“You look like the girl on that TV show — what’s it called again?”
I am downtown, buying a P.E. uniform for my daughter. The lady at the counter is studying my face. I am nodding my head before she even finishes her thought.
“Sabrina the Teenage Witch! That’s it. Has anyone ever told you that you look like her?”
Why yes. Yes, they have. For the last two decades.
Apparently I share a lot of genetic traits with Melissa Joan Hart, who played Sabrina on the 90’s sitcom. People have been saying so since high school.
I admit that I can see the similarity. I’m pretty sure that with access to a personal trainer and a Hollywood makeup team, I could be a decent Melissa Joan Hart impersonator, should the world ever need one. And we apparently still need Elvis impersonators, so why not?
I can picture it now — I’ve spent a year getting back into shape, maybe with Biggest Loser Bob, ’cause I like him better than Jillian. A team of talented stylists goes to work on my hair and makeup and voila! I am Melissa’s personal body double. I can go speak and raise money for her favorite charities, guest star on whatever reality show invites her to star for a little extra cash. I can BE her, at least in the eyes of the unsuspecting public. Because, the public doesn’t really care about real people. They just like celebrities. They are easily deceived.
Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a huge demand for my services.
But there’s a growing demand for other impersonators. I’ve been watching, and you should, too. There are several new Jesus figures out there that look a whole lot like the real thing at first glance. A few are the “hellfire and brimstone” types, but most of them these days sound smooth, look good, and talk a lot about love.
Jesus said Himself that many would come in His name, claiming to be the Messiah, and that many would be deceived. (Matt. 24:5) I used to believe that individual men would claim to be Jesus in the flesh. And of course, there are a few who try this, but they aren’t usually the problem — at least not for the masses.
No, more dangerous is the fresh new Jesus in our churches, a “body double” carefully sculpted to look like an airbrushed version of Himself. This Jesus is nice. He doesn’t say anything offensive. He talks vaguely about love, but says very little about sin or our need to repent from it (unless it’s the sin of judging others, which is legitimate, but is evidently the only one anyone is concerned about.) He also doesn’t seem to believe his own words when it’s not convenient. Above all, he sounds so comfortingly real and human.
In real life, though, Jesus says things that aren’t comfortable or politically correct. He’s all about love, yes. But he’s also about repentance. He’s about telling the truth when it isn’t the culturally right thing to say. He’s not manipulated by anyone’s agenda. And interestingly, He’s able to say these hard things AND love people — at the same time.
Nobody needs a Sabrina double, but there are a lot of people interested in Jesus impersonators. Question is — how can you tell which one is the real deal? Even the Bible says that in the end the deception will be so strong that believers themselves would be sucked in without God’s intervention. But it’s our responsibility to listen to the Lord and know His Word and His character so that we can tell what’s right and what’s wrong.
Get to know the real Jesus, not the one presented to you by someone else. It’s more important than ever.