Timothy S. Morton
It should come as no surprise to the reader that the world has a different picture of the Lord Jesus Christ than the picture presented in the Bible. Generally, the world views Christ as merely another "prophet," "teacher," or "religious figure" among many. The living Christ is often lumped together by the ignorant and profane with Buddha, Confucius, Mohammad, and other rotten corpses as the founder of a "great world religion" [Matt. 16:13-14]. They insist Christ was a "good man" who taught people to do good and love their "fellow man," but was misunderstood by His generation and slain as a martyr. Most worldlings when reading the Bible can't get past the "sermon on the mount," but even there they ignore many of Christ's piercing remarks. They want Christ to fit within certain parameters they have subjectively devised and nothing, not even His own words, will sway them otherwise.
This should come as no surprise to a Bible reading believer. The world will never understand Christ or acknowledge His true nature [God] and purpose on earth [Jn 1:10]. Though He was in the world for a time, and was the "light of the world" [Jn 8:12], Christ was distinctly separate from the world [Jn 8:23]. In spite of how smart and open-minded it thinks it is, the world cannot reason the truth. It can only reason and understand worldly things. Since Christ is not of the world, He can only be understood by revelation and illumination apart from the world—the Scriptures and Holy Spirit. This truth must be taken by faith based upon evidence [Heb. 11:1].
The sad thing about all of this is many professing believers, some quite prominent, envision Christ from a worldly perspective. Instead of taking the Bible as a whole and balancing all the relevant facts revealed about Christ, they in many cases follow the world's philosophy and mentality concerning the mission and personality of Christ. True Believers will always adhere to the truths of Christ's deity, substitutionary death, and resurrection in contrary to the world, but many join the world in ignoring and misrepresenting other important aspects about Christ.
Christ is a divider of men [Luke 12:51]. One can either accept Him as presented in the Scriptures or not. However, Christian, this unknown Jesus as revealed in the Bible is the Lord you will meet at the rapture or death. Don't you think it would be fitting to know the truth about His nature and personality before you meet Him? As you will see the modern view of Jesus Christ is heavily distorted and self-serving.
Below we will present some of the modern myths the world and many believers hold about Christ, and then show the true traits and characteristics of the Lord as revealed in the Scriptures.
This is a commonly accepted trait of Christ among the worldlings, however it is pure fantasy. The world's vision of Christ is that of an effeminate "milquetoast" who is timid and apologetic, careful not to offend anyone. However, this does not describe the Christ of the Bible. Look at these passages:
And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. [Matt.13:56-57 ]
Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. [Matt.15:11-13]
Do these words sound like they came from someone who is afraid He might offend someone?
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. [Matt.23:13-14]
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? [Matt.23:33]
This is only two verses out of nearly forty where Christ publically upbraids the top religious leaders of His day. The simple fact is Christ was more interested in presenting the TRUTH than pampering the "sensitive" egos of His listeners. He did not apologize for "offending" them. Instead He revealed the cost of their unbelief, "how can ye escape the damnation of hell?."
Isaiah foretold that Christ would be "a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem" [Isa. 8:14]. Thus it should be no surprise that He was just that. Of course Christ did not offend people just for the sake of offending them, it was His message that offended them, and by no means was he going to "tailor" his message for His audience.
1 having or showing culture or good taste; polished; cultured; refined.
2 having or showing good manners; esp., courteous, considerate, tactful, etc.
[pl.] a) ways of social life; prevailing social conditions or customs. b) ways of social behavior; deportment, esp. with reference to polite conventions. c) polite ways of social behavior; deportment conforming with polite conventions [a child who has no manners]
It is obvious that politeness and manners are subjective terms. They can mean different things to different people. For instance, in this country it is bad manners to burp after a meal, but in other countries a burp shows a complement to the cook. If many were honest with themselves and cleared their eyes from the fog of this evil world he would admit that most "manners" are just a veiled form of lying. Your author has always thought this [maybe this is why some think him rude and "uncouth"].
