In 2 John 1:7-13, John warns believers to watch out for “deceivers,” who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. To our ears that sounds a bit random. For us, Jesus Christ showing up as a real person is not really a controversy. So, what’s going here?

As early as the second generation of Jesus-followers, various “Christian” teachers were trying to remake Jesus in their image. Most likely the “deceivers” John was writing about claimed that Jesus came only as a spirit and not as a physical human being. For them, the idea that an infinite God would somehow become a finite human was impossible nonsense. It didn’t fit their philosophical boxes.

Apparently nothing’s changed since then. People still try to fit Jesus into their religious, political, or philosophical boxes. Some try to make him out to be a revolutionary activist. Others claim Jesus was primarily a religious reformer. And still others maintain the whole point of his ministry was to give us the way to a nice afterlife. More recently, political and religious leaders, both left and right, have claimed that Jesus’ life and teaching somehow support “their” agenda; that anyone who opposes them opposes Jesus.

But the Jesus of the Bible is way beyond anyone’s boxes. Jesus is God—whose throne turns out to be a cross! Who conquers his enemies by giving his life for them. Who exercises divine authority by washing feet—your feet! Jesus is life, love, forgiveness, and wholeness. And that is what he is offering to you, right now!

Questions for reflection:

  1. Take some time to ponder what it means that the King of king’s throne is the place of his execution? How does that impact your image of God? How does it impact how you relate to him?
  2. What does it mean to you that Jesus exercises his divine authority by serving others? What does that mean for you who are created in his image?