A generation ago, only a very few people might have suggested that there might be a difference between being a follower of the Christian religion and being a follower of Jesus himself. But today, it’s one of the central questions of our faith, and perhaps one of the most divisive.
It’s been two years since spoken word artist Jefferson Benthke uploaded his “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” video to YouTube. Since then it’s been viewed over 28 million times. Clearly, it struck a nerve.
Predictably, Bethke’s video met with both praise and protest. Understandably, there were those who viewed their religious traditions as deeply meaningful and took issue with Bethke’s premise as being “soft on sin.” On the other hand, many found the video prophetic in its appraisal of a religious establishment that seems to have drifted far from the original Jesus event.
So what does Jesus himself have to say? As a devout practicing Jew, religion seems to be very important. And yet Jesus’ critique of the religious leaders of his time is sharp and direct. One of his most pointed exchanges with those leaders occurs in Matthew 21, where they directly confront his authority.
Jesus’ response not only enrages his critics, but–if we will allow it–deeply informs our own response today.
Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm
Conversation Begins: 7:00pm