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The Problem with Jesus

Carl Laferton preps us for our missions conference with these wise words about Jesus

The Problem with Jesus

by Carl Laferton for the Desiring God Blog


When it comes to outreach, we have a problem with Jesus.

Not a problem with who Jesus is, of course. Jesus is the answer to all our deepest questions and longings. He is the compassionate one the broken search for, the forgiving one the flawed need, the strong one the weak can cry to, the challenging one the self-righteous require.

In evangelism, as in all ministry, if we’re not talking about Jesus, we’re missing the point and we’re missing the power.

Imagine Jesus

So what’s the problem? It’s with the simple word “Jesus.” As soon as you read that word at the end of the first sentence of this post, you had a mental sketch of this man in your head. You filled the word “Jesus” with a heap of content.

Your image of Jesus is (I hope!) informed by Scripture. He’s the incarnate, crucified, risen, ruling Son of God — the original Jesus of history.

But that’s not the image most people have of him. When you say “Jesus,” they have an identity for him in their heads. It’s just not the real one.

This is a function of the times we’re living in. I work and (try to) witness in the United Kingdom, and while most trends head eastwards across the Atlantic, unfortunately the UK’s main cultural export to the US (apart from Downton Abbey) is de-Christianization.

In that sense, we’re all moving back to the context of the first-century Gentile world — pluralistic and un-Christian.

Post-Christian Christ

The difference is that the early church outside Israel was witnessing to a pre-Christian society. In Athens, when Paul talked about the risen Christ, they’d never heard of him. They mocked the apostle for “advocating foreign gods” (Acts 17:18).

Continue reading at: The Problem with Jesus on the Desiring God blog