Bishop T.D. Jakes Speaks of a Radical Jesus
By Brett Wilson | September 18, 2013
Bishop T.D. Jakes
Photo by Alex Perry
"Radical times require a radical Jesus," said Bishop T.D. Jakes as he addressed Regent University students, faculty and staff at the weekly chapel service on Wednesday, September 18. And according to Jakes, believers of the Christian faith are in the midst of a challenging time.
"The good news is we have more technology to work with than any other generation," said Jakes, as he explained how ubiquitous social media communication has increased Christ-followers' abilities to share the Gospel. "But the bad news is that we have less and less people interested in it."
As the founder and senior pastor of The Potter's House, a mega-church in Dallas, with more than 30,000 congregants, Jakes has noticed a decline of believers longing to know a powerful Christ. Jakes explained that statistically, the generation being raised today is not responding to the work of the Church. He accredits the cause of this problem to the widely accepted and broadcasted version of a mere "religious" and "rhetoric" Christ. A version of Christ, Jakes explained, that does not exist.
"We have lifted up a Jesus to the world that the Bible doesn't even recognize," said Jakes.
Jakes challenged his listeners to get to know the "radical Jesus"—the one that will make those who are merely "religious" to be uncomfortable. The Christ who did not conform to structured orthodoxy or acquiesce to messages that would make him well-liked is not reflected by many of the congregants filling up the pews in church today, according to Jakes. He explained that a generation of believers has been raised to merely follow blindly in the lines of tradition—a place void of heart or spirit, a place of stagnant faith.
But to Jakes, that isn't what following Christ really looks like. And these sorts of messages are not what is motivating others to drive to churches each Sunday.
"We're so scared to death of being different—but how can we lead the world if we're not challenged to change?" asked Jakes. "I don't need a faith that doesn't change my circumstances."
Jakes explained that the true version of Christ, the one who breaks boundaries, walks on water and heals those who are hurting is the version that will get others excited to learn about Him.
He referenced the New Testament story in the Gospel of John of the lame man sitting on his mat by Bethesda's healing pool for 38 years. The lame man was, according to Jakes, "stuck in the traditional, religious framework where every now and again something happens," as so many believers in today's day and age do.
Christ, in this story, did not ask for excuses, or about the man's physical condition, or even obey the law that forbid from laboring on the Sabbath day. He simply asked if the man was willing to "be made whole" and then commanded him to pick up his mat and walk. His healing, like so much of the healing that needs to take place in the world today, was a simple matter of the heart. This is the version of Christ that Jakes encouraged today's believers to accept, acknowledge and proclaim to the rest of the world.
"Give me a Jesus that steps into challenging situations, that will shake things up and tells us to do things that we couldn't do on our own," said Jakes. "Let's have an encounter with a radical, rule-breaking Jesus."
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