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Dangerous Jesus

In the Middle East these days, we’re appalled by the violence. The beheading of an innocent journalist leaves us shocked – we recoil. We feel threatened. The world feels dangerous.But in a very different way, those of us who seek to follow Jesus are perceived as dangerous. The gospel of gra…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

In the Middle East these days, we’re appalled by the violence. The beheading of an innocent journalist leaves us shocked – we recoil. We feel threatened. The world feels dangerous.

But in a very different way, those of us who seek to follow Jesus are perceived as dangerous. The gospel of grace Jesus espoused is a threat to those who see jihad as desirable.

Jesus was dangerous in his day and so, he asks us to be in this modern day. We who say we’re followers of Jesus need to understand how dangerous he really was.

From the get-go, he was a threat to everyone who felt safe. He was passionate about setting captives free.  He was unequivocal about the cost of commitment. Early on, he launched his disciples out to do the same thing he did (Luke 9), and he’s asked his followers to launch out in the same way ever since.

Some of us have never taken the time to really study Jesus and see how he walked and wrestle with what that means for us as his followers. We study other things first. We study the Old Testament. We study Paul’s letters. But here’s a thought – as followers of Jesus, shouldn’t we take a closer look at his life?

You’ve probably met him, though it’s likely he didn’t look anything like himself. Here in America, we introduce him as meek and mild. But he was a dangerous man. When he crashed and thundered across the Palestinian landscape, he was nothing if not a threat to the status quo.

People didn’t know what to make of him. Some exclaimed over his authority, others were threatened by it and called it into question.

After being baptized and launching his ministry, he immediately took on the local authorities. In their first meeting, they perceived he was dangerous and tried to kill him (Luke 4). Maybe one reason he went from village to village was that he was not only not welcome in his own village, but many of the others that he visited as well.

So perhaps we should consider the possibility that the hand-me-down religion that many of us were taught in Sunday School looks very little like what he taught his disciples.

Jesus was dangerous, and we are safe. At my local church on Sunday you’ll find four policemen wandering the campus during morning service. They are there just to keep people inside safe.

But are we really safe? As long as we have not met this dangerous Jesus, we can’t be safe. As he spoke to his disciples, he made it clear to them that in this world they would know hardship. In their efforts to love, they would upset apple carts and make enemies.

There are those who have a vested interest in keeping people trapped by their circumstances. And when this dangerous Lord we serve tells us to follow him and set the captives free, we are going to make enemies too.

He described the road his disciples walk as being narrow. He said that not many would follow it. There is a reason for that. We like the safety and comfort that we feel now. We don’t want to put it at risk.

Jesus said that we should be willing to suffer and even to die (Matt. 10). Those are dangerous words. If we say we follow him, then we must be prepared to walk with him into those dangerous places where he promises to give us victory.

We don’t become as dangerous as he is overnight. Jesus took three years with his followers. If it feels hard, it is! Knowing that in advance, we can cut ourselves some slack as we muster up the will and then struggle to stumble along after him.

For most of my Christian life I’ve been trying to understand how he wants us to walk out his dangerous brand of faith in this complicated world. And he constantly challenges me.

As I’ve sensed him challenging me to introduce him to others, I’ve felt uncomfortable – if I’m honest, I’d say something to them like, “Hey, I’d like to introduce you to this guy who wants to turn your world upside down and wreck your life. Interested?”

Of course he does that because he sees the trouble in my heart and wants to bring me peace. But, yeah, it’s gonna hurt a bit.

Have you met this dangerous Jesus? Has he messed with your comfortable world? The price of freedom is to dare to become dangerous as well. To all who would venture to go that way, he promises an abundant life. It seems risky, but it’s the deal he’s put on the table. Why not go for it?

If you’re interested in a study I just wrote of 26 ways that Jesus wants to make us dangerous (called Dangerous Jesus), post a comment or email me. I’ll send the first 50 people who contact me a free copy.

Comments (43)

  • Thanks Seth! Once again you lead us to challanges our concept of a life truly set free with Jesus! I’d love to read more about our dangerous Jesus.

  • The world is changing. God’s kingdom is moving. Excited and challenged to live in this time. Love your writing and I would love to read “dangerous Jesus”. Thank you Seth!

  • With my daughter on the race right now, I am learning so much more about how dangerous Jesus was & am feeling the call myself. It’s pretty terrifying. I’d love to check out your devotional, Seth.

  • Ah…Dangerous Jesus. You know I am ‘in’ for reading that so I can be a more dangerous disciple. Thanks for writing it and offering it! Heading back to Moz next month…just in time for the presidential elections the following month- a definite wild card in that part of the world- so these readings might get some quick application.

