Getting Real About Jesus

Posted on August 10, 2018

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By David Ettinger

The Whole Picture
One of the great sayings of Jesus is found in Matthew 11:28-30:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

handsThis was true 2,000 years ago; it is true today; and it will be true until the day He returns. Indeed, we need a Savior who is gentle, humble, and capable of giving us peace. This is the Jesus believers have given their lives to, and the Jesus believers love, worship, and adore.

However, it is not the whole picture of who Jesus is. For instance, there is also the part of Jesus who is warrior and conqueror. Revelation 19:11-21 shows us a vision of Jesus far different than that presented in Matthew 11:28-30.

Sadly, many believers don’t like this. This vision of Jesus doesn’t fit their image of “Sweet Jesus, Meek and Mild.” They love Jesus, but just not “all” of Jesus. In truth, they don’t want to get real about Jesus.

“Editing” the Bible
The reality is that Jesus – God the Son – has many facets, just as does God the Father. So, while Jesus is a God of love, He is also a God of wrath. While Jesus is a God of mercy, He is also a God of punishment. While Jesus is a God of forgiveness, He is also a God of vengeance.

jefferson bibleWhat do people who love Jesus but dislike this aspect of His nature do when they come to certain difficult passages? Thomas Jefferson, a Deist, crossed out every miracle attributed to Jesus in the Bible, believing that Jesus did not perform any.

In the same way, there are many Christians who would love to do the same with passages in which either Jesus Himself speaks of eternal judgment (see the “Sheep and Goat” judgment in Matthew 25), or where others speak of Him doing the same (the Revelation excerpt above).

These “harsher” verses don’t fit their idealized picture of Jesus, and hence, if they had their druthers, they would edit those portions right out of the inspired Word of God.

Jury, Judge, and Avenger
One passage in this vein is 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10. Here, the apostle Paul is telling the harassed church in Thessalonica that those who are abusing them will be dealt with by the Lord Jesus Himself. Paul then makes the jump from the current situation to the end times:

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people …

get realThis is very heavy stuff. We see Jesus as one who pays back (takes vengeance). We see Jesus as one who “will punish,” specifically, non-believers. We see eternal damnation clearly taught in the phrase “everlasting destruction.” This truth is further bolstered by the phrase “shut out from the presence of the Lord.” In other words, eternal damnation is carried out in a place of torment (the Lake of Fire, Revelation 20:14-15), far removed from God’s abode.

This passage also clearly pictures Jesus as Jury, Judge, and Avenger of the human race, as He pronounces sentence on unbelievers, determines punishment upon them, and carries it out.

Getting Real
This is not pleasant; I don’t say it is. It is sobering, tragic, and heartbreaking. But it is real. This is the real Jesus, and believers must accept it and, if the need arises, be willing to talk about.

There are those we have shared the Gospel with for years whose hearts are sealed shut against God. They must know that if they die in this state, “everlasting destruction” awaits them, just as Jesus declares.

This truth grieves me, but it is real. It is right there in black and white. Jesus indeed is love and mercy, but He is also Jesus the Jury, Judge, and Avenger. Like it or not, the entirety of these things is indeed the real Jesus. You either accept it or not, but the reality remains.

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