Acts 10:1-4 (NKJV) Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
I have made many visits to New Orleans. One of my favorite things about that city are the street performers. They are truly amazing to see. There are people who spray themselves in metallic colors and strike a pose without moving for long stretches of time as if living statues. There are people who put bottle caps on the bottom of their shoes and tap dance. Around Jackson Square, painters create river scenes on canvas and caricature artists draw humorous pictures of celebrities, politicians, and tourists who are willing to pay. In case you don’t know, a caricature is a portrait drawing that exaggerates some characteristic to create a cartoonish image. I suggest to you that many people have created a Caricature of Christ.
Jesus, my bestest pal: Jesus called us His friends. But were we to come face to face with Jesus, we would fall on our faces before Him. The Apostle John, who had been a disciple of Christ, when face to face with Jesus again in Revelation, wrote that he, “fell at His feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17).
Jesus, my lucky charm: Having pictures of Him, or wearing a cross does not mean you are protected. Jesus is Lord, not a lucky charm.
Jesus, my relic: Some people believe that Jesus lives at church and they go there to kiss a statue, touch a cross, marvel at a picture, or bow before an altar.
Jesus, my moneymaker: Jesus wants to give me His “favor” and will make me healthy and wealthy. Many people today believe that Jesus is the key that unlocks the door to every longing in their sinful heart. Remember this: Jesus doesn’t work for you – you work for Him.
Jesus, my social conscience: Jesus was “a nice man” and “a good teacher” and so I should be nice to others. Jesus is more than just an example.
Still, to many others, Jesus means nothing more than an idea. To them, He’s someone Who may or may not have existed in the past. He’s someone from the Bible who makes a good rallying cry for a concert, a compelling story for a television show or a hollywood movie. But that is not belief and it is not faith. The Gospel is exclusive, after all. I write that tongue in cheek, because the Gospel is available to everyone, but it necessarily excludes those who exclude themselves from it. It excludes everyone who rejects the free offer of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Bible says that the Gospel is an offense to those who are perishing. If we are preaching the Gospel we are not popular with the world. But if we are preaching the Gospel, seeds are planted, watered, and God is working to move people to repentance. That is not something that can be done if an untrue picture of Jesus is presented. What is needed is a true picture of Jesus, with nothing added, avoided or exaggerated. What is needed is Jesus, My Lord and My Savior.