If Jesus had first graced the earth in 2021 instead of the first century A.D., He would have gone about His business in much the same way. Yet that would shock most modern Christians as much as it shocked the Jews of Jesus’ day.
How so? Well, Christ was establishing a new system. Outside of Judaism. Being a Jew, He observed the feasts and festivals as well as sacrificial requirements of the Old Testament. But He was ending this order. First order of business was building a team of apostles. Jews had never heard or conceived of the notion of anything other than High Priests or the army of the Levitical priesthood. Apostles. Disciples. New words. New concept. New system. Imagine a 21st century Jesus bringing an end to pastors, deacons and elders. As well as ushering in a worship protocol devoid of communion and baptism. How easily would we fall in line?
God is alive and in His Prime. It is humanity that gets old and corrupt. So do it’s systems and institutions. At just the right time, before corruption and apathy hit an all time high, Christ came to deliver a breath of fresh air into Judaism. Converting it to it’s upgraded, 2.0 verion: Christianity. According to the book of Revelation, He wil come a Second Time to give us an new breath of fresh air. And this time, it will be impossible to ignore His meddling. It won’t be done in demure fashion in the corner of an obscure nation. It will be global in scale and consequence. Instantly. Be ready to be shocked.
Now, had Christ done His First Arrival in our day, here is what it would feel and look like. His team of apostles would not have been plucked from any celebrity mega church or even your local church. Among the leaders of Christ’s new movement and New Testament, not a single seminary professor, professonial theologian or pastor would be found. Instead, Christ would be spotted flagging down tradesmen on their worksites (i.e.: Andrew, Peter, James and John). Then He would wander into the offices of government taxation bureaus and grab a tax man during a time when the average working man was being abused by their income tax (i.e.: Matthew). No one in the church would have been a fan of an oppressive tax man being part of God’s most intimate inner cirlce. But God doesn’t care about our comfort zones. Next, our beloved Messiah would have snagged a member of a politically radical organization that made most middle class folks uncomfortable (i.e.: Simon the Zealot).
All in all, Christ would not have gone to any professionally Christian individual but have plucked His team purely from worksites. From secular places. Think about that.
The religious leaders of Christ’s day rejected Him, misunderstood Him, villified Him and eventually killed Him. What makes you think this would be any different today? We often fail to appreciate the shocking nature of what it is like to encounter God. Whether in the desert of Sinai, first century Palestine or the 21st century. We will all be shocked on Judgement Day.
The bible promises this.
The first will be last, and the last are first. Prominent pastors won’t be popular and obscure old ladies will be crowned in front of billions. An upside down Kingdom is coming. This will be more stunning than most realize.
Many Christians can see how secular, godless celebrities are in for a shock when God comes to town, but they fail to see how much deeper the shock will be.
It will reach well into the church.
The first century High Priest anticipated the Messiah but failed to recognize Him when He was literally brough to him in chains.
And once confronted with Him, Caiaphas crucified Him.
We are oblivous to the degree to which religious institutions can be as godless as the world. We fail to see how counter cultural God’s movement is.
How small it is.
How tiny the cracks and crannies are in which it hides.
But, as we are due for a Another Visit, we will be privy to yet another Big Surprise. God is counter cultural, and the Engineer of light speed, black holes and supernovas is completely unimpressed with human sky scrapers and institutions. Our greatest works are as meaningless as the branches of ant colonies are to bridge builders.
A Surprise is coming…