Hipster Jesus

There has been a recent trend to redefine Jesus as a cool dude who fit in to common culture. Even well-meaning Christians can get swept away in the "Jesus was one of us" tidal wave and if not careful, may come perilously close to preaching "another Jesus," as Paul warned us about. I've even heard it stated enthusiastically that if Jesus had come to earth now, into 21st century American culture, He would have sported a couple of earrings and a big tattoo. He would have been the coolest of the cool, ripped jeans and all.

That may be fun to speculate, but it is far from the truth. If we're not careful, we can start imagining a Jesus that never existed. And if that's the one we worship, that is idolatry. Our casualness can even become irreverence as we pretend the Lord is delighted with our "Yo, God!" attitude. We can be guilty of bringing God down to our level rather than rising to His.

The truth is that the real Jesus never stooped to compromise on any level. The fact that the Lord God Almighty took on human flesh and allowed Himself to be born as a baby is common enough. But He never stopped being exactly who He was in order to connect with those unlike Him. In fact, that was what made his consorting with sinners so shocking.

The gospel writers include significant details about him that indicate the exact opposite of the "hipster-Jesus" some want to imagine. Contrary to the ripped, low-rise jeans some have proposed, Jesus wore a distinctive white robe, seamless and expensive. His clothing indicated that He was an exalted rabbi, a highly-educated teacher. Today we would probably address him as Dr. Jesus Ben Joseph, PhD. He would have been expected to wine and dine with the elite of society, and He did at times. But He was just as interested in hanging out with those who were nothing like Him.

As to the piercings and tattoos, the Son of God was obedient to His Father's law, which forbade marring the body in any way. The only men allowed a pierced ear were slaves. Jesus would never have violated the holiness of God in order to fit in. He never changed who He was in order to reach those unlike Him. That's why the crowds flocked to him. No one of His echelon had ever acted that way. His entire earthly ministry was a demonstration of a holy God reaching down to embrace unholy humans, while never losing any of his holiness.

He also modeled for us that we don't have to become like the world in order to love the ones enslaved by it. Rather than act like us, He taught us how we could become like Him. Whether the first century or the twenty-first, Jesus never changes.


Mark Anders said...

Outstanding article Lea Ann! I concur completely! God bless you!

Mark Anders said...
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Lea Ann McCombs said...

Thank you, Mark.