Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

would Jesus be comfortable?




Occasionally someone will suggest that Jesus would not be welcome or comfortable in most of our churches. I suspect that many who agree with that assertion, then assume that their particular church would be the exception to that rule.


Some apparently think that Jesus' approval would hinge on doctrinal purity and ritualistic piety. In other words, if the correct things are taught and believed and the right practices are maintained, then Jesus would find the group acceptable. Most of this mind would probably think their fellowship to be welcoming to Jesus; but, since they perceive many other groups who are doctrinally and ritualistically different and therefore incorrect, they would agree with the basic premise above..


Others, in dealing with this question, would probably note the church's propensity for condemnation and alienation in contrast with Jesus' benevolent dealings with sinners and the downtrodden. On this basis, these folks would also view many churches as foreign to Jesus.


The real issue in evaluating Jesus' likely opinion of a particular church group is the question of what is Jesus all about. From the two views described above we see two diametrically different measures of embracing Jesus. The first implies that the Jesus' essential message was one of compliance with divine requirements: do what is right and you will be all right. That, of course, was the age old theme of Judaism and most of the other ancient religions.


The second view highlights the ways Jesus was different from Judaism and the general religious thought of mankind. In preaching and demonstrating tolerance, acceptance, and unconditional love, Jesus set Himself apart from the religions of the past, including that into which he was born. Jesus was undeniably a Jew and even the King of the Jews, but that does not mean that He came to proclaim and endorse a new form of  "Judaic-like" religion, one that relied on compliance. That message and mission would obviously involve nothing at all new and would logically lead to the same place that Judaism had, a place of frustration and continued separation. I think few would suggest that Judaism was a realistic road to righteousness.


So what would make Jesus comfortable? More of the same old thing or something really different. Was Jesus comfortable with Judaism? Was that gist of His message? To attach ultimate importance to obedience as the route to righteousness says yes. If Jesus was the author of a significantly new way, then the old marks of ritualism and piety don't really make sense as the way to identify with Jesus.


Either of these views lead to the same conclusion: that Jesus would be generally dissatisfied with many churches. However, the solution to that dissatisfaction is nowhere near the same.