There is a version of Jesus with which everyone is comfortable.
For some people, they are most comfortable with the version of Jesus where he is simply a loving and caring person. Others enjoy picturing Jesus as a teacher who had some wise things to say. And some people prefer to view Jesus as someone who could do incredible miracles such as walking on water and healing those who were sick.
However, we must be careful that we don’t sanitize the gospel accounts to make Jesus fit our preferred version of him. When we take the full picture of who Jesus is into view, there should always be something that makes us feel uncomfortable.
Jesus isn’t just loving; he also has righteous anger. Jesus wasn’t just a moral teacher; he is also the son of God. Jesus wasn’t just a miracle worker; he is also the great physician who transforms hearts and removes all sin. Jesus is all these things and more. And when you truly encounter him, he will inevitably disrupt your life.
We get a glimpse of this in Luke chapter 5. At the beginning of the chapter, we see that Jesus is teaching a large crowd. People are physically drawing closer and closer to him as he continues his profound and wonderful teaching. Eventually he must climb into one of the boats or risk getting pushed into the Sea of Galilee because the crowd is getting too close!
When Jesus finished teaching, he did something that no one was expecting. In verse 4, Jesus tells Peter to put out his nets and catch some fish. Up until this point, Peter was probably happy to listen to Jesus’ teaching. He probably felt honoured that Jesus would choose HIS boat to speak from. He had a front row seat to the greatest speaker in town!
But now Jesus had gone too far. Now Jesus was interfering with his job and his livelihood. Peter is the fishing expert. He fished in the Sea of Galilee his whole life, as did his father, and his grand father. In verse 5 Peter tells him that they worked all night and caught nothing. He is clearly tired and frustrated from a fruitless night of hard labour. And now this itinerant preacher is going to tell him what to do?
Peter probably thought that Jesus should stick to teaching about the Mosaic Law and other “spiritual things”. But at the end of verse 5, we see that he had just enough faith to do what Jesus commanded. Of course, Jesus knew exactly what he was doing, and Peter caught more fish in one moment than he could have ever dreamed possible. And rather than continuing his (now lucrative) career as a fisherman, Peter gives it all up and follows Jesus.
When Peter encountered Jesus, his life was irrevocably disrupted. And in some way, we need to have the same experience. There can be no area of our lives that we hide from Christ. If you are a follower of Christ, he is going to disrupt how you run your business. He is going to disrupt how you act as a student. He is going to disrupt how you function as a parent. There can be no sacred and secular divide.
So may we never seek a safe and comfortable version of Jesus. May we long for Jesus and his gospel to disrupt our lives so we might become more like him.