It’s a strange thing, isn’t it, that we can do even greater things than Jesus? I wonder if this might have something to do with being “Jesus 2007.”
It’s not that we’re better than Jesus, it’s just that he is more spread out now. When he visited us he came to one plot of land, lived, taught, died, and then rose from the dead, all in that one small geographical location. But being the wise and generous friend and brother that he is, he didn’t abandon us when he left; he only abandoned us physically, so that his spirit could actually live inside of us, so that there is not now just one spirit of Jesus living and walking and talking in one body in the land of Israel, but millions of Jesuses (Jesus-i? Jesus-en?) walking and talking in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Romania, Germany, Iceland, the United States, Bolivia, Uruguay, South Africa, Sudan, Chad, Eritrea, China, the Philippines, and hundreds of other countries.
Is Jesus going to look the same in Bolivia as he does in the Sudan, or the same in Turkey as he does in the United States? Did Jesus look the same in Southern Europe in the year 50AD as he looked in Israel in the year 28AD? Already, just a short while after Jesus died and sent his spirit to all the believers, we see them teaching the message differently than Jesus, in a way that the people could understand. If Paul yelled at the Southern Europeans for not obeying God’s Torah, they would have had no clue what he was talking about. So he spoke in terms that they could understand. He became “Jesus 50” to them by reading the popular poets of the day.
So I’m wondering what it would look like to be “Jesus 2007” here in our American culture. Paul’s “Jesus 50” in Southern Europe looked like this:
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.
Will that work for us in America? Are temples a big part of our culture? What is a big part of our culture? How about movies? Maybe “Jesus 2007” in America would start off something like this:
The God who made the world and everything in it is the best movie producer there is, and he’s writing and directing a story about a woman who falls in love with the wrong kind of man, all the while another man is pursuing her and letting her know that he would do anything for her, even die for her.
Whereas Paul said this:
As some of your own poets have said, `We are his offspring.’ Therefore, since we are his offspring…
We might say something like this:
J.R.R Tolkein and Peter Jackson wrote and produced a story about Sam and Frodo leaving the shire and embarking on an exciting, dangerous quest, involving tragedy and triumph, ferocious battles and tender love. The divine Storywriter has been writing and producing a similar story but on a much larger scale, and actually we have a role in it. It all started in a beautiful garden…
There are many ways to be “Jesus 2007.”