Jesus Wants to Fight You

jesus-clears-the-templeJesus wants to fight you. And me. He definitely wants to fight me.

How do I know that? Well, because he was a fighter and we’re all pretty much jerks.

It surprises me too, that Jesus would want to pick a fight with me. That doesn’t happen every day to most of us, I am guessing. I can only remember once that someone tried to get me in a fight. I was in high school, driving around with my buddy Paul Robinson, in my grandmother’s 1964, sea-foam green, Plymouth Valiant, when we noticed a car starting to follow us. It was weird at first, but soon became rather unsettling, so we did what any high school kid would do: we tried to outrun them. Like in the movies, but much lamer because we were in my grandmother’s 1964, sea-foam green, Plymouth Valiant. They had a much faster car and we couldn’t shake them, so I decided to pull a trick I had seen in Star Wars I think. You know, the thing were you get going really fast then slam on the brakes and your pursuant flies right past you? Wait, that was Top Gun.

Regardless, it didn’t go well, and we barely escaped getting rear-ended. But we did succeed in almost getting our teeth punched in. So win-win. The point is, I probably deserved to get my face punched in. I was an idiot.

And you are too, so I think Jesus wants to fight you. I say this because of what I read in Mark, chapter two. This chapter is full of Jesus’ duking it out with the religious zealots of his day (like most of us are today). They think they’re awesome and good people (like we do today) and Jesus just starts picking fights, because he wants to show them a thing or two or three about themselves.

First, some dudes bring a friend who is lame to Jesus and instead of just healing the guy, he decides he’ll throw a punch. Not literally, of course, but instead of helping the guy walk he says, “You’re sins are forgiven.” A little off-topic, unless you want to get into with a bunch of punks who want to question you’re authority. Here’s what they’re thinking : “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone!” To which Jesus replies, “You need to know who is in charge here, son” (loose translation). Ever push back against something Jesus has told you to do? Ever question his authority in your life? Ever?

Next, he decides to go eat dinner with your ex-whatever and a bunch of terrorists, i.e., people you hate, people you judge, people you wish would curl up and die. Big swing; a haymaker. In his day, those kinds of people are what they called sinners and tax-collectors: scum, traitors, the dregs of humanity. He ate with them and probably posted on Instagram so you’d be sure to see it, because he wants to fight with us about it. To drag our unforgiving, judgmental hearts out into the open. In plain sight, Jesus sat down, like friend and family, with the people we hate the most, because he wants to expose us for who we really are. We don’t get exposed like that when we are sipping coffee and journaling. That happens when you get punched in the mouth, when you see Jesus loving your enemy.

Finally, third swing. He wants us to know he thinks you and me our churches are shallow and dumb. Well, it may be. It depends. He told the Pharisees he couldn’t care less about their Sabbath traditions, because they cared more about the day you worship on than someone actually being healed and made whole. They got mad when he tried to heal a guy with a shriveled hand. I am indignant and I think, how could they, but then I realize I get more upset about the guy behind me singing out of tune or the bad coffee or boring sermon than I do about the sick and hurting people I meet every day. Go ahead Jesus, swing away, I deserve it.

The bottom line is this: Jesus loves you, so much so that he really wants to fight you. He really does. He needs to get in there and get our attention, mix it up a bit, throw a punch: a loving punch, but a punch. And I think he really loved the Pharisees and that’s why he picked so many fights with them. He wanted to expose their hypocrisy, their hidden hang ups and prejudices, just like he does ours. So be encouraged: Jesus is really looking forward to fighting you.

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