Bringing the Text to Life

In Christ, or in a Jacuzzi Jesus? Mark 4:26-34

If there is one magic phrase in the Bible, one open sesame to transformation, it is this one: "In Christ." "In Christ" stands as one of the Bible''s simplest, yet most profound statements. Between the little preposition "in" and the name "Christ" can be found the entire meaning of the life of faith.

"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new Creation: everything old has passed away; see everything has become new." (NRSV)

To be "in Christ" means to let the Spirit of Christ so infiltrate your being that your very essence is affected. Every cell in your body becomes permeable to Christ's spirit, transforming you from the inside out. But a transformation this complete intimidates most people. They would rather join Michael Jackson in resorting to hair straightener, skin peels, and the surgeon's chisel to make their veneers palatable to the crowd. The gospel's radical re-creation requires more than cosmetic changes in lives and in lifestyles which have grown comfortable, predictable, and inconspicuous.

The last thing some people want from their religious experiences is disruption and challenge. What many really want is a "Jacuzzi Jesus - an experience that will leave them relaxed, warm, and bubbly, at the same time, feeling fit and trim when they get out - like they've gotten in...

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