Jesus may have been one of the most scandalous people to have ever lived. At times his methods were confusing and questionable, the people he hung around with were speculative, his friends could be abrasive and they were constantly doubting him, his murder reads like a mystery novel full of betrayal and hate, and his resurrection was covered up. He fought with the religious leaders of the day, yet he was friends with people who were drenched in sin. He was the self-proclaimed Son of God. People before him were human and claimed to god, yet he was God and came to be like one of us. Jesus was scandalous!
Jesus was a Jewish rabbi yet he hated the religion of the Pharisees. The religion of the Pharisees was one of legalism bathed in inferiority and guilt. It was a religion that centered around “self.” The Pharisees had lost sight of God within all of the laws they had created for themselves. They cared about their traditions more than they cared loving people or caring for those in need. Jesus told the Pharisees “you have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human tradition. You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” They had become so blinded by their own religion that they could no longer see that they too were sinners in need of God’s grace.
Here is an example of what I am talking about. The Sabbath is a holy day, a day set apart for rest. The Pharisees were angry with Jesus one day because he had healed a man on the Sabbath. Observing the Sabbath was a command of God, but the Pharisees took God’s command and added Sabbath laws defining how you could not do any work on that day. Jesus was healing people on the Sabbath therefore he was breaking God’s law. You see the religious people cared about their traditions and doing things as they have always been done, whereas God cares more about the person and their heart. What Jesus wanted the Pharisees to understand was that God cared more about loving His creation and having a relationship with people then He cares about laws or traditions. Laws, traditions, and sacrifices mean nothing if their purpose and function is not to glorify and honor God. There is a big difference between being religious and being a follower of Jesus Christ and having a relationship with God.
Jesus did not come to start the religion we know today is Christianity he came to establish the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus did not come to establish a new religion he came to transform lives through his grace, which is freely extended to each and every person through HIS life, death, and resurrection. The question becomes are you religious or do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ?