perform! This Jesus of the escapist from reality could not cast out the money changers and turn over their tables! This delicate Jesus with the petulant, pious look, could not possibly stand in the face of the religious leaders of that day and openly, publicly declare them to be hypocrites — to call them snakes and vipers to their faces!
No, Jesus was not called the "Lamb of God" for all His tenderness. He was called the "Lamb of God" because he had the strength, the courage, the endurance, the mental fortitude — yes, the outright GUTS — to stand in the face of death and not speak up in His own defense — to let His lifeblood flow out for you and for me, for our sins, to rid the world from the curse of sin, and yet realize that He did not deserve so much as one lash from the whip!
No, the tender, flabby-faced, pale, sad young man that's pictured as the Jesus of this world could not have ENDURED the pains of the cross! The individual pictured with the one unsightly drop of blood dripping down from his face while hanging on the cross — the Jesus of this world — would have FAINTED at the sight of blood! Certainly it cannot be claimed that this worldly picture of Jesus fulfills Isaiah's prophecy of the true Jesus at the time He gave His life for you. "They shall see my Servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know it was a person standing there"! (Isaiah 52:14, Living Psalms and Proverbs with The Major Prophets Paraphrased.)
The Startling Truth The truth of your Bible is more startling, more enlivening, more interesting than a thousand fables. The real, live, flesh-and-blood Jesus Christ properly described right out of the pages of your own Bible — the truth documented from the pages of history — will open your eyes to a truly "new" Christianity — the faith originally delivered to the saints — that you never knew existed while you still remained in the darkness of this world!
While the trembling Christian of this world sings the hymn, "Oh, to be nothing, nothing, only to lie at his feet a broken and empty vessel for the Master's use made meet," our hymn needs to be a lively paean to the real, active, living, MANLY Christ who can come and live His life in you — help YOU live an abundant, full, REAL LIFE and eventually LIVE FOREVER, A BORN SON OF GOD — JUST LIKE HE IS!