How often have you been polite and mannerly to people you meet when it wasn't real? You would rather be doing something else or talking about something else. How often have you asked someone "How are you" when you didn't give a hoot how they were?
Your author has a reputation of not asking people how they are in a casual meeting. When someone asks him "How are you" he usually replies with one word "fine." He rarely asks them how they are in return. Why? Because little or nothing is to be gained. They will either reply the same or start a tiraid about their aches and pains or troubles. You author can do nothing about any of them. Also, your author seldom when meeting someone greets them first. He usually just nods when passing. This is not rude; it is quite adequate.
Some contend that even if the manners do not come from genuine feelings one should use them anyway to "aspire" to the level the manners suggest. However, no matter how noble it sounds, this is still a form of deception. The person is pretending to be what he wants to be. It can be said if one is going to deceive he should be nice about it, but the Bible says, "good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" [Rom. 16:18].
Most often people are "mannerly" because they want others to think well of them or want something from them [a job, etc.]. Obviously, these are entirely selfish reasons. One thing Jesus Christ didn't have was a selfish bone in His body. He was not out to impress people or get something from them with feigned words or actions of deceit. Thus he did not follow our social concept of politeness and manners.
Lets look at one encounter Christ had with an older and distinguished leader of His day and examine it for "manners."
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. [John3:1-2]
Nicodemus was polite to Christ. He addressed Him mannerly by calling Him "Rabbi," he complemented Christ by saying He must come from God, and he recognized the miracles Christ did proved God is with Him. He was the perfect "gentleman." Christ's reply is of a different sort. He did not thank Nicodemus for his kind words, He did not complement him for seeking Him out, nor did He even acknowledge what Nicodemus was talking about. Christ merely says,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. [John3:3]
In other words Christ is telling Nicodemus that he is not even in a condition where he can even see the kingdom of God. The reason? He was born wrong. How polite is it to tell a top religious leader that in spite of all he knows and has done he can never see the kingdom of God because he has not been born right. He is inherently evil from his father, all the way to Adam. Depending on the person this could be taken as a huge insult, and Christ does insult most of Nicodemus' fellow Pharisees.
A few words later Christ rebukes and mocks Nicodemus with,
Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? [John3:11-12]
"How is it Nicodemus, being a leader in Israel, you don't know what I am talking about? If you won't even receive what I say about earthly things, how can you believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" Try talking to a religious leader like that and see what you get? Go down and talk to the local Catholic "priest" with that tone. Unless he is very humble you will receive nothing but contempt.
Christ was not interested in impressing Nicodemus or making him feel comfortable, He was interested in presenting to him the truth! That is what Nicodemus needed the most. Not a bunch of flattering words said in the name of manners to make him feel at ease. If a person truly wants the truth, he will receive it no matter how it is presented.
For more examples look at,
And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. [Luke9:57-62]
How is that to talk to people who want to join your church? But these words were the truth and came from the heart of Christ. These words of Christ are foreign to the concept the world and many believers have of the Lord.
Stewart Custer of Bob Jones University said in his book, The Truth About The King James Controversy, "To picture the Lord Jesus Christ as rude and uncouth is a false and unbiblical portrait." He also said, "There is never a partical of unkindness in the words of Jesus Christ." One wonders what Bible he is reading.
Don't misunderstand. It is not wrong to be polite and use manners, but they should emanate from truth, not deception.
This one is a "doosey" as they used to say. The "politically correct" of today consider racial or ethnic slurs as one of the most "harmful" detriments to modern society. To them blasphemy towards the God of heaven is a minor issue compared with using ethnic slurs or racial epithets against your "fellow man" [see Christian Cussing]. If you were to ask the average ignorant American liberal if Christ would ever use a derogatory racial remark towards someone of a different race or culture, most would say, "Of course not! Jesus Christ would never classify someone because of their race or even hint there was a difference in the races. Christ knew not only that such concepts were untrue but the using of them against others would harm their self-esteem." Hogwash, pure hogwash. The Christ of the Bible is truly unknown to them.
