Growing up, Regent University’s Director of Campus Ministries Jason Peaks thought he was doing “pretty well” when it came to being a Christian. He played with the Biblical felt board characters. He saw the Jesus Film. He even memorized a few Bible verses.
However, at University Chapel on Wednesday, Jan. 21, Peaks shared a moment of his life when a trusted professor challenged the way he thought about Christ. Because even in checking off all of the traditional “Christian boxes,” one thing was apparent:
“I didn’t know Jesus the way he was described,” said Peaks.
According to Peaks, the surrounding culture of Christianity has painted several pictures of Jesus throughout the centuries has given his followers a watered-down version of Christ: a “Hometown Jesus.”
But, to fully emulate Christ as his followers are frequently called to do, the knowledge of his teachings, his words and his habits portrayed in scripture must be anything but watered down.
And though these particular qualities may be “disruptive” to the follower who has grown comfortable in their walk of faith, studying his life is the only way to know him better.
Peaks took his listeners through Luke 4:16-30, and unearthed three qualities of Christ.
Christ was a religious man.
“I know many of you will say ‘it’s not about religion, it’s about relationship.’ But Christ did things out of custom,” said Peaks. “That’s disruptive because we don’t like to commit to things—Christ follows the patterns that have been given to him for a purpose.”
Peaks explained that throughout Christ’s ministry, he had many portions of scripture memorized, even in spite of not having the tools, like the organization of chapters and verses, readers have today.
“That’s something most of us couldn’t do with our Bibles,” said Peaks.
Christ was a teacher.
“You may be thinking that you’re not a teacher, but everyone can teach someone how to do something,” said Peaks.
And when Christ preached, he spoke with authority.
“You don’t preach something you don’t have authority over,” said Peaks. “It’s the preacher’s job to make the Scripture come alive.”
Peaks encouraged his listeners to go through scripture on their own and to write down adjectives of Christ—and to continue to “know more about him today than they knew yesterday.” Regardless of whether or not his followers decide to learn more about him, he’s on the move.
“When you miss out on him, you miss out on good news,” said Peaks. “Do you know him? Will you let him pass through in your life? Or will you let him continue to be just a ‘Hometown Jesus?'”