Jesus was known for His unconventional methods
Published 9:25 am Thursday, April 20, 2023
The word unconventional is an adjective that means not conforming to what is generally done or believed. Recently, our church Wednesday night Bible study teacher taught a lesson on being unconventional. When you study the scriptures, you will quickly realize everything Jesus did was unconventional. He realized the conventional religious methods of His day failed to accomplish God’s purposes. The Pharisees’ values were rooted in their traditions, laws, and culture. It was clear that Jesus despised the hypocrisy of these religious leaders. Jesus’s values were rooted in doing the will of His heavenly Father.
When Jesus decided to go through Samaria to speak with a woman that was a harlot, he was unconventional. In fact, when he decided to eat with sinners and befriend them, he was unconventional. Real sacrificial love is unconventional and rare. When Jesus cried out on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” he was using an unconventional method. They were much more aware and familiar with vengeance than forgiveness. Jesus states in Matthew Chapter 5:38-44, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Every word Jesus spoke was unconventional. It is not the norm to love our enemies and to turn the other cheek. When we choose to live like Jesus, we are different from the world.
In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter proclaims, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” The word peculiar means strange, odd, and unusual. True believers must be odd and unusual when compared to those living like the world. We should stand out in a crowd like a sore thumb. Jesus was recognizable by the words He taught and the life he lived. He was so contrary to everything they believed to be true. There is nothing ordinary about Jesus. He is extraordinary! He challenges the status quo.
I want to share in closing a story from David Krueger (2019) about the great Dwight L. Moody. “He was anything but conventional. To attract poor, urban children to his Sunday school, he bought a pony and offered rides. To preach the gospel to people who resisted attending church, he held meetings in theaters, auditoriums, and sprawling circus tents. When managers of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago decided to keep the Fair open on Sunday, many Christian leaders called for a boycott. Not Moody. He said, “Let us open so many preaching places and present the gospel so attractively that people will want to come and hear it.” D.L. Moody earned his famous nickname “Crazy Moody.” But in his delightfully unconventional way, he reached 100,000,000 people with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Let’s be unconventional and choose to love in the face of hatred. Let’s forgive those who have wronged us. Let’s reach out to those in need and sacrifice our own wants and desires for those of others. Let’s be like Jesus! His name alone is a synonym for unconventional.
(Brandon Young is pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church in Hampton)