Jesus Must Surprise Us

Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who’s there  

(“Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode)

“Many preachers try to make Christianity in general and the Beatitudes in particular ‘acceptable’ – that key word of modern ethics. Behavior must be ‘acceptable’ or ‘appropriate’ rather than ‘good’ or ‘right’ or (heaven help us!) ‘virtuous’ or (most unthinkable of all) ‘holy’. For if we are acceptable, the world will accept us. And isn’t that the Church’s business, to win the world, to get her message accepted? No, it is not. Jesus commanded us not to succeed, but to obey; not to sell the gospel, but to proclaim it.

Jesus was not found ‘acceptable’; he was nailed to a cross.

And he told his disciples to expect the same kind of reaction, for human nature will not change and the proclamation of the gospel should not change. It is not our job to convert the world or to fill churches; that is God’s job. Ours is to sow the seed, without sugar coating it; God’s is to make it take root and grow. The apparent kindness of the preachers who water down Jesus’ hard saying is really arrogance. They are like mail carriers who arrogate to themselves the role of editors of the mail that is entrusted to them to deliver intact. Some preachers act as if Jesus had said, ‘Blessed are you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets’ (Lk 6:26). If we never offend anyone, we are not giving them Jesus. Jesus must offend us, for he tells us not what we want to hear but what we need to hear, and sin has inserted a great gap between our needs and our wants.

Jesus must surprise us, for he comes from Heaven; how could Heaven not surprise earth?”

(Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue, p 89)



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