Many claim Many claim to know a few things about Jesus Christ. But one thing is certain. If your perception of Jesus is based on any information other than the Bible, you probably don’t really know Jesus. In the last presidential race, certain politicians were waving Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount like a peace flag. But a simple blushing of the text finds Jesus stating that all men who have lusted in their hearts are adulterers (Matt. 5:28). Later, He says there will be many in the great Day of Judgment who did all kinds of things in the name of Christ, but because their deeds were not coupled with saving faith, Jesus will say, “Depart from me I never knew you” (7:22). Many people are surprised to find Jesus warns of the reality of hell more than any other person in the Bible. In Matthew 23, Jesus delivers a blistering diatribe against the false religion of His day. This is certainly not the Jesus of the politicians or of the many slap-happy preachers out there. Isaiah appropriately called Christ, “man of sorrows” (53:3).
There’s a little vignette in the life of Christ that I thoroughly enjoy re-reading. It opens a window into the real Jesus. In Mk. 2:1-12, we find Jesus in the little house of Peter the fisherman. This is the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. He hasn’t been around long enough for anyone to hate Him. But He has stirred the curiosity of the religious leaders and they are beginning to investigate.
A careful reading of this text reveals the following scene in the little, lake-side village of Capernaum. Jesus is seated in Peter’s house. The sick and infirmed are mashing through the narrow door to be healed. Other commoners are rubbernecking to get a glimpse of these extraordinary miracles. But, interestingly, we find the religious leaders (Pharisees) comfortably seated within the house—no doubt enjoying front row seats. They are there to determine whether Jesus is true or false.
For most people this would be very intimidating. The Pharisees were respected and feared. They were the police, judges and lawyers of the land. One word by them to the Sanhedrin (Israel’s ‘Supreme Court’) and they’d lock you up and throw away the key. While Rome did not grant them the right to carry out capital punishment, we find, especially