So, apparently Jesus has arrived in London. Ok, to be fair, it’s a guy who looks a bit like Jesus. He’s well known in LA, has his own TV show, rides public transport, turns up to bars and gigs and gets selfies with celebrities. There’s a tumblr about him and Californians of all religions and none, queue up to snap (and tweet) a picture.
Although it’s probably a PR stunt for a TV show, ‘Jesus’ (also known as Kevin Lee Light) has never really said what his mission is; he doesn’t preach, he just seems to turn up in music videos and at press launches, making peace signs and saying nice, thoughtful things.
To be fair, he seems harmless enough. He’s not claiming to be the Messiah, or to have any divine power, he’s just a ‘guy on a journey’, hoping to share a bit of peace and love.
I read about his arrival in London this morning and had to smile. I love that people are suddenly starting to think of Jesus as ‘cool’, but at the same time, Kevin Lee Light (and the PR people behind him) is telling a story about a Jesus who never actually existed. Kevin’s ‘Jesus’ is a quiet, emotional mystery, who, when he does speak, says rather inoffensive things. His crinkly-eyed smile and benevolent, kindly manner is everything that we want Jesus to be – but the reality is, the real Jesus was (and is), a very different character.
The real Jesus didn’t come to promote peace – He actually came to stir things up and challenge the status quo. He said things which were incredibly offensive to religious people, He taught the difference between right and wrong, said that sin was real, ransacked a temple, broke cultural and religious laws and possibly most controversially of all, said that He was the only way to God. It wasn’t a case of ‘choose your path and hope for the best’, it was a case of ‘Follow me, give everything up and in doing so, I’ll show you a way of life that’s way, way better than anything you could have ever imagined’.
The truth is, if Kevin Lee Light’s ‘Jesus’, had said any of these things, he’d be harangued and vilified and maybe even beaten up. There’d be no TV show, no Twitter, tumblr, invites to press launches or celebrity selfies. The inoffensive Jesus being offered on the streets of Hollywood (and now London too) is the construct of a clever PR mind.
He’s all the comfortable things we wish Jesus represented, but he’s got nothing to do with the Jesus of the Bible. If the Hollywood Jesus said any of the things that the real Jesus had said, they’d probably have killed him by now.