Leonard Sweet is a prolific writer, not one that I always agree with, but he always makes me think. Having said that, in his new book The Bad Habits of Jesus: Showing Us the Way to Live Right in a World gone Wrong (Tyndale, 2016) I find very little to disagree with. And much to think about.
Jesus and 'bad' are not words that generally go together in a Christian conversation. From a 21st century Christian perspective, Jesus is good. One hundred percent good, until we look at the pre-resurrection Jesus in the context of the society in which He lived. Then we notice a disconnect.
And it's a good thing that as Christ followers we notice that disconnect. Jesus did not come to maintain the status quo. He came to turn the world upside down. He is the Messiah that came to judge, and to lift people out of oppression, and as he broke many of the cultural and societal rules of His day, we see that he was pointing to the time when the Kingdom of God would truly be established, and the perfection of creation would be restored.
The 15 chapters of this easy to read book are stand alone, but also part of a cohesive whole. Each chapter recounts some of the events found in scripture, and the rule that Jesus broke in that case. BUT it goes beyond breaking rules. Each rule that Jesus broke was a rule made by man, that kept people from their intended life as a child of God. As Jesus broke the rules, he showed his followers how to live in such a way that their actions would be God-honoring, instead of self-serving.
All of us probably need to look at some of the rules that we're following, and try to understand how by breaking them we could help make the world a better place. More like God intended it to be.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for posting a review.