The Simple Gospel

The “He Gets Us” campaign that aired a couple of commercials during the Super Bowl has created more debate than the controversial holding penalty on the Eagles did at the end of the game. The commercials focused on loving all people and being childlike in our treating of one another, two aspects that Jesus lived out in his ministry. He touched the untouchable, dined with tax collectors and prostitutes, and used despised folk (the Samaritans) to elevate the sacredness of caring for those who are different from us in some way.

But the “He Gets Us” commercials got turned into a symbolic tog-of-war for the different political factions to begin pulling and straining against one another. Jesus had suddenly become the rope in the middle, yanked back and forth like a toy between two pre-schoolers. Some of the accusations had merit to them. I AM uncomfortable with how some conservative evangelicals have “buddied Him up” with Donald Trump. You would never see such a theme emerging in own Yoder’s The Politics of Jesus Yoder, who taught at a Mennonite Seminary, had a completely different perspective on Jesus relationship with the political establishment.

On the other side, however, the liberal side of the fight ring has blamed Jesus, simply because conservatives have photobombed themselves into the picture with Him. In essence, the simplicity of Jesus’ message and mission has been complicated by both those who don’t believe in Him, as well as those think they can use Him for their purposes. The simple gospel has been translated into something that rivals the IRS tax code.

Whether you agree with the message of Jesus and His purpose, He didn’t ask for this. He came as a Suffering Servant, the prince of Peace, and the Lamb of God. He identified Himself as a shepherd, a vine, and the Bread of Life. He offered Himself as the Light for a dark world and the darkness that invades a person’s life. He gave up His life in order to create a bridge between the Creator and the created. There was something terribly wrong with the world and He offered Himself up as the Way back to life.

The simple gospel tries to be footnoted by the “Yes, but” folk who desire to put their personal paraphrases into the story. In the world of instant communication, everybody has an opinion (instantly) and very little time decimated to introspection and reflection. To use an analogy, it’s like having Andy Reid, head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, in the room, and suggesting that he use your ideas for his game plan. He would be justified in drawing a mustache on your with a marker.

Jesus kept things simple. We are the ones who cheapen His message with our own personal biases.

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