(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
Series: Characteristics of the Jesus Movement for Today
1. The Jesus Movement unified believers. (It was all about Jesus.)
“Jesus is just alright with me.” The Doobie Brothers (1972)
There’s a reason why it’s called the Jesus Movement. It was all about Jesus.
In 1966 a gospel group named the Art Reynold Singers recorded their song, “Jesus Is Just Alright.” In 1969, the Byrds covered it and then in 1972, the most popular version was released by the Doobie Brothers. Why did a gospel song about Jesus receive such mainstream attention? Because in 1969 and for a few years following (in fact, the Jesus Movement was pretty much flanked by the various versions of this song), Jesus was just alright with a growing number of rock and roll fans all over the world. Suddenly, almost overnight, Jesus was acceptable to people who formerly would not have anything to do with God, religion, church or Christianity. Suddenly Jesus was a different story.
In 1971 both Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell came out on Broadway. Christian music got its start during this time, but it was an afterthought, because Jesus was already showing up everywhere in pop culture. Norman Greenbaum; Creedence Clearwater Revival; Barry McGuire; James Taylor; Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary were all singing about Jesus and even the return of Christ to judge the world.
While the younger generation was seeking answers to the big questions of life and struggling with student unrest, civil rights and the war in Vietnam, Bob Dylan was telling everyone that the answer was blowin’ in the wind. And indeed it was. It was the wind of the Spirit of God blowing people to Jesus (John 3:8).
The reason why this was important to the people who were searching during the Jesus Movement as well as those searching today is because faith is personal. Becoming a Christian is not just about placing faith in an intellectual belief or a doctrine or creed; it’s a personal encounter. Jesus can be known in one’s heart through the Holy Spirit. Our spirit bears witness with His Spirit that these things are true.
Jesus was radical and rebellious. He upset the traditional thinking about God and religion. The traditional religious establishment was so against Jesus that they were ultimately responsible for His death. It’s the same today. Do you want to follow a TED talk or a person? Do you want to know a form of godliness or the power of Christ? Do you want to look like a Christian or be a Christian? The answers depend on what you do with Jesus.
God created us for Himself. He wants a relationship with us. That’s why He made us in His image so we could walk and talk together. And how better to reveal Himself to us but through a human representation of Himself? And what better expression of Himself than through His only begotten Son? Not only has Jesus accomplished what was necessary for making us acceptable to God, Jesus is God’s best idea of what a human being is.
Read the gospels. Get to know Jesus. Fall in love with Him. Watch what He does. Feel His compassion; sense His tears; imagine His anger at those who prevent the children from coming to Him; wonder about His words. Drink in His mercy and forgiveness. It all begins and ends with Jesus.
Have you seen Jesus my Lord?
He’s here in plain view.
Take a look, open your eyes,
He’ll show it to you.
from the song “Have You Seen Jesus My Lord?” by John Fischer (1970)
Walkin’ down the road of life heard about a man
Claimed be the Son of God; claimed be a man
Well He said He loved me so much, He died so I could live
And He still is lovin’ me now, and wants me to be His
Is it possibly true?
Could it be the way?
Is it what I need?
Will it give me life?
Will it set me free?
from the “The Road of Life” by John Fischer (1969)