Could you picture how Jesus would be received today? What if the first thing Jesus said to us was “Repent of American nationalism and militarism and believe in my good news?”
Die-hard Americans would be surprised that Jesus would not be a gun-toting American capitalist, especially if he said, “put your guns away, because those who live by guns will die by them,” and voiced opposition to fighting against middle easterners but said do not return evil for evil, and love your enemy. Imagine him deconstructing our American mythos, by decrying slogans that say “America is so blessed because of the wealth we have” and said “woe to the rich” and blessed are the poor.” Or if he called actually called capitalism and affluence into question, by telling us to redistribute our money to the poor. We would be frustrated if he said, “the kingdom of God is like occupy wall street,” or if, “he told a parable about an Arab Muslim who helped a man beaten half to death by society, while a church of Christ preacher and elder walked by and thought “what sin did he commit, if he only were working he wouldn’t have gotten himself in that mess, and then punch-lined with: This Arab Muslim is your neighbor, go and do what he did.”
Or what if he stood up in a church on Sunday and told a story about a wealthy Christian man who lived in a nice house but was unconcerned about social justice and a bum on the street, and in the passing of time, the bum went to Abraham’s bosom and the Christian man wen’t to torment–where he is now living in hell as the bum was and there is only punitive justice. We would expect him to vote for or against gay marriage, judge and condemn sinner, but would we be surprised to find him in gay people’s, drug addict’s, thieve’s, and sex offender’s houses, eating with them, forgiving their sins, calling them to repentance and the reign of God–above church goers! What if Jesus came into our churches and constantly challenged and contradicted long held dogmas, said we didn’t know God and what was really important was, justice, mercy, peace, loving others, sharing your life and goods with them and forgiving? I imagine if he were walking around with a large crowd of people he may be perceived as a the leader of a large mob, that could turn into violence at anytime.
Folks most influenced by particular demonic powers (from far left, to far right), would find themselves exorcised, opposing elders, deacons, and preachers and politicians confounded, sinners and poor having the gospel told to them and loved. The climate would be so tense, and this movement so strong, that, maybe, just maybe, some people would get a strange idea. An idea, to get all this noise to stop, a plot that would give them a little more control and leverage, and help deliver these uneducated folk who just don’t understand economics and politics like we do…We could even make it look…like an accident. We could say he’s working with terrorists, since he is in their houses. We could charge him with allowing an illegal immigrant to come out of the cold and stay in his house. We could falsely demonize him as a communist, and since he drank wine (and one sip gets your drunk), a drunk…an accident it is. The religious don’t believe in murder, no, they wouldn’t pull the trigger, but they may conveniently look away, and see him as scape-goat–the few for the many.