I was asked this just yesterday by someone and it was a question I'd thought about myself several times and no doubt,
many of you have as well. What would Jesus do if he came in the midst of us today? Many of us have seen the "I took your place"
email where Jesus visits a church but those are his only words. What could we expect?
A professor of mine once told me what one of his had said on this subject. If Jesus had come to our city where would
he go? The answer was quick. He would be down in the worst part of the town during happy hour. The more I think about that
answer, the more I agree with it.
Everything Jesus did in his time really broke all of the rules. In fact, many times, it seems he's "breaking rules" just
to irritate the Pharisees and Sadducees. One can think of the Matthew 15 passage where Jesus is asked why his disciples don't
wash hands. Now if this is such a strong tradition, why did the disciples not do it? Chances are Jesus could have told them
Consider also the well-known John 4 talk with the Samaritan woman. Jesus broke all of the social boundaries in this one.
First off, he walked through Samaria while most Jews took a detour around it. Secondly, he talked to a Samaritan. Thirdly,
the Samaritan he talked to was a woman. Jewish rabbis were not to associate with women.
One can take both of these further. When Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan there was a whole lot of spitting
going on. Why? Because in those days every good Jew spat on the ground when he heard the word "Samaritan." The one who asked
who his neighbor was doesn't even use the word when asked who his neighbor is but says "The one who showed mercy."
Then consider the relationship Jesus had with women like Mary Magdalene. In the Gospel of John movie, Mary is actually
seen in several scenes traveling with Jesus and his disciples. That Jesus would be willing to teach women anything, such as
at the home of Mary and Martha, was shocking. Women were not fit to be taught in those days. In fact, the common Jewish prayer
of the day for a man was "Lord, I thank you that I am not a Gentile, that I am not a slave, and that I am not a woman."
Let's not forget Gentiles definitely! Jesus frequently helped Gentiles like the Canaanite woman with the daughter who
had a demon. When Jesus is brought to the palace of Pilate the Jews refuse to go inside so that they won't be unclean. Jesus
has no problem being inside or talking to Pilate. True, being under arrest was some coercion but it is clear the whole time
that Jesus is in charge.
Now you throw in his claims to deity. This makes it even harder. Those who thought they were faithfully serving God condemned
him when he showed up in their midst. They knew their high and holy God would not associate with the sinners like Jesus did,
but yet here he was.
Picture it. YHWH comes down to Earth and you see him at the homes of prostitutes and tax collectors. Matthew's gospel
presents it as a party. YHWH being one who likes to party? Yet this is how it is. Jesus was the righteous one but he was not
stuck-up by it. He was the holy one but he was not the boring one. The Pharisees were both stuck-up and bores.
So what if he came today? I picture the local malls. I can see Jesus going in and talking to the kids most of us reject.
You know the types. The ones that have so many piercings you hope they don't go by strong magnets. The ones that have more
of their body covered by tattoos than uncovered. The ones that wear pants that break all laws of gravity by somehow staying
up. The ones that wear enough black to make agents from the Matrix look like angels.
I remember working at the arcade at the mall and years later still going through as I still will do every now and then
and thinking about how my Lord would live. Would Jesus shock so many today by doing the things so many condemn? (I must admit
I have wondered about playing a video game in competition against Jesus sometime. Considering he's omniscient he might have
an unfair advantage.)
Would Jesus walk into the movies most people don't care to see and afterwards be out in the hall telling people a parable
based on what was shown. Would Jesus be at the bookstores looking at the fantasy and sci-fi and other such sections and pointing
to the wonder of God?
And what of Jesus going into our churches? How much of us would be shocked by what he did and said? Would he come in
the nicest suits possible or would he wear rags? If he preached, would we call his sermon heresy? Would his views of God be
Yet this would be God among us. How quickly we fail to recognize the truth at times. The Jews had a very detailed idea
in many ways of what God was like. Unfortunately, when he came down, God did not meet their requirements of holiness. However,
he met the requirement and did it on our behalf.
So today, watch what you say and do and think of how Jesus might respond. His actions might leave you shocked as