Inoculated Against Jesus?

I am not one of those guys that passes out in the presence of needles, but I am not a but fan of shots. I guess this is my excuse for not taking the flu shot each fall. However, let’s just say, I am planning to roll up my sleeve next year and to wait with anticipate to hear those tender words, “You are going to feel a stick”–ouch!

Two long weeks of battling the flu made a believer out of me. The low point of my battle came after spending three hours hugging the “throne” to the point of dehydration. In the middle of the night I got up only to do a face plant into the wood floor in the living room. I woke up to my wife calling my name as I laid there in a little puddle of blood—let’s just say I have a hard head either way you want to look at it.

As I did a little research on the flu vaccine I discovered that the principle of the vaccine is rather simple. In simple non-scientific terms, the vaccine injects the patient will a tiny dose of the flu virus which causes the body to react by creating anti-bodies to fight off the virus. In other words, to protect you from the virus doctors give you a small dose of the virus.

Reflecting on this thought, It struck me that our America society has been “inoculated against Jesus”. When just celebrated Easter Sunday across the land—churches from north to south, east to west were filled with worshipers. Many of these believers filling the pews are active members of the CE crowd (Christmas and Easter). Jesus is part of their world view, but has limited impact on their day to day lives. Jesus may be their Savior but He still longs to their LORD.

Could it be the modern church has simply “inoculated” these followers with a tiny dose of Jesus…just enough to keep them from coming down completely with a full blown infection of His Spirit and His presence in their hearts and lives. Paul wrote to Timothy about people who “had a form of godliness but denying its power”.

I am afraid in our effort to present the gospel in a “PC” way we have robbed the good news of the Kingdom of its power and influence. We would be wise to follow Jesus’ example. Jesus cut through the fog and demanded all from His followers by saying “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me”. The cross leads to “resurrection life” and power. Don’t be afraid to lay it all on the line. Jesus deserves more than followers who are “inoculated” with a tiny stick. Jesus deserves and demands followers willing to die so He can live in them.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Inoculated Against Jesus?

  1. This year’s flu bug was a real doozy. The reason, I hear, is that we were gien the wrong bacteria for the strain of flu we actually experienced. I had the flu shot, but I also had the flu. Sometimes the innoculation doesn’t work.

  2. spiritualsamurai

    Brother I feel you pain. I am still feeling the effects of the flu four weeks after I too hugged the white throne and begged for death.

  3. Steve Dominy

    David,

    You have hit on an issue far too large for one column, and I don’t mean the flu. I think Bonhoeffer called it “cheap grace.” In short, we have confused belief with mental assent and removed the element of trust.

    Times may change, but people don’t. Our society’s desires are no different than the crowds of John 6. We want to have our cake and eat it too. We want forgiveness without repentance. Though forgiveness is freely offered and is based on God’s grace and not our repentance, it cannot be recieved without repentance. We want resurrection without death, but you can’t be raised to newness of life without dying first. Crucifixion is messy business, it hurts, but there can be no resurrection without it. There is no easy way around the cross.

    We seem to forget (maybe we don’t forget, maybe we just presume upon God’s goodness and grace) that we don’t get to set the terms and conditions of our relationship with Christ. The rich young ruler specifically comes to mind, probably a great guy, the kind most would want on their finance committee, but he could not accept Jesus’ terms. The same is true of those in Luke 9 to whom Jesus issued the call to follow. Each man came up with unfinished business to take care of first and Jesus called them to leave it behind. We don’t get to set the terms of our relationship with Christ, he does.

    Several years ago there was a great song out by Creed entitled, “Higher.” The lyrics went something like this, “Can you take me higher, to a place where blind men see? Can you take me higher, to a place with golden streets?” I am reminded of Peter’s response at the end of John 6, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Every time I hear that song I want to yell out, “YES! I know the one who makes blind men see. I know the one who paves streets with Gold. Come with me!” We have the Word and the words of life that are the answer to the song’s cry. The question is, will we offer the pearl of great price that is worth more than we could ever dream of, or will we offer a pearl of lesser value that is only taken out to be looked at on special occasions?

    I could get on my soap box and rant on this one for a long time, but since I don’t want to be a space hog or a buffoon I’ll stop now.

    Vaya con Dios

  4. Being a bit of a science guy the vaccine theory intrigues me. To build a vaccine, a “wild” strain of bacteria or virus (as in the case of a flu vaccine) is sampled and cultivated. It is then either modified, inactivated, or killed and mixed with an adjuvant (a carrier) to create the vaccine. I think the key to the analogy is that the “real deal” has been “modified, inactivated or killed” prior to injection. In the CE crowd scenario I think we are dealing with people who didn’t get the real story. Somewhere in their lifetime they were given a dose of “the church” or of Jesus that wasn’t right.

    Vaccines don’t always work. A vaccine causes the body to react to the “foreign invader” by manufacturing antibodies that fight the infection. If the body’s immune system isn’t working properly when injected with the vaccine, it fails to produce the proper antibodies. Or, if the vaccine is of an incorrect strain, the antibodies produced may be ineffectual against other strains of the virus. Once antibodies have been created to react to a specific “invader” the body retains a “memory” of how to build those antibodies and then can do so quickly if invaded again.

    Even when properly vaccinated, exposure to overwhelmingly large doses of the disease can trigger illness. One cannot become 100% immune through vaccination. Maybe you nailed the answer when you said, “Don’t be afraid to lay it all on the line.” Overwhelm them with Jesus.

  5. Ernie

    David,

    The flu virus that is injected is a dead virus. I think that is the only kind of Jesus many in our culture see. They don’t see the great living, life chnaging Jesus only the watered down weak one. The never seek the living Lord because they have seen only the dead Jesus modeled by many in our world. Your quote is right on target, We see to much “form of godliness” and not enough of the “power there of”.

    Ernie

  6. kfgray

    One step in the right direction, IMO, is to read and teach more of the actual word of God in church. in big, connected hunks and veins of truth and grace.

  7. Very similar to my own thinking. See my blog entry entitled “the Jesus Vaccine” from my August 08 blog @ http://www.harrykraus.com

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