  • Hey Seth,
    I know it has been awhilepassionate about being dangerous, and it has landed me in some difficult places (yes, some suffering) on another note, my daughter (15) and I want to go serve in an orphanage (her request) for about three weeks next June. Let’s pray and then connect on possible opportunities anywhere in the world

  • Thank you for this! Please send me a copy of the 26 ways!! I’d love to share this on fb but thy share link doesn’t work

  • This dangerous life scares me. All my life I’ve sought stability and security. I feel Jesus pushing me out into what feels like empty space. Thank goodness that James says that we can consider trials of all kinds pure joy because they develop faith and endurance, which lead to character and fullness in Christ. I need to learn to live dangerously in Christ, knowing (though not without a good amount of fear) that this dangerous life is really the most secure for eternity. Narrow indeed.

  • I would take a copy as well! ( I’m
    Feeling restless in my middle aged life! Wondering what my Kingdom Journey will look like!
    And say hi to U squad at PSL!!

  • I am feeling restless too in my middle aged single life. Thinking there has to be more but settling.

    I lead a group of singles – mostly divorced – every Wednesday night and we have seen some breakthrough. Several say they don’t know where they would be if I wouldn’t have been obedient and opened my home to others adrfit as I reached out in my pain.

    But I desire more for us. I would love to see my life and their lives wrecked by Christ but oftern that desire gets choked out. Not sure if it is fear, apathy, doubt or maybe a mixture of all 3 that holds me. I know we are settling for just scratching the surface of what God would like to do in us and through us. So, yeah I need some disturbing. Not just for me but for my fellow single adults.

  • And I love this blog. It stirs something in me but I think I need a shaking. Eyes opened, heart burning again.

  • Yeah it is funny how something that shouldn’t have happened has birthed a ministry that I love. Painful childbirth – ha ha!

  • Seth thank you. The dangerous journey of faith is often filled with the compelling need to “shed the lizard skin” of relationships taking us in the wrong direction. I am thankful to have you and Karen as almost thirty year friends and value your heart and words. We were and are on a “world race” before there was one. Salaam…Shalom…Namaste…

  • I’m at crossroads. I’m trying to learn what following Jesus means and on the other hand, there is safety. The safety of going to University and putting the pursuit of Jesus on hold. I’ll need a copy to help me walk this akward stage of my life. Thank you for your post Seth.

  • Thanks Seth for the great insight! Please sent me more of this Dangerous Jesus and His 26 ways so we might be more like Him. Thank you for your blogs Seth, they always bless me !

  • Amen Brother Seth! Just returned from a mission trip to Ethiopia and never has this call been more needed.

  • Just this morning feeling a bit overwhelmed by the hard things many in my circle are going through, not to mention the very hard things Iraqi believers are facing.

    Feeling helpless and a bit put upon, Jesus words from John 16:33 gave me the big picture perspective I was lacking. “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. But take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.”

    I wasn’t saved to have an easy life. I was saved to be light in dark places. To be salt in dead and decaying places. To be hope in hopeless places.

    All of this is hard and scary b/c I don’t have it in me unless the Spirit is filling me, enabling me.

    keep up the good work


  • I love reading your articles and would love a copy of Dangerous Jesus. Hope I am in the 50!!!! Thanks also for all you do. God has done mighty things in my son’s life through the World Race and I is so excited about his new adventure with AIM.

  • What great thoughts. How challenging it is to think that we’ve fallen into a comfortable Christianity, or at least I know I have at times. This was a great reminder to seek out Jesus, and follow Him out of that comfort zone and into the world.

  • This ‘study’ NEEDS to be made known to every church that can be reached!! In my ten years of doing many studies I have never had my hands on anything like it. Study isn’t the right classification for this. Dangerous Jesus is a class on its own. This writing came straight from the Father to my husband and I in perfect timing. We have surrendered our lives, walk in His authority, been following Him daily and yet still feel there was the question, “Lord, do we REALLY Know You in the way you want to be known?” Well the next morning there it is in my email, an update to Seth Barnes, so i read it, then feel pressed to ask for the full ‘study’. Once I began reading my Spirit was quickened and i am now on the journey to knowing surely that when I stand in front of the Father He will not say “Depart from me, I have never known you, you workers of lawlessness.” Matthew 7
    Thank you dearly,
    Crystal Ryan

  • Yes I would like to know more about Dangerous Jesus!!As a Christian I am guilty of hiding in my comfort zone I want to challenge myself and be more than just a Sunday morning christian.

  • Thanks for this. I would appreciate your generous offer of the free resource. Your ministry has helped me in so many ways. Thank you for your faithfulness.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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