Tag Archives: The real Jesus

Do You Believe in a Pharisee Jesus?

If you close your eyes and picture Jesus looking at you, what kind of look does he have on his face? I don’t know where I first heard someone ask that question, but I think answering it can be very helpful in revealing what we believe—on a day-to-day, real life basis—about who Jesus is and how he relates to us.

For example, do you see a Jesus who is constantly tallying up your sins and failings? Do you see a displeased Jesus, one who condemns you for a failure? Or maybe you see a Jesus that has little empathy for your problems and sufferings, one who either doesn’t care or is content for you to “get what you deserve.”

I’m convinced that a lot of Christians tend to see Jesus (and God the Father) in this light. Even so, this picture has more in common with the Pharisees that he repeatedly clashed with than in does with the real Jesus, the one we find in the pages of the Bible. So if you’re someone who is prone to think this way, consider the following truths about Jesus:

Is Your Jesus the Real Jesus?

In one exchange recorded in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus asks his disciples who people think he is. They reply with what they’ve heard: “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (see Mat. 16:13-20). One of the interesting things about the possible answers they report is that each is somewhat understandable given first century Jewish culture. Another notable thing is that every one of them is wrong.

Jesus’ next question for his disciples is one we’d do well to ask ourselves today: “But who do you say that I am?”

Whether you’re new to Christianity or been around it all your life, you might be surprised at how much your understanding of Jesus comes from the people and culture around you.