There is no one word that could accurately describe Jesus that would satisfy how wonderful He is. Out of all off the words available to mankind, the word “bad” usually does not come to mind when modern Christians and non-believers alike mention the name of Jesus. However, during the time that Jesus and his disciples ministered some two thousand years ago, many people opposed Him and His message. They especially disliked how He brought healing and freedom to every place He visited and gave people hope for the future. Jesus revealed that God is loving and gracious, and demonstrated the Father’s heart wherever He went. Jesus was thought of as a “bad influence” by the Pharisees and Sadducees because He intentionally went against the religious and legalistic culture of that time. Jesus wasn’t timid and mild like they portray Him in some of the movies and literature of modern times, no Jesus was a revolutionary leader who is still leading us today.
There are a string of movies ex. Bad Santa, Bad Teacher, Bad Moms (which I haven’t actually seen) whose concept is very simple: watch a person in a role that is supposed to be upstanding and set a good example behave unapologetically awful. These movies touch on the fact that assuming various roles in society, family, and community has inherent expectations and responsibilities attached to them. Basically there are all types of unwritten rules that people are expected to follow when in certain positions or roles. If you really think about it, the word “role” in itself indicates that when a person takes a role on that they are supposed to act a certain way. The reason that these movies are so popular is because they give people the permission to be human, to be deeply flawed, and to break some social rules, plus they have a bunch of shock comedy embedded in them too. These movies also prove a darker point: It is hilarious to even think about going against the grain or breaking the unwritten rules. A lot of people are afraid to go against the grain – Nobody wants to be publicly shunned or rejected for their actions, which is the feared result of breaking social unwritten rules.
Where does Jesus fit in this discussion about breaking social rules? Jesus is love so what type of rules could He have possibly broken? Well, the Gospels (the books Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Christian Holy Bible) are chock full of stories about Jesus breaking religious and social rules. While we love and revere these stories in modern times preaching and teaching on them as the ultimate example of how to live. During Jesus’ time what He was doing was very controversial and even sacrilegious among devout religious Jewish leaders. Jesus turned the focus from appearing to please God by following a bunch of rules in an oppressive legalistic community, to living to please God by the love that was expressed and the treatment of others. Jesus set out to show that the love and compassion of God was a higher priority than adhering to an excessive set of rules. He did not give permission to sin and live ungodly, but rather spread the message of love, grace, and mercy that is available to those who receive salvation and Jesus as their Messiah. While we can understand all of this now while we study about and get to know Jesus better, the people who lived during His day had strong opinions about Him, which were not all positive.
What is amazing about how Jesus handled the hate and opposition directed at Him is that He didn’t let the opinions of man stop Him. This is important because as much as Jesus was fully God, He was also fully man. So this means that He had human emotions- He felt the sting of rejection, slander, and being misunderstood. He felt the stress and pressure being placed on Him every time the Pharisees challenged Him in front of the people and His disciples. He did not let any of the negativity attached to His reputation or the familiarity of people who knew Him before He started His ministry keep Him from doing the will of His Father. Jesus handled with grace and finesse what most of us grow weary in. His example reflects His obedience and devotion to the will of the Father rather than His own will. Below are some verses that show Jesus breaking the unwritten rules and changing the culture to express the will of His Father.
The Samaritan Woman by the Well – John 4:7-26
The Syrophoenician Woman- Matthew 15:21-28
Healing on the Sabbath- https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Jesus-Healing-On-Sabbath
Forgiving Sins of the Paralytic- Mark 2:1-12
The Woman Caught in Adultery- John 8:1-11
Spending Time with Sinners- Mark 2:14-17
In what ways are we to be like Jesus and break the unwritten social and religious rules? It really depends on how well you hear the voice of God, are sensitive to others, and are willing to take the consequences of “breaking the rules” if it isn’t well received by others. So spend some time getting to know Jesus better by studying the Word, praying, and praise/worship time with Him. Sometimes we can be deceived that what we think is right or wrong is the same thing that God thinks as well. The Pharisees are a good example of that mentality. While some of them were truly in self-preservation mode, there were others who were actually grieved that someone could commit (what they interpreted as) blasphemy and self-exultation. They really saw Jesus as an imposter- a wannabe Messiah, when He was in fact the Messiah. It’s a human mistake that anyone could make, they had been improperly taught that the Messiah would look and act a certain way- in the pattern of King David, Israel’s greatest earthly king. They missed the fact that Jesus did pattern the ways of King David- when David was a lowly shepherd serving his father’s house before he was anointed king.
We often look at the Pharisees as the villains of the New Testament, however to be fair, not all of them discounted Jesus’ admission to be the Son of God. Nicodemus was a Pharisee that came to learn from Jesus while He was still alive (John 3:1-21). In many ways Nicodemus broke the code of the Pharisees by going to learn from a Rabbi that they did not approve of. Who we now know as the Apostle Paul was previously a Pharisee that vehemently persecuted the church before he was converted (Philippians 3:3-7). In these men are two examples of breaking the social rules to pursue a higher calling. What is God calling you to today? Is it to just to go against the grain to demonstrate the love of Christ or is it to break away from a culture that is keeping you from reflecting the Father’s heart? Could it be a change in action or a change of mind? Whatever God is calling you to will result in a changed heart, a changed perspective, and ultimately a changed life if you decide to pursue it. Go on… you know you want to… be “bad” like Jesus!
Let Us Pray: Father God in the Mighty name of Jesus we acknowledge today that You alone are the source of our strength, You are our source of life, and in You only can we truly love. Lord we thank You for calling us higher, for calling us by name, for calling us from death to life, and for calling us to be a part of Your family. Lord thank You for always seeing the best in us and speaking to the purpose that You hid in us from before the foundation of the world. Lord please help us to hilariously break the unwritten codes and rules that restraint Your will from coming forth or Your heart from being expressed in the Mighty name of Jesus. We declare that the end result will be all men drawn to You. Lord when You speak Your Word over our lives You fully expect it to come to pass and to bear fruit. Lord please forgive us for any time that we did not bear the fruit of the spirit, but instead created works of the flesh. Lord forgive us for interpreting Your ways to be like our ways and Your thoughts to be like our thoughts. Lord please forgive us for not giving grace, not sharing our faith, or for not doing what is pleasing in Your sight because it was not socially acceptable. Lord please help us to truly follow You in all of Your ways and to close the door to the evil one so that we will not be used, manipulated, or in agreement with him ever again. Lord help us to be people that help people looking for You to meet You and Your love. Lord help us not just take the high road, but to participate with You in what is important to You. Lord it is our honor and privilege that You have invited us to be builders of Your Kingdom. Lord mold us and help us to be humble and teachable so that we can be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth. Lord it is easy to go along with the crowd and more difficult to go against the grain, so we ask for courage, joy, and perseverance to endure the journey ahead. Lord let us not seek to please man, but only to please You regardless of the cost or consequence. Lord let us go forth in wisdom and counsel of the Holy Spirit so that You may be glorified in all we do. Lord we know that we will not always get it “right” so please help us to course correct quickly so that we do not miss the will of the Father. Lord thank You for another chance to participate in what You are doing and to be used for Your Kingdom and glory. Lord Thank You for all that we have asked in Jesus’ Mighty Name AMEN!
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Blessings Always ♥,