Take a look at Matt.15:22-28,
And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. [vs. 22]
The woman is distraught. Her daughter is severely tormented by a devil and she seeks the help of the only person who can help her. Notice how this Canaanite woman calls Christ "Lord" and confesses Him to be the "Son of David." Now consider Christ's "response."
But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. [vs. 23]
Christ completely ignored her. He heard her plight and her correct terms for Him but ignored it all. She didn't give up, though, and kept pestering the disciples. Finally Christ did speak,
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [vs. 24]
In other words He tells her he has nothing for her since she is not a Jew, thus she is wasting her breath. How would you feel if the Lord of Heaven said that to you? What if He said it was not His purpose to help you? She doesn't give up, though,
Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. [vs. 25-26]
Hurry, someone call Jesse Jackson, email the ACLU, send the Southern Christian Leadership Conference an urgent fax. Jesus Christ just said the racial comparison between a Jew and a Canaanite was similar to the relationship between one's children and his dogs! No matter how you slice it, that is what the passage says. He said it was not fitting to give what belongs to the Jews to Canaanite dogs.
The Jews and their Gentile neighbors all understood this. From their very beginning the Lord favored Israel above the other nations [Ex. 11:7]. The other nations were considered by the Jews and the Lord as mere filthy canines. Dogs were of ill repute among the Jews. In fact, the price of a dog was an abomination to the Lord [Deut. 23:18]. Even Goliath held dogs in disdain [1 Sam. 17:43]. So to call someone a "dog" was considered by all as a highly derogatory and degrading remark.
Some of you more sensitive readers may be perplexed and wondering, "why would Christ say that to someone?" "How could He refer to this poor helpless woman as a dog?" Simple, it was the truth. They were dogs in relation to the Jews. So much for the modern concepts of equality. Christ's encounter with the Samarian woman at the well was similar. Although He did speak with her, at her and the disciples amazement [John 4:9, 4:27], He still said,
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
That is, the Samarians are ignorant of who to worship, and the reason is salvation is only of the Jews. They are outside the realm of possible salvation apart from the Jews.
Nevertheless, the Canaanite woman's response to being called a dog was profound,
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. [vs. 27]
She readily admitted the Lord's assessment was true and took the place as a dog. My, my, how the modern Christian psychologists, psychiatrists, and "counselors" would respond to that one. "It is one thing for some insensitive individual to address you with a racial slur or other derogatory remark, but it is totally unacceptable for you to consider yourself true to that designation. You are not a "dog." You are a human being with a "spark of divinity" within your soul. Your soul is worth more than the whole world. Blah, blah, blah."
The woman put herself in good company by referring to herself as a dog. David did the same [1 Sam. 24:14]. She must have been listening to or even reading the Hebrew Scriptures to know Christ was the Son of David and was possibly familiar with David's humble designation for himself.
It is not degrading for a person to figuratively consider themselves as a dog, because it is a fact. Your author to this day considers himself as nothing more than a filthy dog jerked up out of Hell by the hind legs and given a chance to serve God. When he happens to say this to some congregations, it is not always well received. Too many Baptists have swallowed the self-esteem junk to their own detriment. What are you apart from Christ, believer? To call you a dog is an overstatement. Apart from Christ you are a wretched sinner bound for Hell where you will degenerate [or de-evolve] into something like a worm [Job 25:6; Psa. 22:6; Mark 9:44]! Think about that a week or two before you go puffing yourself up.
To your author the most amazing thing about this passage is this is the nearest anyone in the gospels came to trapping Jesus Christ in his words. Many of the highly educated tried to entangle Christ in His talk, but this poor distraught woman came closer than anyone. Her taking the designation of a dog was the key. If she rebelled and didn't take this position then she had no argument. However, her taking this lowly position to a Jew brought up the argument that every good Jew must take care of his animals, thus Christ must take care of her. What could the Lord say but,
...O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. [vs. 28]
Don't think this was the only time Christ referred to Gentiles as "dogs." He did again on the cross, but you will have to look in Psalm 22 to find it [Psa 22:16, 22:20]. Truly, this Christ is unknown to the vast majority.
