The Audacity of Jesus
I have a new word today. It's not really new. But it did occur to me that I don't use it very often. You probably don't either. Audacity is the word. Audacity is just the word for the ending of Mark's Gospel.
Webster connects "audacity" with the qualities of boldness and daring. But audacity has a more outrageous component than mere boldness. One dictionary adds this, "daring or willingness to challenge assumptions or conventions or to tackle something difficult or dangerous." (The Encarta World English Dictionary) Audacious brings to mind something that is over the top, unconventional, and totally unexpected. When confronted with something audacious, the normal response is surprise or even indignation. We might say, "How dare he do that! Who does he think he is?"
That's the affect Jesus had on people. He still does! Jesus' adversaries didn't plot, arrest, and execute him for being conventional. They objected to his audacity. He challenged their authority. He exposed their hypocrisy. He made claims they refused to accept. He was anything but ordinary. More than once, they responded with "who does he think he is!"
Some of us have difficulty appreciating the audacity of Jesus. We've domesticated him. We've turned the "lion of the tribe of Judah" into a pussycat. Our non-audacious Jesus threatens no one. He demands little. He accepts everything. He makes us feel good about ourselves. With this Jesus, we have no sacrifice, no risk, and no excitement. No wonder some think church is boring and irrelevant. We've lost the audacity.
If you can hear the teachings of Jesus and not feel the authority, you've lost the audacity. If you can behold his miraculous powers and demonstrations of the supernatural and not be awed, you've lost the audacity. If you can consider his claims and not be brought to your knees in worship, you have lost the audacity.
Mark's Gospel is all abou ...
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