I’m not sure that if Jesus had started his ministry today I would have followed… and it worries me. I would like to think I would, but I am just not sure… in fact I am a little worried I would have been just another Pharisee blinded by religion… Don’t get me wrong I haven’t changed my beliefs at all, I am still a Christian and that hasn’t changed, but a few weeks ago, when Dave and I saw Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar I was really challenged about how Jesus would appear, behave and move people if he had come now, rather than 2000 years ago and I actually found it really scary.
This particular version was a re-imagined or updated version of the musical, set now, and it was confronting. The 12 disciples and Jesus were portrayed as working class revolutionaries… their slogan was ‘Follow the 12’ and the they looked almost like the ‘occupy movements’, they were different, radical and in some ways extreme. The thing is I am a rule follower, a go with the flow kind of person, someone who does the right thing because that’s what you are supposed to do… even when breaking the rule won’t hurt anyone… it’s just the way I am wired. I figure that rules are there for a reason, so I follow them, some people think that’s a bit boring and it probably is, but that’s ok… I like the order and clear boundaries it gives me.
Often when I watch the news, from my relatively comfortable position in life, I see things like the occupy protestors and understand their motives, but wonder if creating a tent city and fighting people is the best way to go… I often dismiss passionate protestors as crazy and go about my business with out much thought. Now I don’t think Jesus would have been a law breaker… or fighter… most of the time, his teachings are about love for God and love for each other… but I can see why Llyod Webber has made this link… they are counter cultural, not letting the powers of the world dictate the way of the world. Now in the musical, Jesus didn’t damage property or people, he was the same as I imagine in bible times, doing his father’s work where ever he went, changing lives, and healing the hurting, but he was peaceful. But when I think about social movements of today, even great social movements like fair trade and anti-traffiking my response is at best underwhelming. I am happy for these things to change, but I am not passionately seeking out ways to make it happen… just passively waiting for it to happen without me… and it makes me wonder if it were Jesus, would I just ride him off as a loony? Wait passively for the him to change the world around me? Or be annoyed because he was rocking the boat I was quite happy traveling in.
To be honest I am actually glad that I was born now rather than back when Jesus was around… and that even though I know Jesus is coming back, I already know and believe in him… and I would like to think that by his grace I would recognise him when he comes… I don’t have to um and ahh about whether or not he is the real deal because I already know that to be true… but it also challenges me to think about how Christlike my life actually is? Am I still more of a Pharisee with my rules and regulations, or am I open to change when it is in love and equality… I don’t know… but it’s got me thinking.