Christ Would Speak Out and Protest "Social Injustice"
This is another inflammatory topic. The vast majority, based on assumption only, believe Christ would and did campaign against "social injustice." This belief is pure fantasy. Christ cared nothing about the social issues of His day. He would not even comment on any public or social matter, let alone protest against. The highly opinionated and secular Roman Catholic Bill Oreilly of the "Oreilly Factor" said recently, if Christ were here today he would speak out against the religious oppression in Iraq and other countries. He said that in his usual matter-of-fact way like it was "gospel." However, it was just so much bunk.
Let's look at a "social injustice" that was performed against a member of Christ's own family and see how He responded.
John the Baptists mother, Elisabeth, was a cousin to the Lord's mother, Mary [Luke 1:36]. How close cousins they were is not specified, but it was close enough for the Holy Spirit to mention. John was born about six months earlier than Christ [Luke 1:26]. Later, when both were well into their ministries, the Lord said this about John,
But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. [Matt.11:9-11]
The Lord's comments on John are extraordinary. John is essentially the only man that the Lord openly praises in the gospels. In fact, Christ profoundly says that no person who has ever lived was ever greater than John. John ranks with the most notable persons in the Scriptures. Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, etc. do not have a thing on him. Now consider the occasion that caused Christ to say these words,
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? [Matt.11:2-3]
John was in prison. How did he come to be in prison? Did he break the law? Was he a threat to humanity?
For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. [Matt.14:3-4]
No, he is in prison because of his message; a political prisoner. Where is the ACLU when you need them? Surely when the Lord heard about this great injustice He would gather up huge crowds to protest and campaign before Herod's palace. He most certainly would start a non-profit organization to rally the public and take donations to force Herod to release John. At least if you listened to the modern concept of Christ that is what he would do. But what did the Lord really do when he heard John was cast into prison?
Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; Matt.4:12]
That's it. No comments, no complaints, no tiraids against the government, and no claim of injustice. The Lord went on about HIS ministry.
Those of you who have read your Bible know that is not the end of the story. After John was in prison for a while Herod had a birthday party for himself and the daughter of his new wife, Herodias, danced for him,
And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee...And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist...And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison. [Mark6:22-27]
Because of the scorn of an evil woman and the insecurity of a shallow and impulsive ruler, John was beheaded. What was Christ's response to this huge wrong? What did he have to say about this injustice against one of the greatest men this world has ever seen?
Nothing. That's right, nothing. Christ knew His Father was in control of the situation [Pro. 16:1, Pro. 16:9, Pro. 20:24, Pro. 21:1]. If John was to be released, then the Father would cause events to occur that would release him.
Christ came to do what His Father had laid out for Him to do and nothing more [John 4:34]. One time a Jew came up to Christ and said,
And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?
Apparently this man's brother was not dividing the inheritance according to the law [Deut. 21:17]. Did the Lord address this legal injustice. You know the answer. Again, the Christ of the Bible is unknown to the vast majority.
Our final characteristic of the unknown Christ [though there are others] deals with slavery. According to the contemporary brainwashed masses, Christ was most definitely opposed to slavery. Really? Then why didn't He tell somebody.
Much to the chagrin of many today, the Bible in no way condemns slavery. In fact, the Old Testament makes allowances for the buying and selling of slaves [Ex. 21:2-6], and the New Testament does not abrogate them [Eph. 6:5-6]. Slaves and servants are as common in the Bible as "equal-rights" advocates are today.
The concept of equality among men is quite recent. It is not a theme found in the Scriptures. Some contend Acts 10:34-35 speaks of equality, but that is not what it says. It says, God is not a respector of persons concerning salvation. He will accept the proper faith from any man of any race or nationality for salvation. He does not say "all men are created equal" in any other regard. That would be a statement of nonsense.
