Someone recently told me, “Jesus is great!”

I said, “Really? What’s so great about Him?”

This person said, “My pastor is from Scotland and he has an amazing accent, and he’s really smart! And the music at my church is so good!”

And I said, “But what about Jesus? You said that Jesus was great. What do you especially like about Jesus?”

This person said, “I just really think He’s great! And our church facilities are amazing! We meet in this great building, and I just feel like I can really worship Jesus there!”

“But is there anything specific ABOUT JESUS that you love?” I asked.

“Oh yeah! I love Jesus!” they said.

And that was the end of the conversation.

I was a bit confused by this exchange, but I decided that I had better inquire about Jesus, to see what He was really like.

So I scheduled an appointment, and was told to show up at Matthew chapter 8 on Friday morning January 5th, 2024.

And honestly, Jesus made me feel pretty uncomfortable…

The first thing that happened was, a leper came to Jesus. And we all instantly felt uneasy. Honestly, I think we assumed that Jesus would avoid this leper guy, or figure out a tactful way to dismiss him; but Jesus allowed the leper to kneel before Him, and Jesus TOUCHED the diseased man! …Ever since Covid, I think we all know that social distancing would’ve been the more considerate course of action. To say the least, Jesus made all of us feel very uncomfortable!

And then, somehow the leper was instantly cured! But Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone.” Why the secrecy? Why not tell this guy to go get some blood work done, and see if doctors can’t figure out the cause of this man’s cure, and perhaps they can come up with a vaccine? I just don’t get it! And I gotta say, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable with how all this went down.

Then a centurion came to Jesus. And, honestly, he made me feel uncomfortable. I mean, this centurion was kind of rigid; he was all about rank, and commands, and obedience. And I felt like Jesus should chastise this guy, but instead Jesus was amazed by him! This guy had a paralyzed servant and he wanted Jesus to heal him. Jesus said, “I will come to your house and heal him!” But the centurion said, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” …Like I said, this guy was so obdurate and official about strict obedience! Very uncomfortable.

But Jesus loved this guy! Jesus marveled at the centurion and said, “Truly, I haven’t found anyone in the church with faith like this! There are people who have book shelves full of bible commentaries and theological tomes, and they’ve been faithful church attenders for years, and they’ve got all the traditional hymns memorized …but they will be thrown into the outer darkness, in the place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth; but this unchurchy centurion will recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” This interaction with the centurion, and Jesus’ gratuitous commentary on churchy people made me feel very uncomfortable.

Then there was this guy who came up to Jesus and said, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to the guy, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” And I thought to myself, “That’s no way to win followers!” Honestly, I couldn’t imagine a less seeker-sensitive thing to say to someone who is clearly showing interest in being part of Team Jesus. Then another guy said to Jesus, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” This made me feel uncomfortable.

Then we got into a boat, and there arose a great storm, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves! And Jesus didn’t seem to care at all! He was asleep! So we woke Him up and we said, “We are perishing!” And He said to us, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” To be honest, this made me feel uncomfortable.

Then Jesus rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and all-of-a-sudden there was a great calm. And that kind of freaked us out! We weren’t sure we could really relax and get comfortable around a guy like Jesus.

Then two demon-possessed men came running at Jesus from a nearby cemetery. These guys were deranged and berserk! And they were screaming, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” And Jesus acted like all of this was normal. He never said anything like, “Hold on boys! You got Me all wrong! I ain’t no tormentor!” Jesus just let their shrieking accusations of harassment hang in the air unchallenged.

And then the evil spirits inhabiting these guys begged Jesus, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And Jesus accommodated their request! …So they came out of the men, and went into the pigs, and he whole herd of pigs rushed down a steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. Well, as you might expect, this caused quite a disturbance, and the pig herdsmen ran off and told everyone in town what had happened. And then all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region. Jesus was making everyone feel uncomfortable!