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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is It the Real Jesus or Fake Jesus?

Jesus enters Jerusalem with a bang.  After riding in on a donkey, did he keep a low profile and fly under the radar?  Not exactly.

Based on the gospel accounts, by Tuesday, Jesus was causing a scene in the heart of Jerusalem – in none other than the temple courts.

In fact, Jesus got angry, knocked over a few tables, and even disturbed the peace.

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. – Matthew 21:12-13

Ouch!  So much for not making waves.  Why was Jesus so angry?  Some would say that he was fed up with the religious system – a system that had become broken and corrupt.  A system that was charging the poor for “acceptable” temple sacrifices.  A system where the religious leaders made the rules and lined their own pockets.  A system where outward appearances had become more important than inward character. 
Sometimes I ask myself if our religious systems portray the real Jesus.

I'll never forget the first time I watched our church’s passion play with my then 3-year-old daughter, Abby.  She was completely taken with Jesus.  And she kept asking, Is that the real Jesus or the fake Jesus?

It’s a good question.  I think Jesus asked the same question when he looked at the religious people of his day.  Were they real or fake?  Did they act religious on the outside, but on the inside, were they filled with selfishness and greed?

When we look at our own Christian institutions today, do we find piety for the sake of piety --  a set of outward “rules” and an obsession with appearances (while the inside of the cup is full of hypocrisy and greed)? 

Or, do we see something that looks more like Jesus – humility, grace, and generosity to those in need?

In Abby’s words, do we look like the real Jesus or the fake Jesus?


Wendy Paine Miller said...

Oh I pray I look like the real deal, but even more I want to serve and love like the real deal.

I ask this question a lot about others...the real or fake question. Then I get caught judging and have to work out that conviction.

There are so many reasons why I'm excited for heaven.
~ Wendy

jancoxabetterway said...

Oh I so know what you mean and understand the comment from Wendy. There is a fine line between humility and judgment, isn't there?
But we as the church, which is Christ's body, have a job to focus on being Jesus to everyone. That is not easy. We need to be watchful and prayerful to make sure He is always in every step. Thanks for the post.

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

You and Abby ask good questions, Susan. Thought-provoking ones.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...


I appreciate your thoughtful posts on these Holy Days leading up to Easter. I've featured this one under our Featured Posts at The High Calling:

God bless you this Easter ... and every day. You reflect Your Savior well.

- Jennifer Dukes Lee
Contributing Editor @

Charity Singleton said...

Susan - I loved this post. I love seeing these important events of the week from a different perspective, as if they are new. Otherwise, they become too familiar.

I wrote about a story of my nephew learning about Christ's death and paired with with your story here and Ann Kroeker's story about her son and the Resurrection egg over at my place today for There and Back Again. I've linked up so that my readers can come here and see the whole story!

It's great to consider these things with you.

Marcus Goodyear said...

Ouch. I get the same question about Santa Claus, and it struck me that we treat Jesus a little too much like Santa sometimes.

He's not just another holiday character that comes with the Easter baskets and the chocolate bunnies.