Anyone who thinks all people are equal in respect to economic, social, legal, political, and even health concerns is brainwashed beyond hope. About the only universal equality among men is they all have one creator and one life, and even the length of the life is not equal. The Bible is filled with "inequalities." Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. were all favored above their peers. The Jews as a nation were favored above the Gentiles and will be again. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was favored above all other women.
Where is "equality" when one child is born healthy and another born with a terminal illness? Where is equality when one is born into wealth and the other into poverty? Where is equality when one has good parents and another has worthless parents, if any? Why did the Lord take Enoch and Elijah directly to heaven and leave everyone else. Why did the Lord raise only three people from the dead and leave millions in their tombs? Why did the Lord release Peter from prison and allow James to be beheaded? Obviously, the modern concept of equality is a humanistic fantasy.
Consider carefully, dear reader. What "rights" does the Bible bestow upon man, unbelievers or believers? Can you prove any from Scripture? Even though the US Declaration of Independence says "...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...," that does not mean its contentions are Biblical. It is an excellent position for a government, though.
While they abode in the law and let the Lord rule them, Jews had certain civil or governmental rights. These rights, found in the books of Moses, dealt basically with keeping social order and the punishment of wrongs. However, because of their repeated rebellion, the Lord allowed Gentiles to invade and occupy their land. Ever since they have been subject to the Gentile laws, and often the Gentile laws make no provision for them.
In view of this, did John the Baptist have an inherent right to life? Was James' "unalienable" right violated when he was slaughtered by Herod for simply being a Christian [Acts. 12:2]? Be careful how you answer these, brethren. If you say, yes, then why was the Lord silent about John's life being taken and the apostles silent about James' life? These matters are not as "cut and dried" as many portray them. In fact, it can be Scripturally asserted that Christians have no rights. They do not have a right to life or liberty. Since they have received Christ as their salvation and have been redeemed by his blood, they belong solely to Him. As Paul says, "...ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price...." [1 Cor. 6:19-20]. Since believers are not their own and actually belong to another, they cannot have inherent rights.
Christians live and enjoy freedom at the pleasure of their Lord. Likewise, Christians are bound and martyred according the will of their Lord. If an American Christian is taken as a slave, he may have recourse being an American [Paul used his Roman citizenship to his advantage, Acts 16:37], but he has none being a Christian. Whatever circumstances the Lord allows or directs in a believers life, whether "positive" or "negative," the believer is to remain content [Phil. 4:11]. He does not have an absolute right to be free from physical bondage or servitude, but he can remain free in his heart and spirit in the Lord. Then he is "free indeed" [John 8:36].
The book of Philemon encapsulates the Bible's position on bondage. There one will find a runaway slave, Onesimus, who is lead to Christ by another person bound another way; in a prison [Paul]. The only "rights" inferred in the book are the rights of the slave owner, Philemon, concerning his property [vs. 14]. Paul writes the letter as a personal appeal that Onesimus would be received as a brother and be forgiven for running away [vs. 15-16], not that he would be given his freedom. That Paul did not demand the immediate release of Onesimus by Philemon in the name of freedom is perplexing to the jaded of today, but facts are facts. We all need to have the "mind of Christ" and think like He thinks, not as the renegade world.
The Lord encountered several servants and their owners during His ministry [Matt. 8:6, etc.], and not once did He even hint that slavery was wrong or "immoral." He taught a slave can be more free in his heart that a free person can be in his freedom. Although physical freedom is desirable, it is NOT a right for a Christian. Paul said if one found himself a servant in this world he was to "care not for it;" it is nothing to worry about. He went on to say,
"For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. [1 Cor.7:22]
If a believer was offered freedom he was to "use it rather," but if he wasn't, he was not inferior. Social status in the Bible means nothing. Of course, this position is poison to the modern prosperity loving "believer," but it is Bible. Take it or leave it.
Dear reader, do you really know the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you know how He thinks and reasons? Do you acknowledge the basis of His "philosophy"? None of us do fully, but we can know the "mind of Christ" when we search the Scriptures and apply its principles in our minds and hearts.