This Sunday we will begin a new series of messages at Genesis titled Mythbusters. My guess is that this series will be a bit controversial and stir the pot a little. On the Mythbusters TV show, the hosts Adam Savadge and Jamie Hyneman and the rest of their gang examine myths to determine if they will hold up under the scrutiny of testing and experimentation. It’s a cool show, if you haven’t seen it.
As Christmas approaches, one thing is sure. People have all kinds of ideas about Jesus. Pretty much everybody is choosing Jesus for their side, recasting him in roles that fit all kinds of agendas. We have a feminist Jesus that is pretty much all about women’s rights. Hippie Jesus is a politician who is against the war. Preppie conservative Jesus is Rush Limbaugh with a beard. At the same time, there have been several attacks on the nature of Jesus, as he is presented in the Bible, from groups hoping to discount the Bible and leave Jesus as nothing more than a good mortal man. For the past two decades, a group of liberal theologians calling themselves The Jesus Seminar have been meeting to determine which sayings and actions Jesus is said to speak or perform are genuine. They sit around and debate, then use marbles to vote. According to this group, Jesus did not say about 70% of the things the Gospel writers attribute to him. Furthermore, many scholars are promoting other ancient “Gospels”, such as the Gospel of Thomas and The Gospel of Judas. I could go on here, but I want to get to the point of this blog.
Is it important that we get Jesus right? Or, can each of us rest on our own experience and ideas of Jesus, having differing opinions, yet coming together for a common good. This is not a new question. Throughout the history of the church, there have always been people who wanted to present alternative ideas about the character and nature of Jesus. At each turn, the church has stood together for what is now the orthodox view of Jesus as presented in the Gospels. I would argue that at the heart of our church, or any church is its Christology. What we believe (or don’t believe) about Jesus will determine everything. Our mission, theology, and view of truth will flow from our beliefs about Jesus.
Christmas seems to be a time that especially lends itself to weird or false views of Jesus, like the “eight pound baby Jesus.” We choose this series because we wanted to take the season to challenge people’s views, and get them thinking about the most important topic on the planet, yet with a different twist. We realize this is not a “Christmas series”, yet, when we talk about Jesus, his birth will be a part of the story, of course. And we know that the topics we choose to challenge are controversial, and maybe a bit uncomfortable. This was intentional, because we do want to challenge status quo stereotypes, with the hope that people will get beyond their preconceived ideas to find the real Jesus, the great Lord of glory foretold in the Old Testaments, and shown in the Gospels. Five weeks is short, so we can’t cover everything. Someday in the near future, we will do take a lengthier trip through one of the Gospels. But for now, this series, hopefully, will lead people to examine their Christology and ask if it lines up with the Jesus of the Bible. And, if people will roll up their sleeves and take a closer look at Jesus, the real Jesus, by reading the Gospel accounts, then the series will be a hit.