The Jesus We Thought We Knew

From the Cradle to the Grave

John 12:21

Sir, we would see Jesus. KJV 

This message was preached November 30, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at

Each person here today has a view of Jesus. But our views are not all the same. I have been thinking about this and I have come to the conclusion that we all kind of think Jesus is somewhat like our selves.

We think that Jesus would agree with our moral decisions and if He were here He would side with our political views. But since we all have divergent views then obviously you are all wrong.

But Jesus is not a moldable character to be changed into whoever we would want Him to be. He is who He is and nothing we can do will change that. Each of us needs to abandon our own views of Jesus and look again at who this Jesus really was.

The Christmas series this year is "The Jesus We Thought We Knew." I hope to work through four Sundays getting to really know Jesus in all His complexness. He is not as one man said a Mr. Rogers type person or He would have never been put on a cross. Who would crucify such a nice guy as Mr. Rogers. The only group that had no problem with Jesus was the marginalized. Those people who were down and out, the outcast of the day, they "received Him gladly" (Luke 19:6 KJV).

Even today there are various groups of people who see Jesus as they want to. They think Jesus would campaign for their cause but would He? Each of us need to take a new look at Jesus, especially those of us who suppose we know Him so well.

  1. The revolutionary sees Jesus
    1. As one come to overthrow the status quo
    2. But Jesus never spoke such word.
      1. His followers included Simon the Zealot as well as Matthew the Publican.
      2. His kingdom was not now of this world and He commanded we render to Caesar the things that belong to him and to God the things that belong to Him
    3. They never could grasp how Jesus continually minimized physical things while promoting the spiritual life.
  2. The modern Pharisee
    1. Never see themselves as those of Jesus day who Jesus more often clashed with than any other group.
    2. They find their standing in their ability to live above the sinners of the world.
    3. They see Jesus as a staunch defender of the truth who has little time for those who do not measure up.
    4. They see Jesus as an icon for righteousness who scorns the teen who lives much the same as they did when they were young.
    5. To them following Jesus can be reduced to a list of rules with rewards for the faithful and un-caring judgement for the transgressors
    6. Much like their ancient counterparts they are more concerned with standards of conduct than pulling the sinner from the ditch.
  3. Those insincere followers
    1. Like those Jesus day, they are at best fair-weather friends who will follow Him as long as it is convenient.
      1. As long as they get something out of it.
      2. As long as they can eat of the fist and the loaves.
      3. As long as He continues to heal their sick.
      4. As long as nothing "more important" comes along.
        1. One bought a piece of ground
        2. Another bought some oxen
        3. Another became married
        4. With one accord they all began to make excuse
        5. Those who excused themselves were excused and never dined at the feast of which they were invited.
      5. Like those of old they never realize how it sounds to say, "I don't have time for God"
    2. They have no use for such phrases as take up your cross and follow me.
    3. They cannot identify with a cross in their own lives.
  4. Then there are the materialist
    1. They hear about treasure in heaven and wonder how they can translate it to earthly riches.
    2. They were not attracted to Jesus for He was a poor man without material resources.
    3. To them Jesus represented the lower class people who always seem to be in need.
    4. To them Jesus is plain, boring, and has nothing to offer them.
    5. Maybe that is why Jesus described the curse of wealth when He said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a man of wealth to enter the kingdom of heaven.
  5. Those who truly appreciate Christmas
    1. They are humbled that God would come down to earth just for them
    2. They are awe struck by His shameful entrance into this world.
      1. His conception and the scandal around it.
      2. His birth in a sub-common place to a poverty stricken people.
      3. His life of submission to sinful parents at best.
    3. They see the grand scheme that moves heaven and earth to rescue them from an eternal hell.
    4. They see His message as one of Good News to all people.
      1. No matter the nationality.
      2. No matter the sin.
      3. No matter the morality,
        1. We have long become a people know for what we are against more than a people with a message of forgiveness and love.
    5. They see the birth of a Savior, Christ the Lord, their Savior and their Lord.

Take a new look at Jesus this Christmas, you might find that He is more like your neighbor than you. You might find that He is more like the disadvantage, the poor, the outcast than He is like you.

But you can change that. Not by changing Jesus. He is never changed but always the same. But by changing you. Not the bad news is that you can't change yourself. Only God can change you and He will if you but in sincerity ask Him too.