Jesus isn’t interested in our notion of identity politics. Plenty in the media, however, are extremely interested in identity politics and love to pull Jesus into it.
Jesus had a practice of destroying the high-and-mighty who loved to label themselves with prestigious labels. He took down identity groups spectacularly. The Pharisees were “whited sepulchres,” ornate on the outside, but dead on the inside. Samaritans were “dogs.” Nazareth had little faith so that few miracles were done. To the Jews that sought to take His life in John 5, He said, “Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life…” You THINK you have eternal life, He said. But check again- you aren’t as holy as you think you are.
However, Paul, a self-proclaimed Pharisee of Pharisees, was hand picked by Christ to be an apostle. The Samaritan woman whose daughter was sick unto death received based on her faith. The few who sought healing in Nazareth were healed. Men like Nicodemus and Joseph, Jewish teachers, found favor and did great kindness to Jesus.
Jesus loves people. He cares not for movements and identity groups. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He had no time for self-righteous people. But He stopped at nothing for the sick and the broken individuals who wanted healing and salvation- “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”
The tweets at the top of the page are examples of how people with well-known names are assuming to know the reaction Jesus would have to the plight of certain identity groups today. Identity groups engaging in identity politics. Comments by Howard Dean recently indicate that “Jesus would have been left of the modern Democratic Party.” I’m just a bit sick of people who have yet to demonstrate faith in Jesus trying to define what Jesus would do.
Jesus would have words of criticism for every identity group out there today. And a good percentage, He would reject outright.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:3 KJV)
So the big-ticket test of Christianity is how we would/should treat gays and lesbians. How would Jesus treat them?
Well, to the LGBT movement, I believe He would say, “You seek after something that you wish to deny everyone else- the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it. You want the freedom to marry without judgement, but you can’t stand for someone else to live and operate their business as they see fit without judgement. Hypocrites! Aside from that, you seek to legitimize a lifestyle I have never sanctioned or approved of, a lifestyle that is an abomination to me. Turn away and repent before you find yourself in judgement!”
To a gay man or lesbian woman, what would He say? To those who have no desire to change and follow Him, not much. The scriptures never show Jesus berating someone who chooses to walk away. But to those who hear the Master’s call, He would say, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.”
The big mistake today is society assumes the desire we Christians have to abstain from an ungodly movement means we are against individuals who live ungodly lifestyles. It is a divisive and deceptive position, the goal of which is to marginalize the church and redefine Christianity. People trying criticizing Christianity based on invoking “what would Jesus do” toward entire identity groups are not trying to help Christianity, they are trying to destroy it. In fact, they are reducing “Christian” to an identity label rather than a description of someone who adheres to a set of absolute beliefs that refuses many, many behaviors in society while holding out hope for everyone to change.
These identity politic pundits will not pratice their own “live and let live” sermon. They will not be satisfied letting Christians live by their individual consciences. They will not respect the beliefs of a majority of the nation’s population. They will keep on maligning the name of Jesus and condemning His faithful. We shouldn’t be surprised. Perilous times are upon us. But thanks be to God who causes us to triumph in Christ.