“If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” ― Augustine of Hippo
With this quote in mind, let’s discuss 7 things Jesus never said:
1. “I just want you to be happy”
I know this online magazine is called Happy Sonship. We have a high value for joy, pleasure and the enjoyment of life. But happiness is a by-product of surrender. Jesus wants me happy and he also wants me to be kind and generous. He wants me happy, but he also wants my wife happy (and sometime the greatest hindrance to her happiness is the pursuit of my own). He did say, “I came to give you a life more abundant”.
Happiness is included, but there is also sacrifice, work, and a whole lot of dying to self.
2. “You’ll get what you deserve.”
The opposite actually! Jesus came to give us what we don’t deserve. He came so we could have his life, his fullness, his eternity. I know people who had HIV because of their past lifestyle and in one second, Jesus healed them. I know people (myself included) who have messed up majorly but Jesus covered their sins and restored their relationships.
Our deepest fear is judgement. Our deepest longing is love. Christ removes the one and provides the other.
3. “Just get over it!”
I used to love saying that. To my friends, my wife, people who were crying in front of me while asking for my counsel. But Jesus is way more patient than that. He’s willing to listen, he catches every tear and he is available to walk the long road of victory. The King already died for our freedom. Now, he’s willing to live it with us.
(Read more on The 15 Biggest Mistakes I’ve Made As A Pastor.)
4. “I am a way, a truth, a life”
Nope. Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through him. The problem is that we have so many churchy add-ons to what this means that we say, “Jesus is the only way” but we behave like we own the road and the payrolls.
When we get to heaven we will find that Jesus was way more gracious than we were.
5. “________ is the greatest country on earth”
It’s a good thing to cherish the land God blessed us with. We need to appreciate our culture, learn our history, respect our people. But Jesus could care less about our patriotism. The whole point of the gospel was to included everyone. For God so loved the world. Communists and Iranians and Muslims and Homosexuals, and even us Puertoricans! In his eyes, every country is the greatest country. Every person is his favorite person. At the cross we all became his number ones. And no matter your nationality, color, religion, politics or hairstyle, you have been loved into the greatest family.
6. “What would (I) Jesus do?”
Jesus never invited us to try hard to do it like he did it. We would obviously fail (again, again and again). The gospel is not, “WWJD?” The gospel is, “What Jesus Has Done Already!” If we try to be like him we will constantly be frustrated. If we acknowledge our weakness and embrace his sacrifice, we will be grateful and naturally supernatural.
The grace of God sets us free from a life of performing and pretending. Don’t try to be like Jesus, just acknowledge that you are already in Him, with Him, because of Him and through Him.
The Gospel is not my effort, the Gospel is Christ’s perfection.
7. “You need better boundaries”
I’m an introvert. And I love my own space. So I’m all about healthy boundaries. But Jesus seemed to be more about priorities. He never said, “No” to the crowds because he had boundaries to take care of. He said, “No” when he had a bigger “Yes”. You see, Jesus prioritized his prayer life, his 12 disciples, his ministry to the broken. So when he said “No” it was never based on self ambition (which is what I mostly use the word boundaries for), He was just saying “Yes” to the right things.
And let’s not forget that he said to let people slap you twice. He said to go the extra mile for others. To give to those who ask. To forgive 70×70 times. Those are all classic “bad boundaries”.
However, they are perfect invitations to prioritising God and others.
Please pray out loud: “Oh Lord Jesus help Carlos with this last one!”
Now, what do you think about this list?
At least, we can all agree that it is best to focus on what Jesus actually said. Because there is so much love and goodness communicated in the words of Christ.
So let’s take time to read the gospels. To immerse ourselves in his miracles and challenges. Let’s allow the Word himself revolutionize who we are. Even if it contradicts our foundations, let Christians stick to what Christ said.
There is no better news than that the God who makes the demand for perfection also meets the demand for perfection on our behalf.
+ One of the most complete and beautiful books on Jesus: Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection by Joseph Ratzinger.