They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
- John 6:42
Look at the ways the people attempted to minimize, deflate and defuse the claims Jesus made about himself. They wanted to pull him back into a comfortable paradigm.
This happens most effectively by leveraging partial truths to obscure the whole truth. This crowd did, indeed, know Joseph and Mary. They used the truth that Jesus was the son of two people that they knew to block out the parts that they didn’t want to hear and engage with.
There has been a constant drumbeat throughout history to make Jesus safer, tamer, less credible with less authority and easier to control by picking and choosing which (partial) truths we most like and are most comfortable with. But a funny thing happens to Christianity when you start to take Jesus less seriously.
When you pick and choose which of his teachings to pay attention to, you end up with a spirituality that flows from you, looks a lot like you and can’t really help you. Throughout history, people who have followed this course have found that, in the end, it leads to an off-ramp that takes you away from Christianity entirely. What good is Christianity without Christ?
Where in our culture do you see this trend of constructing a Christianity with a minimized, deflated, defused Jesus? Where do you see this drift in your own life?