Jesus wasn’t very religious

“Where is he now?” they asked.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
Then they took the man who had been blind to the Pharisees, because it was on the Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud and healed him. The Pharisees asked the man all about it. So he told them, “He put the mud over my eyes, and when I washed it away, I could see!”
Some of the Pharisees said, “This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.” Others said, “But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?” So there was a deep division of opinion among them. (John 19:12-16

Read: Psalm 47-49, 84-85, 87

Relate: The first time I saw this spoken word video, I thought it was pretty cool. By the five thousand four hundred thirty-eighth time it popped up in my facebook it wasn’t all that cool anymore. In fact, it was getting downright annoying. Even still, there is a bit of truth in this (though I would say “religiosity” rather than “religion”) so in case you have not yet seen it, here you go…

(I do apologize for those of you who have just been annoyed for the five thousand four hundred thirty-ninth time)

React: Jesus wasn’t very religious. Am I? Am I one of those Pharisees insisting that what Jesus has just done could not possibly be “of God”? Am I so caught up in the maintenance of propriety that when God moves in a manner that I consider “undignified” I don’t even recognize His hand at work? Now, I do understand that true religion is to care for the marginalized (ie widows and orphans) in their distress and to keep from being polluted by the world. In that sense, Jesus was the most religious person ever. However, the way Jefferson Bethke uses the word and how it is commonly understood is something to which Jesus definitely, and sometimes violently stood opposed. Am I? Are not our cliche’ phrases like “I don’t have religion, I have a relationship” simply another version of religion? Has our anti-religiousness simply a new way to be dignified? Have we just written a new script in the “religious” formula?

Respond: God, break through our formulas and the religious walls we put up to replace the religious walls erected by the generations before us. Help us to recognize Your move even when it comes in a way that upsets our sensibilities. Whether is it from mud in the eyes or from working on the Sabbath, You broke down paradigms. You upset the apple carts. Never let us, never let me fall so deeply in love with my way of doing things that I fail to recognize when You begin to do something different. Far more than my dignity, I just want You. 


10 thoughts on “Jesus wasn’t very religious

  1. Since I don’t do facebook I appreciate the posting of the first video, and say he strikes the same cord as I, the young man has a point. I do not, no longer, attend church myself but know there are some great people who do attend. I found myself attending what I believe as Christ’s church, as a student, a baby in training one might say, I love Jesus and as my Father would say Love is nearer to ones own heart.

  2. I had not seen either video, so thanks for them. Your “react” thoughts after the poetry were better than the poem. The parody was funny, I’m pretty sure they taped that at my church.

  3. I have not yet seen the video…but I really appreciate your thought here. You encourage some great and necessary questions for us as believers…

  4. A very helpful reflection. I would contend, based on the evidence of Scripture and the movement of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was both religiously relational and relationally religious. He did not separate the two. Neither should we.

  5. I hadn’t seen either of these specific videos before, but I have seen videos pretty much identical in message and method. The problem is they are so often treated strictly as forms of entertainment. In my personal experience, after a video like the first, people think deeply about the message for possibly 10 minutes or so, and then its all right back to the way it was before. The second type of video also gets about 10 minutes of people’s attention, but only as a discussion about how funny it was, and the fact that the producers of the piece were trying to make a deadly serious point is very often missed altogether. I’m in total agreement with the message of the first piece, and have been since I declared myself non-denominational, and gave up all church affiliation over 20 years ago, but I don’t watch videos like that anymore simply because I feel bad for the young men and women who are making these pieces sincerely believing that their message will be granted the hearing it truly deserves. Again, I can only comment according to my own experience of the last 30 years or so, but I just don’t see any mainstream church body giving a message of that nature, the consideration and honest contemplation that it deserves.

  6. [ Smiles ] I don’t think that Jesus was religious either.

    However, he was a very spiritual person!

  7. Thank you for this, it really gets me thinking. In the end I think that is the point that Jesus wants from us. To be Christian we must constantly question what we stand for. We must every day come to Jesus and ask ourselves “Am ?”

  8. Let us break every stereotype and every other “thing” that may come between our Saviour and us. True religion is what Christs says it is and that is to know God! Whatever else comes after should stem from and enhance that relationship we make directly with Him, never without.

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s