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A Dangerous Jesus

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm 31:9-16

Philippians 2:5-11

Matthew 26:14—27:66

Palm Sunday

April 2, 2023

Dangerous Jesus

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Most of our churches in today’s age like to preach a tame, cute version of Jesus. We make Jesus into this self-help coach who can motivate us to greatness if we just do his 10 easy steps. We make Jesus into this great performer who could do some neat parlor tricks and had some really great tweets to share. Most churches today do not preach the Dangerous version of Jesus.

  • I'm talking about that dangerous side of Jesus that got him killed.

  • The side of Jesus that would get most preachers stoned to death for saying and doing the same thing.

  • The version of Jesus that if we allowed him to grace our pulpits and altars, many of us would never invite him back.

  • The side of Jesus who went to the temple and flipped over the tables of the money changers and vendors because they turned God's dwelling place into a business and not into a shrine for God's presence here on earth.

  • The dangerous side of Jesus that contradicts the church's branding that focuses on entertaining, rather than on challenging us in our work of creating disciples to be different and more Christ-like.

  • The side of Jesus who would flip over these pastors and congregations who focus more on being celebrities instead of pastors and disciples of our Lord.

  • The dangerous side of Jesus who is more concerned with making disciples than about having followers on facebook, twitter, instragram, or tiktok.

  • That dangerous side of Jesus who is more concerned about the church’s health rather than on church growth.

  • That dangerous side of Jesus that frustrates those who stand on the side of injustice.

  • The dangerous side of Jesus that his mother long foretold he would do—casting down the tyrants from their thrones and lifting up the lonely instead.

We like to forget this dangerous side of Jesus because it is the side of Jesus that got him killed. The crowd went from shouting "Hosanna" to "crucify him" in just a few short days. The world saw the dangerous side of Jesus and the world turned on him. They rather have a convicted criminal who lead an insurrection be released from jailed than Emmanuel—God with us. We can put on our blinders today and go into next Sunday and act like this side of Jesus never happened. We can be like most in the world today and only focus on the cute side of Jesus. There are a lot of churches today who do not read the passion narrative. Who only focus on the triumphant entry. "Today is Palm Sunday...come later this week if you want to hear the passion." But truth be told, most won't come back. We only want focus on the fun—on the palm branches waving in the air because focusing on the cross and bloodied corpse of our Lord is just not all the appealing for any of us. Truth be told, American Lutherans don’t like seeing a seeing crucifix even though it is on that crucifix that we see our salvation. Truth be told, none of us want to hear this news today because it makes Jesus sound like a failure. Its dangerous to hear that our savior couldn't even save himself. In a world that only allows the strongest to survive, Jesus doesn't look all that strong lying on that cross. The dangerous side of Jesus got him killed but saved a wrench like me.

This week, today, begins our journey into that the dangerous side of Jesus. Today begins our journey as the church where we will learn in its most purist form, what it means to be Christ-like. Where we not only see it played out in front of us but actively live on the dangerous side with Jesus. This week, begins our journey to the upper room, the garden, the judgement hall, the skull, the tomb and by the end of the week, we'll see why we the cute, tame side of Jesus really has nothing on the dangerous side of Jesus.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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